Pinchos Workshop at Iberica Leeds
Ibérica Leeds, 17A E Parade, Leeds LS1 2BH
The evening started with one of Iberica’s signature gin mare & tonics – and it was most definitely a large one as it took me an hour to drink! Filled with all the botanicals and spices, it was delicious.
We’d sat at the bar once we’d arrived and were instantly greeted by the very charming barman and General Manger. After a short while we were then escorted upstairs to their characterful private dining area. This room is actually great for any type of event. I’d recently attended a friend’s birthday up there during which we’d ordered their set menu and tons of wine. There were no time restrictions either which makes it more relaxing. We sat at the giant table which was beautifully laid and without delay, were offered a glass of their house red (can’t remember the name but I loved it!).
We started off the Pinchos Workshop with an interesting introduction into La Catedral de Navarra (LC), and how as a family company that started over 70 years ago, it has grown from selling in the local market, to almost globally.
To those that haven’t heard of this company, they supply restaurants with everything from jarred asparagus, piquillo peppers, artichoke hearts, broad beans, leeks and so on. This originates from the Civil War when soldier’s mothers preserved vegetables, casseroles and pâtés for their sons and daughters, and after the war it became to store as much seasonal food as possible so that they were available all year round. And that is how La Catedral de Navarra started.
They discussed the production techniques, and how certain vegetables were preserved afterwards so that they could retain their flavour and land on your dish when you dined in certain restaurants. Very interesting! I doubt anyone ever really thinks about where the food they are eating has come from, let alone the effort made to ensure the freshness remains. All of this with only the finest of wines courtesy of Iberica.
Then it came to the tasting bit..
I wasn’t overly keen on this part. I mean, why would tasting jarred broad beans or asparagus be exciting? I even mentioned it to my friend who’d accompanied me, who coincidentally is a chef, and he told me to wait and see what they were going to do.
With the first bite, I realised I was completely wrong. Our first dish, the chicory, broad beans, edible flowers and dried onions blew my mind!
Bursting with freshness and flavour, I can still taste it! I cannot get over how delicious 3 vegetables combined together were. It was more than evident these guys practice exactly what they preach!
Their chef showed us how to put each dish together, then we re-created our own to taste.
The second dish consisted of diced mushrooms, diced carrot, crushed nuts, oregano, sherry vinegar and olive oil, and the third dish came in the form of a piece of art.. Chicory, broad beans, edible flowers, mint and crispy onions. No-one wanted to eat it as it looked so beautiful when put together – however, we all devoured it and loved it!
After further discussions and plenty of wine and sherry, we were given our ‘desserts’. By far one of the most unusual partnerships, artichoke and foie gras. We loved it so much we actually asked for more.
Whilst LC hasn’t become commercially available, it’s more than easy to find them online http://en.lacatedraldenavarra.com/our-products/ and to get in touch to order their products.
I really enjoyed the learning aspect of this event and putting the dishes together in Iberica’s characterful and relaxed setting.
Written by Yorkshire Food Guide’s Guest Contributor Rosita Rogers @zitttttta (Twitter)
Find out more about Iberica Leeds
Iberica’s next event – Guided Wine Dinner Friday 11th November 7pm