Talks, tastings, cooking demonstrations and festivals complete the 2023 edition of Spain Fusion Texas, organized by ICEX España Exportación e Inversiones (Foods&Wines from Spain). The event will be held at the Virgin Hotel in the centre of the Design District
The Virgin Hotel, located in the heart of the Design District, is a neighbourhood dedicated to design. Dallas, a major hub for the oil industry, aims to become a cultural city and has now hosted the second session of Spain Fusion Texas, the event via which ICEX Export and Investment (Food & Wines from Spain) is bringing the Spanish pantry and Spain’s gastronomic culture to the United States.
This session, which repeats its May 15 format that was a hit with gastronomy professionals, has been attended by the General Director of Internationalization of ICEX Companies, Elisa Carbonell, who considers that the event is “vital for motivating Spain’s agri-food sector, for expanding internationally and promoting the country’s exceptional pantry.”
Spain Fusión has a small-scale format and is restricted to professionals in the gastronomic sphere, including renowned restaurateurs, chefs, sommeliers, retailers, journalists and influencers. In Houston, the event was a huge success, and entries were sold out for both the day and evening sessions as well as for the cocktail party held in the evening, and graced by the presence of Emeritus Queen Sofía. It was held at the C Baldwin Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton, in the city’s business district.
Two sessions has been held. The day session started at 12 noon and ended at 6pm, and included talks, cooking demonstrations and tastings offered by experts in the Spanish pantry, some of whom are Americans at the helm of outstanding restaurants serving Spanish food. At the same time, a special area designed for the exhibition was created for distributors of Spanish products in the United States to offer attendees tastings of various kinds as well as information.
For the evening sessions, Vocento Gastronomía, the brains behind the development of this event, was inspired to offer a format of cocktails parties and outdoor mini festivals to convey another side of Spain’s gastronomy; that of using food to create a meeting point and a reason for celebrating.
A seal of guarantee
Another of Spain Fusión’s goals is to increase the number of restaurants with the “Restaurants from Spain” seal, a certificate granted by ICEX Food&Wines from Spain to restaurants around the world serving Spanish food, which also helps guide potential customers to places offering quality and authenticity. This certificate, which gives the right to display the seal, requires using foodstuffs with a designation of origin and to have a menu serving Spanish specialties made with these products and using the appropriate techniques. In addition, they must offer an atmosphere and decor that, while respecting the style of each locale, is in keeping with the Spanish identity.
Texas is considered to be one of the most important gastronomic states in the country. It has a vibrant calendar of competitions and festivals, some of the most cutting-edge cooking schools in the United States, has a major cattle breeding and culinary tradition in addition to historical and cultural links to Spain. After Houston, the event goes on to Dallas, San Antonio and Austin on May 17, 19 and 22.
The Spanish pantry
Wines, olive oils, Ibérico cured meats, canned foods, cheeses, fortified wines and sherry vinegars are the protagonists of this itinerant event that boasts a team of speakers that brings together experts from Spain, as well as chefs and instructors specialized in Spanish cuisine and who are familiar faces in the United States. One such case is Danny Lledó, chef and owner of the Michelin-starred restaurant Xiquet in Washington DC. His specialties are rice dishes and canned foods.
Varin Keokitvon is a multifaceted chef at Seattle Culinary Academy. Winner of the Premio ICEX de Formación en Gastronomía Española (ICEX Prize for Training in Spanish Gastronomy), he is a master ham slicer and will explain the world of ham and Ibérico cured meats.
Mat Schuster, chef and owner of the Spanish restaurant Canela Bistró in San Francisco, will present PDO sherry vinegars from Jerez along with fortified wines from the same region.
Alfonso Fernández López, gastronome and member of the Tasting Panel of the FCCAA (Andalusian Foundation for the Control and Quality of Agri-Food Products), who also collaborates with ICEX, is responsible for introducing the American public to the universe of Spanish cheeses.
The wealth of Spain’s wine-growing areas, the quality, history and the trends in the world of Spanish wines are the topic of the talks and tastings led by Master of Wine, Fernando Mora.
María Jiménez Latorre, chef, instructor at the Alambique Cooking School and culinary host of programmes on the TV channel Canal Cocina and radio station Radio Marca, is responsible for explaining olive oil, a Spanish product that has a bright future for reaching markets all over the world thanks to its gastronomic qualities, and also for being a healthy ingredient.
In charge of coordinating all the cooking demonstrations is Periko Ortega, chef at ReComiendo in Córdoba, who combines his work at the restaurant with being executive chef and technical manager of Córdoba’s School of Tourism, Hospitality Management and Gastronomy, as well as at Andalusia’s Centre for Gastronomy.