The event, only for professionals related with culinary or hospitality industry, will include tastings and demonstrations
The second edition of this promotional event of Spanish products – with the backing of ICEX España Exportación e Inversiones (Foods&Wines from Spain) – is bigger than the last one, and includes talks, tastings and mini outdoor festivals in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin.
Texas is one of the United States’ most important gastronomic states. Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin are prosperous cities with large multicultural populations that attract tourists. They also have a cattle breeding and culinary tradition with historical and cultural links to Spain. That’s why ICEX España Exportación e Inversiones (Foods&Wines from Spain) has chosen it as the setting for Spain Fusión, an event held on May 15-22, which, in addition to contributing to the diversity and quality of Texas’ vibrant calendar of festivals, competitions and gastronomic activities, aims to delight local chefs, restaurateurs, retailers, the press and influencers by showcasing, explaining and putting the best of Spain’s pantry on your plate and in your glass.
Wines, olive oils, Ibérico cured meats, canned foods, cheeses, fortified wines and sherry vinegars are the protagonists of this itinerant event that kicked off on Monday 15 in Houston – the most populated city in the state of Texas – and continues on to Dallas, San Antonio and Austin on May 17, 19 and 22, respectively. In each of these cities a special place has been chosen (a prestigious hotel or, in the case of San Antonio, the headquarters of the American Culinary Institute) for a packed and succulent day of talks, tastings and cooking demonstrations in which participants can learn about the characteristics and uses of the various products. During these sessions, attendees can taste and gain information directly from producers and distributors.
Following each daytime session, the evening session offers guests an entertaining and more informal opportunity to enjoy products and dishes at mini outdoor cooking festivals in exclusive locations with food stands where invited chefs prepare specialties such as paella and rice dishes, Spanish tortilla de patatas, fried fish and gazpachos.
The team of speakers is made up of experts from Spain, as well as Spanish chefs who are highly regarded in the United States. One such case is Danny Lledó, chef and owner of Michelin-starred Xiquet in Washington DC. Lledó, the son of a Spanish chef, was born in Washington but spent part of his childhood in Denia, his father’s hometown, where he became steeped in Valencia’s gastronomic culture, of which he was named official ambassador in 2021 by the Region of Valencia. Winner of several awards, his menu elevates rice dishes to haute cuisine; but he is also a specialist in canned food, and that will be the topic of his talks, although during the evening sessionw he will serve his paellas.
Another renowned personality is Varin Keokitvon, a multifaceted chef at Seattle Culinary Academy. Considered one of the best cooking instructors in the United States, he has won the prestigious Vilcek Prize and also the Premio ICEX de Formación en Gastronomía Española (ICEX Prize for Training in Spanish Gastronomy). He’s something of a Renaissance man of cooking: he’s a sports fisherman who’s familiar with various kinds of fishing, an expert mushroom picker and an avid ham slicer. His great knowledge of Spanish products makes him the perfect person to reveal to attendees the world of ham and other Ibérico cured meats.
Mat Schuster will present Sherry Vinegar PDO from Jerez, a product that has been given a special place at Spain Fusión. He will also present fortified wines from Jerez. Chef and owner of the Spanish restaurant Canela Bistró, in San Francisco, Schuster curates an extraordinary wine list with a wide range of Spanish specialties.
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 collaborates with ICEX, the European Commission and other official organizations to promote Spanish and European foods around the world, 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, the founder, among other projects of Bodegas Frontonio, one of the best wine-making undertakings in Aragón.