Grape, Olive, Pig: A Love Letter to Spain
The author of Rice, Noodle, Fish turns his passion for Spain into a captivating food and travel guide in this award-winning second book by Roads & Kingdoms. Take my word for it, Spain is easy to fall in love with. From its climate to its landscapes, culture, people and gastronomy – oh! the food and wine! – this country weaves its seductive tendrils around even the most skeptical visitor and never lets go. If my word isn't enough, just ask Matt Goulding, the author of "Grape, Olive, Pig" (and Anthony Bourdain loves it)
Ostensibly a food and travel guide to Spain, Grape, Olive, Pig begins as a love letter, written to both Goulding's Catalan wife and his adopted city of Barcelona, before it fans out to include other corners of the country. More specifically, it is a tribute to Spain's vast pantry and infinite culinary repertoire, where traditional dishes co-exist in harmony with some of the world's most cutting-edge gastronomy.
It also serves as an enthusiastic, engaging and nuanced homage to the people behind these products and the artisans of these recipes. It is a travel guide that reads like a novel, a page-turner that weaves an intimate story of the places, history, flavors and culture of this magnificent country, which has seduced and beguiled many a foreigner over the years – present company included.
The nearly 350-page tome that is Grape, Olive, Pig begins like an autobiography, and it is this infusion of Goulding's personal voice into the guide that makes readers want to continue exploring Spain with him at their side.
The scenes he paints are compelling. Soothe the dull ache of a night of cava swilling and frenetic tapa hopping in Barcelona over a mid-morning serving of fried anchovies at La Plata with Goulding and his wife. Let a thinly sliced sliver of Ibérico bellota ham made by celebrated Spanish ham deity Fermín melt slowly onto your tongue in the town of La Alberca, Salamanca.
Fight for the crunchy layer of deeply browned socarrat at the bottom of a paella in Valencia. Uncover the roots of the Basque culinary movement in San Sebastián with some of the world's most acclaimed chefs. Get a first-hand look (I confess I never really understood how it worked before) at the three-millennia-old practice of almadraba tuna fishing along Spain's southern Atlantic coast in Cádiz.
Savor the union of tradition and innovation with Pedro and Marcos Morán at Casa Gerardo and Nacho Manzano at Casa Marcial, both in Asturias. Join three sisters in Galicia in the dangerous pursuit of gooseneck barnacles – one of this country's most revered products.
Tackle the tapas, cocido and neighborhoods of Madrid at the hand of chefs like Sacha Hormaechea. Eat migas amongst cave-dwelling shepherds at the foot of the Sierra de María mountains between Almería and Granada – a truly singular place I've never heard about before.
Read about these experiences, and the rich stories and history that Goulding weaves into each and every one of them, and I guarantee you'll feel like Spain is an old friend. Best of all, Grape, Olive, Pig never forgets that it's a travel book at heart, meaning that it also gives you the tools you need to embark on your own Spanish culinary adventures.
Sections like "Know Before You Go", "Eat Like a Spaniard", "Drink Like a Spaniard", "Tapas Taxonomy" and "Anatomy of a Dish" – the latter featuring things like angulas, churros con chocolate, salmorejo and gin tonics, among others – all provide in-depth insight to practical, memorable themes.
Additionally, certain product categories are meticulously explained and illustrated in asides like "The Majesty of Spanish Conservas", "Best Cuts, Atún Rojo", "The Rice Matrix", "The Cured Meats" and "The Big Cheese". With excellent artwork and nearly 200 photographs, Grape, Olive, Pig gives you everything you need to know before you go, and at same time it keeps you wanting more.
Images: ®Matt Goulding
Ostensibly a food and travel guide to Spain, Grape, Olive, Pig begins as a love letter, written to both Goulding's Catalan wife and his adopted city of Barcelona, before it fans out to include other corners of the country