The Fantastic Forum

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Just a quick programming note: Stacy Lutsch here. “Who?” I can hear you asking from across the Atlantic.  I’ve lived in Santiago for the past 2 ½ years, I met Susan a year ago while working at a tourism fair in a tiny Galician village and I am now one half of the American contingent of the Bo Camiño biz here in Galicia, and one quarter of the overall team (we’re lucky enough to have two Galician marketing superstars working with us; that would be the “Fantastic Four” pun that I was going for in the title).

 I’ll be hanging around the blog for the foreseeable future, writing about the work Bo Camiño is doing, the food I’m eating, the wine I’m drinking, the people we’re meeting, and trying my damnedest not to complain too much about the rain.  

 Here’s the first of two posts about the Fórum Gastronómico—that Susan’s already blogged a bit about. Enjoy!

So, what happens when the entire Spanish food and wine scene descends upon the Galician city of A Coruña for three days for the Fórum Gastronómico (Spain’s National Gastronomy Forum)?

A much needed, and very much deserved, spotlight is shone on contemporary Galician gastronomy.

It’s very difficult (not impossible, though) to have a bad culinary experience in Galicia. The ingredients are so fresh, the recipes so refined by centuries of tasting and revising, the chefs so experienced, and the hospitality so warm and welcoming, that most of the meals that I have consumed here have fulfilled gastronomic needs that I didn’t even know I had.

Yet somehow, Galicia is not the place most people—especially most U.S. Americans—think of when Spanish gastronomy is brought up, which is what we at Bo Camiño are working to change.

A quick word association game that I’ve played with friends in the U.S., some culinary professionals, some not—proves my point:

Me: What do you think of when I say “Spanish food”?

Friend/Acquaintance: Umm…tapas?

Me: What kind of tapas?

F/A: Is gazpacho Spanish?

Me: Sure. And Spanish chefs?

F/A: “That dude from that place with all the foam…Bull something?” Or, sometimes if I’m lucky, I’ll get “Ferrán what’s-his-name” (That would be Adriá. Also, his restaurant El Bulli closed in 2011).

And so on. Sometimes people know WAY more than this, and sometimes WAY less. It just depends. But this is par for the course. And who/what is mentioned? Tapas, check. Gazpacho, check (we’ll attribute that one to Andalucía). El Bulli, check (and that goes firmly in the “Cataluña” pile). But Galicia? Nada. Not once.

And after two and half years of living and working in Galicia, I can tell you with the utmost confidence that that is simply not fair. Because Galicia has everything: seriously talented and creative chefs, with a combined total of 11 Michelin Stars; award-winning wines; mouthwatering seafood; all at prices that won’t cost you a month’s rent (and without waiting a year to get a reservation!).

Oh, and did I mention that Galicia has gin, too? Let me introduce you to Nordés. They also make vodka, and have a new line of vermouths. They will change your life. Thank me later.

Oh, and did I mention that Galicia has gin, too? Let me introduce you to Nordés. They also make vodka, and have a new line of vermouths. They will change your life. Thank me later.

So when an event like the Gastronomy Forum comes along, bringing with it a national—and international—presence to A Coruña, the lovely (albeit rain-drenched) largest city in the area, you have to, as we say here, aprovechar or enjoy it (not so coincidentally, this is also what you say before tucking into a delicious meal).

Which is exactly what the Bo Camiño team did this last 23, 24 and 25 of February. Thanks to the generosity of the Forum’s organizers, a joint venture between the Catalan team of Pep Palau and Jaume von Arend and the amazingly talented Galician PR and events firm, Trevisani, Bo Camiño was able to not just partake in, but also actively participate in the sights, sounds, smells and above all, the out-of-this-world, too-good-to-be-true flavors and textures of the Forum.

Aerial view of the Forum. Hundreds of booths, thousands of spectators.

Aerial view of the Forum. Hundreds of booths, thousands of spectators.

If you’ve been following us on Facebook or Twitter (#bocamiñotasteit, #forumtasteit) then you’ve had a chance to see some of the pictures I’m including in this post. Here’s one of my favorites action shots of the stand:

That man in the white shirt? His name is Jesús and he gave us ALL THE HAM. No joke, I'm now going through ham withdrawal.

That man in the white shirt? His name is Jesús and he gave us ALL THE HAM. No joke, I’m now going through ham withdrawal.

If not, go take a look and get caught up for our next post, when I try, and in all likelihood fail, to capture just how overwhelming, exhilarating, fascinating and above all, delectably delicious our time at the Forum was.

For now, I leave you with this refreshing image. Nothing better than a crisp, refreshing glass of Galician Albariño, amirite? (Yes, yes I am).

A very special thank you to Andrés Docampo Fotógrafo for his participation and the fantastic photographs that helped to make Bo Camiño TASTE IT! booth a success at the  Fórum Gastronómic Caruña ’14 Event.

Photography: Andrés Docampo Fotógrafo

http://andresdocampo.com

I literally can't even tell you how many wines we tasted. Best event ever!

I literally can’t even tell you how many wines we tasted. Best event ever!

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