The focus was instead on my beautiful cousin, Shannon marrying Manu, her Madrileño love. After 'surprising' Shannon a few days before the wedding, we hit the ground running for a week's long adventure in one of the more festive areas of the world, Madrid, Spain.
Weddings, especially the weddings of very close friends and family, are one of the greatest treasures in life. Truly. That they bring generations together to celebrate the past and future is a standard delight of all weddings but knowing the bride or the groom well makes the whole affair all the greater.
I can't help but wish they were more common but alas, it is their rarity that makes them so special.
Shannon and Manu's wedding was no different. A very quick and heartfelt city hall wedding ceremony was followed by an (I'm going to go ahead and use the adjective) epic celebration.
No doubt, the 3+ hour, 6+ course wedding luncheon at Caldea Restaurante in Rascafria was the highlight of all the meals preceding and proceeding it in Spain. The salad of romaine hearts, peppers & tuna was delicious, simple and beautiful. The dessert platters were nothing short of decadent...something out of a mid century Wayne Thiebaud painting and/or a child's fantasy of 'dessert'.
At nearly every meal, there was the requisite plate of the following: jamòn imberico, triangles of a various cheese & croquetas. It is a real wonder folks aren't heavier in Spain, though they do eat far less of everything than I for one am used to.
Padron peppers and fried eggplant with salmorejo (red sauce) were culinary highlights and while I can and plan to make both at home on the regular, it was somehow better there.
Another memorable meal was Sunday's paella excursion to El Caldero, in Shannon & Manu and Maria's barrio. In addition to several starter plates, we ordered a platter of traditional paella and of squid ink paella. It would be impossible to say which was better because I instantly went into a transcendental state at first bite. I. MUST. MASTER. THIS. RECIPE.
Yet another treat was trying the salchichón de chocolate prepared by Mari Carmen, Shannon's new mother-in-law. As I understood, this confection is made with chocolate, nuts, smashed-up cookies and butter and then prepared in the shape of a sausage, refrigerated to harden, and sliced to serve. Though there was a bit of a language barrier, Mari Carmen agreed to share the recipe with me so that I can prepare it properly and in turn share it with all of you!...more on that in time.
If the above photos weren't enough, here's a few more of my favorite edible moments in the delicious community of Madrid!...
I'm ready to go back and repeat it all over again...VAMOS!