I really LOVE my job! What more could you ask for…? I consider myself a very fortunate person just for the fact that I love my job. It has not been an easy journey to get where we are, but I was always convinced that promoting the BEST of my country I could get very far… and that’s where we are now! Last week I travelled to Moscow to talk about Spain and jamón & cheeses.
I’m so grateful to Repsol, a company that puts a lot of effort into promoting our country through our products, through our culture. Also, I recently had the opportunity, thanks to my friend Florencio Sanchidrían (The best ambassador of our ham), to be named official food taster of the Repsol Guide. To advise this prestigious guide on choosing the best jamón and cold meats is a real honor as well as a huge responsibility. I’ve had the chance and pleasure to travel with Repsol to Moscow. My mission? Doing what I like the most: talking about Spain and also, in this occasion, I did not only talk about jamón but also about our cheeses.
My talks were held at the fantastic stand that Repsol set for their work sessions at the 21th World Petroleum Congress. In this stand there was a fair amount of space for conferences in a chill out ambiance where I met people from all over the world and where I had the chance to be in contact with the Congress Russian hosts.
Talking about Spain where you are far from home is easy. You just need a little bit of passion for our products, culture, traditions… the rest comes along. Those who know me well are aware that English has not been easy for me… but when I talk about Spain, it’s natural… As my friend Patricio would say, “me vengo arriba”. I love seeing the audience’s faces, getting more familiar with me. You feel as you’ve broken that sort of barrier of indifference… Once here, the audience starts enjoying it, as well as me. Comparing it with the bull-fighting argot, it would mean that the orchestra is standing up and playing the first notes… From that moment on, you just need to keep the audience with you to the end. If I may say so myself, cheering the audience up with some superb jamón Cinco Jotas is not a difficult task. Believe me! Even vegetarians love it!
My talks were organized for four days, but due to logistic reasons, I travelled there three days before in order to prepare everything properly. This always gives me the opportunity to know more about the place where I am going to work as well as getting familiar with the gastronomy of the country. I love trying all kinds of food; I love traditional stews the most! Some years ago we had a German-Russian Au-pair taking care of my children and we always remember a particular soup she used to make, called Borshch… I didn’t stop until I found this soup in Moscow! Wonderful! You should have seen my face trying this soup again. I am a big lover of stews and casseroles and Russia is a country of soups and stews so I guess I’d be happy for a while there. The problem was the heat. It’s been quite warm so I’ve been more aware of my diet, trying to avoid rich hot dishes.
I tried the original “Russian Salad” and I must say I still prefer Spanish style “Ensaladilla Rusa” and if I may say it… my wife’s!
Nana, Congratulations! Your “Ensaladilla” is even better than the one they make in Moscow. The original Russian style salad is good, but we all have our standards, and perhaps we have improved it with these Spanish changes we’ve made to it… I don’t know. It’s just my opinion!
One of the evenings, while Spain were playing their second game (in which we lost… so we were definitely out of the World Cup) I tried the best Strogonoff I’ve ever had. It was just amazing! I am already on several recipes to make it at home because it is one of my favourite dishes. Wonderful!
I’ve also tried different smoked fish. They have a good variety there. I think they have a good variety of everything because of its vast territory and multiculturality… For a foddie like me, Russia is a great place to visit because you can try different influences!
Finally, a remark on our jamón in Russia… It’s not easy to find it and if you find it, prices are ridiculously expensive. That is why, once again, I feel so privileged for being able to enjoying jamón as I do… Let’s enjoy the JAMÓN!