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Photo by Tara Stevens
Espinaler in Vallassar de Mar1
2 of 2
Photo by Tara Stevens
Espinaler in Vallassar de Mar2
Every year without fail I leave my Christmas shopping and preparations to the last minute, ensuring I get nicely stressed out beforehand. This year I’m guessing it might be a bit of an impromptu Christmas anyway, especially if people end up stranded. With this in mind I’ve come up with a few ideas to help it go with a bang.
Juice pomegranates: while the super fruit is in season I juice as much of it as I can and freeze it in batches. I’ve spent years painfully digging out the seeds and discarding the bitter membrane, only to discover that you can just cut it in half, and squeeze it as you would an orange in an electric citrus juicer. Strain it through a muslin cloth if you want it to be more refined. Then add it to cava to make a festive aperitif, or mix 3 parts pomegranate juice with 2 parts vodka, 1 part Cointreau and 1 part lime juice to make a Christmasy martini.
Go out: Catalans head to the cathedral on Christmas Eve for midnight mass – a jolly tradition that gets you out and about and into the spirit of things even if, like me, you are not remotely religious.
Fer a vermut: a quintessentially Catalan activity on Christmas morning when you’ll find many folks heading up to the seaside taverna of Espinaler in Vallassar de Mar (www.espinaler.es). Hop on the train, then a brisk walk on the beach, followed by vermut, anchovies and a dish of piquant guindilla peppers before heading back to town with a cheerful glow in time for lunch. Sounds good to me. Maybe I’ll see you there.
If you really can’t face cooking you might just be in time to reserve a space for lunch at the Hotel Mandarin Oriental, which is hosting gala lunches dinners at both it’s restaurants – Blanc and Moments – daily from the 25th Dec through 31st Dec, as well as a special brunch on Jan 1st. On Christmas day itself Blanc offers a seven course menu not including wine for €85, and Moments (recently awarded one Michelin star) for eight courses not including wine for €150. (www.mandarinoriental.com).
Finally, if you want a more local perspective on what to do and where to go over Christmas check out www.askaro.com, a new website by the creators of Loquo. You ask the question, the good folk of Barcelona point you in the right direction.