Malaga. Nearly 90 exhibitors and 40 companies from the wine and gourmet products sectors were at the first edition of SUR Wines & Gourmet on Monday and Tuesday. The event, organised by SUR, its gastronomy publication Málaga en la Mesa and Grupo La Reserva, was held in the Pórtico de Velásquez Restaurante in Malaga.
There was a huge selection of wines on display and with so many to investigate, Cristina Socorro of the Molino Lario hotel commented at about 5.30pm: "I arrived about half one and I've barely got through half of them!"
There were classic wines as well as new, from Ronda to Penedés and Italy, whites and reds, sherries and sparkling wines and even ecological and biodynamic wines.
To assist with working out which wine goes best with what type of food, there were trays of bread with olive oil, cured ham and icecream.
The arranged tastings helped the attendees to keep tabs on what wines they were trying and there were quite a few familiar faces from the gastronomic scene in Malaga: Paco García, director of the Michelin-starred El Lago; José Sánchez, manager of Los Marinos; José and Cristina Cánovas; and Diego Aguilar from Palodú.
One of the exclusive foods presented at the event was foie (pâté), from ducks which had been fed with 90 per cent maize grown from recovered heritage grain. This light-yellow pâté is unique and comes from the Ferm d'Adour, a French association of breeders and manufacturers of duck products.
Local companies were also highlighted including Mondat, a company located in a 10,000-square-metre factory in Monda. From these premises, 4,000 kilos of white, rustic or gourmet breads, all with the Sabor a Málaga seal, are produced every hour, according to area manager Jorge Flores.
What makes them so special is the technique which involves pre-cooking them on an incandescent stone slab in a special furnace unique to Andalucía.
Olive oils were interspersed with the wine bottles with brands well known in Malaga such as Cortijo El Solano and Molisur . Ones from further afield included Spíritu Santo (Úbeda), which is produced from recovered, indigenous varieties of olives.
Bread and olive oil go well with wine, just as manzanilla (fino sherry) goes with cured ham and the range of jerez (dry sherries) goes with other cured meats.
Expert cured ham slicer Pedro Belmonte, was on hand to advise on the best way to cut jamón at home (the leg fixed well to a support so that it doesn't move, a really sharp knife, the positioning of the hands etc).
There was plenty of cured hams to try including one, Extrem Puro Extremadura, 100 per cent Iberian, which was used to make McDonald's 'Extrem' speciality burger.
There were cheeses from Malaga and manchegos from Marantona where they are cured in a cave, cooked meats and El Barquero cod, and even dessert from Frutas Eladio and Alonso icecream from Alicante.
Over the two days it is estimated that over 4,000 people visited SUR Wines & Gourmet and attended the tastings and workshops to discover more about the national and international wines and gourmet products that went with them.