Flamenco. / EFE

The flamenco - sherry connection

ANDREW J. LINN

There is a long-standing relationship between the world of sherry and the world of flamenco. Both are Andalucía-based, and while the former is limited to the triangle comprising of Cadiz-Jerez -Sanlúcar de Barrameda, flamenco is Andalucía incarnate.

If we live inside one of these triangles we are among the world's luckiest people and have no need to travel to enjoy these treasures. However, flamenco does travel, and there is hardly a place anywhere in the world, from Tokyo to Houston, where some enterprising Spaniard has not set up a tablao (flamenco show). And while for many centuries it was believed that sherry deteriorated when transported outside the area of its birth, modern methods now make it immune to travel sickness.

There are people who have dedicated their lives to ensuring that we can enjoy both flamenco and sherry when far from our natural homes. The foremost is Manuel del Rey, owner of the Corral de Morería in Madrid. Apart from allegedly offering the best flamenco show in the world, it is a Michelin-starred restaurant and home to a cellar stocked with 800 finos, olorosos, amontillados and palo cortados.

A short taxi ride away is another unique sherry destination but without flamenco. In the Calle Echegaray is a small bar named La Venencia where nothing has changed in half a century.

Sherry is served from wooden casks; beer and soft drinks are not available, and the bill is written on the wooden bar with chalk. Its minimalist website baldly states 'We are open [hours], we don't like photographs and you cannot reserve.'