Spanish Wine Available in BC

Whenever I’m in a new country (or region, for that matter), I like to stick to drinking the local wines. Not only do they always taste better in their home region, but it truly gives you a sense of the region’s history, their terroir, and how they pair with food. When we were in Spain, we tried many amazing Spanish wines, from Cava to Alarijie to Garnacha. I wish I had done more research before I went, but sometimes the best way to learn is to taste. I wasn’t disappointed with any of the wines we tried, whether they were 3 Euros or 30.

Whenever I come home from a vacation, I try to bring my expanded palette with me. That means I’ll be heading to the wine store this weekend to pick up a few gems from Spain to share with my family and friends here.

Here are a few of the best Spanish wines available in BC at every price point.

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What first drew me to this wine was the gorgeous almost hand-painted look of the label. I’m not usually one to buy a wine by it’s label but this one was too pretty to pass up. It is from the region Bierzo which is becoming more and more popular. At $32, this is a great special occasion wine. And, of course, it will look great on your table top!

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This is one of the most popular Spanish wines sold outside of Spain. Garnacha is one of Spain’s most famous grapes, as it is the most-produced grape in the country. Well-known for being bold and full, it is not too overpowering and would go well with anything from a steak to a tomato sauce.

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I first tried this wine while eating at one of our favourite neighbourhood restaurants, Siena. I’ve always admired them for choosing wines off the beaten path at great price points, and this one is no exception. This wine can be aged for a few years or drunk now, and is dominated by a jam/plum taste. The tannins of this wine are quite soft, making it approachable with food.  Screen Shot 2014-04-02 at 6.48.12 AM

Of course, I couldn’t write a post on Spanish wine without including Cava. Cava is Spain’s version of Champagne or Prosecco, but it is definitely the most dry of the three different varietals. Great with or without food, Cava is always a very reasonable price on wine menus and at wine stores. This bottle is a great example of the grape.

I always encourage people to try something new at the wine store. I know it can be overwhelming but in the end you will learn a lot and expand your horizons!

Happy #WineWednesday!

Spain Travel Diary

Surprise! I went to Spain last week! I know I usually post when I am going on a trip, but this one was top secret as I was surprising my cousin best friend on her graduation trip with her mom! Her mom and I knew about this and planned it for about 6 months and it was all realized two Fridays ago when I stepped on the plane and surprised her!! It was one of the best moments of my life. Isn’t it just amazing to pull off a surprise? The plane ride over was the best time as we gabbed, drank wine, caught up, and talked about the adventures to ensue once we touched down.

We went to Barcelona to stay with family friends and then Madrid for two days where I got to see an old friend and fell in love with the city. It was an amazing week and I came back energized for life and already wanting to jet back to Europe!

Here are some pictures from our trip, and I’ll make sure to outline more specifically what we did in each city and some of the Spanish wine we drank (hint: it is incredible).

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Adiòs!

Roasted Chickpeas and Cauliflower

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One of my all-time favourite cookbooks is It’s All Good, by Gwyneth Paltrow. I know she gets a bad rap, but I have nothing but respect and admiration for the career she has built off of her love for cooking and entertaining. Her recipes are always simple, yet elevated, and her newsletter for goop is always a favourite in my inbox. This cookbook is the one I reach to when I’m feeling particularly healthy and want to amp up my veggies.

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For those of you that try to maintain a #MeatlessMonday, this dish is perfect for you. It has protein (chickpeas), veggies (cauliflower), crunch from the roasting and a deliciously subtle mustard-base sauce that has you coming back for more. If you didn’t already know, cauliflower is high in antioxidants and vitamins, is anti-inflammatory and is a good source of fiber.

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I recently brought it to our “healthy book club” and it was a huge hit!

Roasted Chickpeas and Cauliflower (Slightly adapted from It’s All Good)
serves 2 as a main, 4 as a side

14-oz can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 head of cauliflower, cut into bite-size florets
olive oil
sea salt
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped Italian Parsley

1) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2) Toss the chickpeas and cauliflower together in a large roasting pan with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and a big pinch of salt. Roast, stirring now and then, until everything is dark and the cauliflower is quite soft, about 45 minutes.
3) Meanwhile, whisk together the mustard, vinegar, and 1/4 cup of olive oil with a big pinch of salt and a few healthy grinds of black pepper.
4) While the chickpeas and cauliflower are still warm, toss them with the mustard dressing and the parsley.
5) Serve warm or at room temperature. **Sophie’s note: while this is amazing right out of the oven, I was surprised how good it was 45 minutes later. I brought it straight from the oven, in a covered dish, to book club and it was great for the next hour.

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Weekend Links

c4e91fccb9ab1d5fdba6f204873da4ea*image via Scout

I love the mantra above – success in my mind is attributed to working really hard and being a good person. Sometimes it seems as though that’s all you’re doing, but I do believe it’ll pay off! As usual, this week was filled with work, good times with my girlfriends, a date night and lots of house reno talk. A really great week actually! Especially after a few weeks of stress. It’s nice to see hard work turning into accomplishment, right? Here are some of my favourite links this week:

I can’t wait to get my hands on this book when it comes out in October. It’s by my one of my favourite bloggers, Erin Gates.

I have this quote on my computer background. It’s so true…Mandela was spot on.

This Raspberry Peach Prosecco punch has me dreaming of sun-filled evenings on our front porch. Hurry up, Spring!

Andrew Montgomery might be my new favourite photographer. His photos are amazing.

I’m loving all of J. Crew’s Spring collection. High on my list? This cute tee.

Life Lately

The last month has been crazy busy. The fact is, though, every month seems to be that way! Life only gets busier, but I’ve been lucky to sneak in some amazing moments here and there.

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Lately, I’ve been “learning how to run.” I used to absolutely hate running, but over the last month and a half, I’ve learned to incorporate running into my workout routine and to be honest, I now love it! I never thought I would say those words. For those of you who aren’t the biggest fan of running, I’m going to share my learn to run plan in the next few days. I promise it works!

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Weekend mornings have been looking a lot like this. Breakfast and coffee in bed, followed by a perusal of a new magazine, or more likely, catching up on emails.

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I think I might have a problem…I’m addicted to home magazines! Lately, I’ve been gathering inspiration wherever I can. The new House & Home Kitchen issue is awesome – lots of great ideas for us.

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Anyone who has been to The Cross knows just how magical the place can be. While this area is decidedly girly, it’s such a cute way to incorporate pastels and bright colours for spring.

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One night last week, my mom and I met for a quick after-work glass of wine at one of my favourite spots, Homer St. Cafe and Bar. The best way to enjoy this place is in the early evening light at the bar with a charcuterie plate. It’s a beautiful restaurant. Bonus: they have my favourite rosé.Screen Shot 2014-03-11 at 7.18.00 AM

Catching up on one of my favourite lifestyle blogs, Camille Styles.

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A new favourite flower: white roses.

Screen Shot 2014-03-11 at 7.18.34 AMAbout a month ago, we spent the weekend in Whistler and it was exactly what we needed – a warm fire, sunshine, and the mountain air.

Have an amazing day!

Renovation Inspiration

There is so much inspiration out there for renovating. While at this point we’re focusing on more “big picture” items, I can’t help but catalogue paint colours, design inspiration and flooring ideas. While we need to get the building blocks down before worrying about little details, I want to make sure we have an end goal in mind to keep on track. Here are some images that are really inspiring me lately:

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This looks like a random picture, but I love the paint colour on the pool house. I’d like to pair this dark grey with white trim and black-framed windows for a contrasted exterior look.

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This is another Vancouver Special. Researching Van Specials has been really helpful in determining what we want the flow of our house to be. I love the idea the you can go from the back patio, to the kitchen, to the dining room, to the living room (not pictured), in one fell swoop. While we probably won’t be able to have an island, we are making having a peninsula a priority.

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I love the look of marble, but the price and lack of durability make it unrealistic. To me, quartz is a way better option and as you can see above, also a really beautiful one!

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These pendants are so gorgeous! While I love the look of the rug in the kitchen, I don’t really know how practical it is. The free-standing kitchen island is pretty cool, and might work because we have a smaller space. While our place will be more modern than this, I love how “homey” it feels.

64d83d729d56de388549a2a5885f7ebaI’ve been dreaming about having a window banquette since we moved into our current place! Such a nice spot for a morning coffee, breakfast with out of town guests, and reading the paper. The picture above shows that you don’t have to build something in to have it work perfectly.

What I’ve learned from this renovation so far: plans will change as you learn more, but make sure to keep some ideas in the back of your mind to know what you’re striving towards. Focusing on long-term goals helps when the day to day details get overwhelming!

*all sources on my Pinterest