I might have bit off an awful lot for us to eat on New Years, but we started early! About 2pm, I set out some snacks to start us off. First, was a beautiful mix of Olives and a light spread of Manchego y Membrillo (Manchego cheese with quince paste) from Ottavio’s
– a local Italian bakery and delicatessen in Oak Bay, and a little later in the day, Pa Amb Tomaquet or Pan A La Catalana (Bread with Tomato).
The saltiness & buttery, firm consistency of the cheese really paired nicely with the paste. Manchego cheese is a pasteurized, aged sheep cheese from the region of La Mancha in Spain. Stringent regulations placed by the European Union enforce the quality of Manchego, making it a real treat – especially when served in the classic Spanish way – with Quince Paste!
Quince Paste is a spread made from the insides of quince – a large, hard, yellow colored fruit related to apples and pears, and if eaten unprepared is astringently tart. Made into paste however, the result is a soft, spreadable fruit leather like product. Sweet, firm yet malleable, and beautifully deep plum colored. Lifecycles
, an urban agriculture and sustainable food systems promoter in the greater Victoria region produced the paste through their Fruit Tree Project
wherein volunteers go around and (with consent) pick the unused and thus would-be wasted fruit from people’s yards and redistribute it to feed the community. It’s a beautiful project and so is the quince paste!!
For our appies, it couldn’t be simpler. Just cut up some Manchego, some quince paste, and place the latter on the former. Eat. So simple. So decadent. So beautiful. Pair with a Spanish Cava, such as the Segura Viudas Brut Reserva – it’s light, cleansing, dry, and bubbly. Perfect with olives and Manchego y Membrillo!
The Pan Con Tomate is equally as simple, and served in pretty much every restaurant we hit while in Spain. Of course we had to include it in our New Years Eve dinner!! Below is the recipe, though you will only need to read it once. It’s that easy.
Pan Con Tomate (Bread with Tomato)
- 1 Loaf/Stick of Crusty Bread.
- 6 Garlic Cloves, halved.
- 3 Tomatoes, halved.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
- Kosher Salt & Fresh Cracked Black Pepper.
- Preheat your broiler.
- Slice the bread diagonally and toast them very lightly. Remove from oven.
- Rub them on one side with a piece of the garlic, and then squeeze the tomato juice, seeds, and flesh over the bread.
- Season with salt & a little pepper, and drizzle with oil.