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Bohemian Agent is a travel blog dedicated to inspired story-telling, manifesting your own happy, life after 40, international living and travel experiences as a solo female explorer.  
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Pan con tomate!

Tiny Adventures in Spain:  Today's lunch invite would land me a lesson in how to prepare a favorite Catalan starter called Pan con Tomate at a rustic wine bodega in the Penedès.

The weekend had officially arrived, and I received another invite to eat! Hooray!  This time I was going to a wine bodega located in Lavern (Subirats) in the heart of the Penedès (halfway between Barcelona and Tarragona) and just outside of the tiny Spanish wine village where I lived.  Here I would find out where Cava and Gastronomy join hands together and sing Kumbaya, my Lord, Kumbaya!  Ha-ha!   I had no idea what to expect, but I was about to enter into a unique "weekend only" eating experience at a beautiful wine bodega on this lovely Spanish afternoon.   This little gem was called Canals & Casanovas, and they provided a very rustic traditional Catalan BBQ experience (offered only on the weekends) at their family owned wine bodega situated in the heart of Spanish wine country.  Picture cava, with an open fire BBQ, surrounded by vineyards, while sharing food in a big family party kind of way.  Spaniards love their grilled meats and veggies, and here we would find wonderful choices in grand portions of anything from delicious grilled artichokes to sausages. 

It was a crowded restaurant, but we quickly found ourselves a temporary seat to enjoy a bottle of cava while we waited for our table.  Upon entering the restaurant from the exterior, I began to smell the tantalizing BBQ lingering into the air from the open fire grill.  It was a loud Spanish style dining room, so don't come here expecting a quiet ritzy lunch for two.  Expect in-your-face flames, excellent cava, fresh food with a rustic Spanish ambiance.  

Today, was the day that I first learned about the ever so famous pa amb tomaquet (bread with tomato written in Catalan or otherwise known as Catalan bread) which is typical of Catalunya country.  This simple dish is also known as pan con tomate (bread with tomato written in Spanish).  My wonderful hosts would show me how to prepare this lovely bread in the local Catalunya style. Picture big hunks of country bread rubbed with fresh garlic (this part is optional for the breath conscious) and then each half of a sliced tomato is rubbed into the bread somewhat turning it into a fresh tomato marmalade.  From here you drizzle on your choice of fresh olive oil (there is no shortage of it in Spain) and a dash of salt.  Yum!  I was experiencing such joy in the simplest  of ingredients  here in Spain that are often overlooked back home in the U.S.  My palate was having a complete rebirth as I began to re-introduce life's simplest pleasures to it on a daily basis.

This countryside bread was not only suitable for the freshest of tomatoes, but also the perfect resting place to spread some freshly made aioli.  Aioli is another big Mediterranean starter here in Spain created with garlic, olive oil and sometimes an emulsifier like an egg to whip it all together.  From here we enjoyed the seasonal calgots, which I had described in an earlier post as something similar to a leek or a scallion, then grilled, peeled and dipped into a special romesco (nut and red pepper) sauce and eaten.  I loved the grilled artichokes and sausages that followed and just when I couldn't eat another thing, they came with desert! 

For desert, they served up flan with whipped cream and known in the inner circles (yes, we are in!) as Pajamas because you will likely pass out and nap after you finish it.  Don't forget to dunk some sweets into your digestif or you can choose to simply sip it down and digest.      

On the way out, I'd find out that this family bodega carries three generations of vine cultivations and here they take great pride in their craftsmanship of cava, wine, and olive oil.  And...if you stick around long enough, you might have an opportunity to chat with all three generations, like I did, after stuffing my face in a "no rush" Spanish way on this particular Saturday afternoon in Spain.   

Side note:  When it comes to cava, I was always told to order Brut because the other varieties are filled with tons of sugar.  Well, you don't have to worry about getting a sugar hangover here!  It's all natural baby, all of the cavas here are only of the Brut variety.  Hooray for no-brainer sparkly beverages!   

Canals y Casanovas is located at Joan Maragall 24, 08770 Sant Sadurni d'Anoia, Spain.  Make it part of your weekend lunch plans!  
Telephone: +34 938 91 11 03

Hi, I am a Bohemian Agent, a Female Traveler full of wanderlust and adventure!  My name is Jeanne Connolly, and this is the beginning of my travel story.  I hope you join me for the ride.  Bohemian Agent is a travel blog dedicated to inspired story-telling, life after 40, international living and travel experiences as a solo female explorer.  
Sending love and adventure your way until the next post.   I post every Monday and Wednesday.  Be sure to subscribe to the blog for all our updates.  

Jeanne, The Bohemian Agent


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