Lunch with a difference? – The Professionals’ Choice: Vince Pearson

vinceThis week Vince Pearson, Chairman, Waterfall Services Limited whets the appetite for the food of Northern Spain…

About Vince

Vince has worked in the healthcare, defence and education markets and is today chairman of the Waterfall Group, a business created from the merger of Caterplus and Taylor Shaw in 2008. He previously led a major portfolio of business in Sodexo as a board director during the late nineties, following their merger with Gardner Merchant, and has also written a novel during a period spent in Australia.

Lunch with a difference?

pic1Recently I had the opportunity to enjoy some great Spanish food out of the main holiday season aiming to write about a recommended tapas bar in Peniscola, north of Valencia. The intention was to build up an appetite through some vigorous exercise pre-lunch in the nearby National Park, Serra d’Ilta, to then enjoy a glass of crisp white wine basking in the early spring sun, followed by a leisurely ramble through the promising menu. The outing needed some preparation. To my horror, however, page one of a Google search showed the main thrust of the park to be “Naked Hiking” and I decided this was all a bit too risky. Maybe another day…

pic2Instead, I would like to tell you about another Spanish restaurant encounter, this time in the small town of Llivia, in North Spain. The town is surrounded by France, yet the principal food is very Catalan, locally sourced and the restaurant, Cal Cofa is a gem. The restaurant sits on three floors of a historic building; it has the most delicious combination of great food, served by people truly proud of their food heritage and an environment that seemed perfectly to suit all ages. We encountered the usual hurdle of mixed languages: Spanish, Catalan, French and English, all stewed together and picked apart to everyone’s amusement. Whilst you’re never sure you are going to get what you think you’ve ordered, what a great way to sample some unusual delights. For the record, we had the most tender and tasteful entrecôte steak, braised wild boar (3 hours in a slow oven), and duck breast with prunes. Huge portions damped our appetite for pudding, though we shared a light burnt creme with oranges, crema catalona.

The region around Llivia is known for its beautiful countryside, and hiking. Though as far as I know, fully clothed. It’s pretty cold in January in Northern Spain…

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