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The Flavors of Jerez and Cádiz

A CEA study abroad excursion starts and ends with a group of tired students packed onto a bus. On the way to our destination, we have only just woken up and on the way back, we are exhausted from a long day of exploring. While the drive may seem long, it is what happens during the day that makes it all worth it.

To start the adventure, we went to González Byass winery in Jerez, a city in southern Spain. Our group of CEA students spent the morning touring the small bodega that produces sherry, namely the well-known brand Tío Pepe.

 Posing with Tío Pepe at González Byass

The winery is made up of wine cellars with barrels of all sizes and ages stacked along the walls, creating corridors through the buildings. Cobblestone paths covered by a canopy of vines and grapes connect the buildings and provide shade for the roaming tourists and workers alike.
 One of the many wine cellars at González Byass

After exploring the winery, we had a tasting of two types of sherry. I have never tried the fortified wine before and was surprised by the distinct and strong flavors. One was dry and fruity, the other sweet – sweeter than any wine I have had before.

From the winery we drove another hour to Cádiz and had the afternoon to explore the city. We arrived around lunch time, 2pm, and were determined to try traditional dishes from the province.

El Faro, a small bar and restaurant, was full of people crowded around the bar, while plates of tapas, wine and beer covered the surface. We stood at the old wooden counter, ordering dish after dish, savoring the delicious flavors. Our waiter was friendly and kept the tapas coming; with each dish we tried and loved he became more and more animated.

In visiting Cádiz, I learned that it is essential to try the tortillas de camarones – basically the best shrimp fritters you will ever have. They are delicious, crunchy, salty and full of flavor. A group of us split the tortillas along with  squid meatballs, smoked fish with white beans, manchego cheese, stuffed avocado, ratatouille or “pisto” on crisp bread, the list goes on.

 Tortillas de Camarones

While my afternoon in Cádiz was mainly a gastronomic exploration, I did have time to wander the Old Town, a section of Cádiz still surrounded by the city walls. Passing by the cathedral and the Plaza de Flores, a market brimming with small shops with an array of plants and colorful flowers, I wound my way through the older part of the city and walked along the wall overlooking the ocean.
 Cádiz Cathedral

The one-day trip was a tour of flavors, from the exotic sherry to the decadent tapas. It was a day of new experiences, tastes and adventures.

Kaleigh Shufeldt is the Fall 2014 CEA Mojo in Seville, Spain. She is currently a senior at the University of Arizona.


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