Barcelona Day Trip: Cava Tasting by Train in Sant Sadurní d’Anoia

Sant Sadurní d’Anoia (or Cavalandia, as we dubbed it on our last trip there) is a beautiful little town less than an hour by train from Barcelona. It’s full of wineries where they produce cava, the delicious Spanish sparkling wine made using the champagne method.

sant-sadurni-danoia

Sant Sadurní d’Anoia is one of our favorite Barcelona day trips because:

  1. It’s so easy to get to (no DD’s necessary) and involves a day of walking from winery to winery to restaurant to winery
  2. It’s very affordable (full disclosure: my palate is not refined enough to appreciate expensive champagne, and I am very happy with a 5-euro bottle of cava brut nature)
  3. It’s a lot of fun with a group, especially folks visiting from out of town

I recommend calling or emailing wineries a few days in advance to reserve places if you want to take a tour. Or go for the DIY approach and take over a winery’s garden for a barbecue. More details on both methods below.

Barcelona Day Trip: Cava Tasting by Train in Sant Sadurní d'Anoia

How to Get to Sant Sadurní d’Anoia by Train

Take the RENFE suburban train (Rodalies) R4 toward Sant Vicenç de Calders. It stops in Barcelona Sants, Barcelona Plaça Catalunya, Barcelona La Sagrera-Meridiana and Barcelona Arc de Triomf, and you can buy tickets from the machines in the station (less than 9 euros round trip). The train goes directly to Sant Sadurní d’Anoia, no transfers, and the journey is about 45 minutes.

There are two trains an hour – but the times listed on the website and the real times trains actually arrive are often a few minutes off in either direction. Just to keep you on your toes. So arrive early to be safe.

You can also buy the Freixetren ticket from the machines at the station, which includes a round-trip train ticket and a tour of the Freixenet winery for 11 euros. If you’re interested in doing this, you still have to reserve a time for the tour on the Freixenet website.

Wineries to Visit in Sant Sadurní d’Anoia

Freixenet and Codorníu are the biggest wineries in the area, and they have a larger international footprint than some of the smaller cellars. Both have good English tours, though you don’t get the personalized experience you have at a smaller producer. Freixenet is definitely the easiest to reach; it’s right next to the train station. Codorníu is a gorgeous property with cool modernist architecture – but it’s not within walking distance, so you’ll have to spring for a cab ride (there are usually taxis in front of the station).

 

First #grapes of the #harvest

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The other wineries that we’ve visited have all been stellar and within a 15-minute walk of the train station:

Gramona: Make a reservation for the historic cellar (they also have a newer facility in a different location).  The staff is very nice and the tastings are excellent. (We’ve only done this tour in Spanish, and I’m not sure if they offer other languages.)

Solà Raventós: I love, love, love this place. It’s a one-man operation, and the proprietor is so nice and generous with his time (and cava) – showing you the caves, explaining each step of the process and letting you taste a wide selection of cava. We’ve visited twice and will go back again. (Tours in Spanish and Catalan.)

 

This weekend in the land of cava. More specifically, Solà Raventós.

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Recaredo: We had such a good experience here. We took Brian’s parents when they came to visit, and our guide took tons of time to show us around and let us enjoy a few glasses. (We did this tour in English.)

Where to Eat

Ticus is in the town center, and it has a great menu del día that never disappoints (plus lots of local cavas and wines to try).

DIY BBQ at Cava Jaume Giró i Giró

Cava Giró i Giró is a 12-minute walk from the train station, and it has a big shaded garden surrounded by long wooden tables and barbecues.

 

Beautiful Sunday for drinking cava and BBQing

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If you call a few days in advance (or perhaps even the day before; they were very patient with the million changes we made to our reservation – and we came with a group of nearly 20), you can reserve space to relax and grill for the day… all while drinking the winery’s chilled cava on demand. The winery provides glasses and wood for the barbecues, but you have to bring everything else you need to cook and eat.

 

Cava BBQ in the cava region ??????

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It’s one of the best ways to spend a sunny day – and you’ll leave with bellies full of cava and food for around 10 euros a person.

Open every day, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
2.50 euros per person for the space
6.40 euros per bottle of brut nature reserva cava (and a glass each to use)

 

We are goal-oriented.

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We also saw that the winery across from Cava Giró i Giró – Cava Blancher – has a similar barbecue setup, with interior and exterior tables available on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. Guess it’s almost time for another trip out to Cavalandia…

 

Photo credit

Bourbon-Chipotle BBQ Sauce

Last weekend, we celebrated our lovely friend Claire’s birthday by camping out all day on her gorgeous terrace in El Gòtic and slow-cooking a ridiculous amount of pork to perfection (more about that in another post).

Power nap.
Power nap.

It was a tough day.

Brian worked his magic on the grill, and I made a simple coleslaw and this bourbon-chipotle BBQ sauce, which I have to say, turned out mighty fine. I love BBQ sauce, but I find a lot of the bottled stuff too sweet and lacking in real flavor (also, it’s strangely not a thing here in Spain).

I like a BBQ sauce with a little kick to it, and my old friends bourbon and chipotle give this recipe a moderate level of spice with a hint of smoky sweetness.

tomatoes for BBQ sauce
End-of-the-season tomatoes

I’ve made a variation of this recipe before with canned tomatoes, and it turned out well – but go for the fresh version if you’ve got ’em. It takes additional time to cook them down, but it’s not a lot more hands-on work, and I think it’s worth it.

Pulled pork with BBQ sauce
Pulled pork sandwich with coleslaw and bourbon-chipotle BBQ sauce. Yes.

Bourbon-Chipotle BBQ Sauce

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes

Yield: 2 squeeze bottles

Bourbon-Chipotle BBQ Sauce

Ingredients

  • 5 lbs. fresh tomatoes, cores and seeds removed and roughly chopped (or about 70 oz. canned whole peeled tomatoes)
  • 3 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup + 1 T. dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup bourbon
  • 2 T. molasses
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, deseeded and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 T. cocoa powder
  • Olive oil

Instructions

  1. First, make the ketchup-like base. Heat a little olive oil in a large pot, and add tomatoes, celery, onion, garlic, chipotle, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, vinegar, Worcestershire and brown sugar. Cook uncovered for 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours until the tomatoes have reduced and become thick and saucy. (Use fresh tomatoes if available; if you use canned tomatoes, you can reduce the cook time to about 30-45 minutes.)
  2. Purée with an immersion blender or in a regular blender. Push the mixture through a strainer once or twice, and discard solids.
  3. Add bourbon, molasses and cocoa powder to the tomato mixture and cook on medium heat for 30 minutes. Adjust seasoning as needed.
http://www.travelingtotaste.com/2014/10/26/bourbon-chipotle-bbq-sauce/