As December inches toward January, the impulse to stock up on Champagne for New Year's Eve festivities is powerful. But José Andrés would like you to consider the vast world of Spanish bubbles, and there's one sparkling wine producer in particular that he recommends.
"To me, as long as it’s Spanish and it's bubbles, I will enjoy it to ring in the New Year," he told Food & Wine. "Raventós i Blanc is one of my favorites, but there are so many amazing sparkling wine makers in Spain that you cannot go wrong." As for snacking, the chef has some very important specifications: "It has to be salty and from the sea," he said, suggesting caviar, oysters, uni, and quisquillas.
RELATED: Can Cava Rival Champagne?
For Andrés, the end of the decade has inspired deep reflection and gratitude.
"It’s been a long decade! Hey, when it started I had less than ten restaurants and zero Michelin stars, and look at where we are now," he said. "ThinkFoodGroup has restaurants all around the country and beyond, and our teams at minibar and Somni have each earned two stars. World Central Kitchen didn’t exist at the beginning of the decade, and now we have worked on almost every continent and served more than twelve million meals to people in need after disasters."
In addition to storm relief, WCK has started a culinary school in Haiti, and continues to support Puerto Rican farmers strengthen the local economy. "And I was able to bring everything back to my roots with Mercado Little Spain, showing the people of America what true Spanish food is," said Andrés.
The chef recently cooked in New York alongside longtime friend Joan Roca, for an American Express By Invitation Only dinner. Roca, chef at the legendary Spanish molecular gastronomy institution El Celler de Can Roca, offered a recommendation for Spanish bubbles, too: "A Corpinnat of the Penedès," he said. "And Iberian ham with tomato bread." Corpinnat is a new Spanish sparkling wine designation from the Penedès region, for which the grapes must be organic and picked by hand, and the native grape varietals of Xarel-lo, Parellada, and Macabeo must make up 90 percent of the blend.
If you take Roca's advice and plan on serving ham—you should—we kindly point you in the direction of Andrés' tutorial on proper Spanish ham-eating etiquette. (Yes, there is such a thing as ham-eating etiquette.)