Jamie Oliver caused quite a stir by including chorizo in his paella recently, and the world of Spanish gastronomy wasn't slow to let him know the error of his ways.
The Instituto Cervantes in Dublin has taken a benign attitude in its response, noting that the British chef "not only opened up a fascinating debate about one of our iconic dishes, he also reminded us that Spanish cuisine is very much alive, constantly changing and evolving". It also confirmed that, according to historians, early recipes for paella did indeed contain chorizo.
The institute is promoting understanding and enjoyment of regional Spanish food and wine by organising a series of Tuesday evening masterclasses at its Lincoln Place headquarters in Dublin 2, which will combine learning with food and wine tasting.
"Does a paella contain chorizo? Are tapas and pinchos the same thing? What's the difference between Rioja and Ribera del Duero? Do all Spaniards have dinner at midnight?" are among the questions that will be addressed in the series of five evening workshops, which will run on Tuesdays from November 8th to December 6th (6.30pm-8pm). The classes, which will be in English, cost €125 for all five, including recipes and regional gastronomy and wine notes. Places are limited and must be booked in advance by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The regions covered will be Asturias, Cantabria and Galicia; Canary Islands, Andalusia and Murcia; Catalonia, Valencia, Balearic Islands; Castilla y León, Castilla-La Mancha, Extremedura, Madrid; Aragón, La Rioja, Navarra and the Basque country.
The workshops will be led by chef Juan Luis Casero, who is from Asturias, where his family run a restaurant in the town of Cangas de Onís. He left home to further his career in the Canaries, Marbella, France and Dublin. In Dublin he has worked at the Clarence hotel, The Gables, Foxrock, and the Leopardstown Inn, where he is now head chef.