Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Celebration: Spanish Style



I was recently in Spain for one of the most fun-filled weddings I have ever attended. I was thrilled to be able to celebrate with our friends and the fact that it was across the pond and the wanderluster in me got to scratch the travel itch, was an awesome bonus. Our friends, Erin and Pat met and fell in love while living in Barcelona and wanted to have their friends and family come celebrate their union, where it all began.

The wedding ceremony was at a gorgeous villa the couple rented, where the family also stayed, in the adorable, sea-side town of Sitges. Only about a 30 minute train ride from Barcelona. Everyone attending the wedding was invited to relax and hang-out at the villa so they had time to get to know one another. 

Erin and Pat own and run a fabulous catering company in Charleston, SC  (Check out Gourmet Bay Catering ) so naturally it was a foodie's dream wedding to attend. Pat (a fabulous chef) was incredible, even making the Welcome Dinner meal for 36 guests, the night before their wedding. Everything was delicious, fresh and perfectly presented. It was a casual dinner, which was a great way for everyone to mingle and get to know one another. It was one of the most fabulous groups of people I have ever had the pleasure to party, or rather fiesta with.


In an effort to make the wedding as 'local' as possible, we decided to browse the nearby flower shops to buy the freshest, prettiest white flowers. I put together this bridal bouquet for Erin, which was sweetly adorned with the handkerchief of her Grandmother, who could not make the trip. We used tulips, calla lilies, roses and waxflower buds.





The Newlyweds! 

In organizing the wedding they thought of everything. After their local officiant (who was muy entertaining) pronounced them man and wife, the guests gathered to toast the bride and groom with some bubbly cava. After a few 'cheers' were clinked, the bride and groom departed the villa for some time alone. 

While the newlyweds were in Barcelona having their professional wedding photos taken, the guests stayed back at the villa to nosh on lite bites and sip more bubbly. After about an hour, a shuttle provided by Erin and Pat, arrived to take the entire wedding party into Barcelona. The reception was at a beautiful restaurant Beltxenea





After dinner, we went to a couple bars and clubs to keep the party going. It was a night full of delicious food, tasty cocktails, excitement and dancing that I will never forget. 

Most of our time in Spain was spent in Sitges. Erin and Pat chose Sitges as the location of their wedding because it was where they spent their summer weekends while living in Barcelona, and I can see why. Sitges is the most welcoming seaside retreat, full of personality while being completely relaxing. 



I quite enjoyed window shopping throughout the town. Some very affordable and delicious treats were found. I was surprised at how far our dollars went in Sitges.






We wanted to have at least a little bit of time to enjoy meandering the streets of Barcelona, so we headed back in the day after the wedding. I can tell you the only down side to the entire trip was the hotel in Barcelona. Do NOT stay at the ME by Melia hotel. Do NOT do it. 

In the markets of Barcelona we found the most beautiful and vibrant foods to photograph. Although, I would have liked to have more time to wander through the market, I thoroughly enjoyed the brief stroll. If only I had purchased some of these delicious looking figs, cherries and apricots! 


As far as where we ate while in Spain, I tried to catalog as much as possible. I'm sure I looked a little kooky snapping pics all over the table, but I didn't care. 

A cute little tapas restaurant on the main strip in Sitges. You can't just can't find a better way to spend an afternoon than sipping cava and noshing on tapas, on an oceanfront promenade.

Another restaurant we dined at a couple of times was called Santa Maria- (on a side note, there were restaurants all in a row called NiƱa, Pinta and Santa Maria which amused me). The Santa Maria served delicious food but it was the Strawberry Cava Sangria that really brought us back. It was light, refreshing with just the right dash of natural sweetness. 

Spicy Octopus and Shaved Jamon on Farmer's bread

The octopus was so deliciously tender and flavorful. The menu read spicy but it was more mild than I had expected. It was well seasoned and perfectly cooked. Some people shy away from octopus because they think it will be chewy or rubbery, but if it is prepared properly it is mild and smoothly textured.

 Coffee at the Santa Maria became a regular stop for us on our strolls around town.
 Fresh from the sea, Paella.

I enjoyed more than a few of the Estrella beers which were available at every restaurant. If you haven't had the chance to try it, you don't have to venture to Spain. You can find it in a lot of beer and wine shops, or even some supermarkets Sates side.
Calamari is popular, so we tried it more than once. I love being in a seaside town and being able to dine on the most local and fresh seafood.

Our last night's dinner in Barcelona was amazing. One of the best meals, ever. I mean ever. I don't know if it was because we were that hungry, or if it was the free-flowing beer and wine- but it was delicious! We ordered family style and enjoyed filet, white beans with garlic and sauteed mushrooms. Everything was cooked to perfection.




Overall, I had an amazing trip. I only wish we could have spent a couple extra days in Spain. I hadn't been since I was 18 so it was a totally different experience this time around. I will most definitely be back, I just won't wait more than a decade to do it!

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