José Pizarro’s Last Bites
The Spanish chef would head home to Spain for a huge fiesta with friends and family
I’d go home, to the house I grew up in. It’s in Talaván, a small village in the Extremadura region of Spain – the house my mother still lives in. That’s where we always have our family gatherings and celebrations.
It’s a very typical Spanish house, overlooking the main square. Every morning, you can watch all the ladies going to buy bread. My parents have never lived anywhere else, and my dream is to build my own home there too, with a big cellar and a vegetable garden nearby, just like my father.
I’d want to bring together everyone who has ever been important to me. I have a lot of friends … There’d be a thousand people! It would be a way of saying thank you.
We’d start with plenty of seafood and Iberico ham, with a nice glass of Tio Pepe. Sherry and ham is such a perfect marriage of flavours.
The smell of my mother’s baby goat stew would fill the house. It would have been cooking slowly all morning, and we would enjoy it with red wine and vegetables from my father’s garden. It was always such a highlight, going down to pick his tomatoes during the summer, or his oranges in the winter.
Sherry and ham is such a perfect marriage of flavours
There’d be cake, and my mother’s creme caramel. And leche frita – fried custard – with a glass of Pedro Ximenez from Fernando de Castilla. It’s a sweet wine, thick with raisins, like Christmas pudding in a glass. After that I’d have a glass of cava, and a big gin and tonic!
If it were the season though, I’d be just as happy with a plate of oranges, dressed with olive oil. We love simple things. My father would often have mint in a vase near the table, a bowl of quince and some orange blossom, filling the house with beautiful aromas.