Lifestyle August, 5th 2015 by




AJ Linn

Thanks to having a German partner in a company many years ago, my diary was full of never-ending business trips throughout Europe. Since both of us were bon vivants, the itinerary was governed by the need to visit good restaurants as an essential part of the working day. We met, and ate with, all sorts of different people, which led Klaus, my partner, to decide that, ‘I have no desire to sit down with people who do not enjoy good food and wine. If they are not interested then I prefer not to work with them.’

I have to confess that my friends and I all share a love of la buena mesa: that almost inexpressible sensation of being together at a table knowing that what is to come will be an agreeable sensual experience. Of course anyone not sharing the same tastes believes we are eccentric, glutinous, sybaritic…. and they are possibly right.

But when a friend calls you to say he is just back from Budapest and has brought a fresh goose and some Hungarian wine, and is expecting you for lunch the next day, it is almost like winning the lottery. This friend, and his dear spouse, instead of swelling the queues to visit museums and art galleries, had opted instead to tour the city on foot in search of a húsbolt that sold geese. Not as easy as it should have been and not until the last day, on the point of giving up the quest, did they hit goose.

I have eaten almost everything that flies, from swans to snipe, not forgetting penguins, puffins, pigeons and parrots, but this goose, served with potatoes roasted in its fat, was amazing. The Hungarian wines were good, but regrettably – or not – the Spanish wines also present put them to shame, notably the Rioja Alta Gran Reserva 904, 2001, probably the best top-of-the-range Rioja available today as far as value for money goes. As the Hungarians say, where there is good wine there should always be good goose – or should it be the other way round? – it was getting a bit hazy by then and we were all goosed up to the gills.

AJ Linn

Andrew Linn left England 40 years ago to relocate to Spain, having been involved in businesses such as wine shipping and publishing. He currently writes regularly and professionally on wine, food, flamenco, and the Spanish way of life for various publications, and has a regular column in a Spanish newspaper. Andrew is involved in charity work relating to abandoned and mistreated animals.

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