‘A love affair with sherry, tapas and Spain’ — a chat with Kay Plunkett-Hogge

For those of you who don’t know, we’re big fans of Spanish food and culture here at Khoollect, and so when the opportunity to have a chat with ‘Sherry & a Little Plate of Tapas’ author Kay Plunkett-Hogge arose we pounced at the chance to fire a few questions at her and learn more about her passion for all things Spanish…

Despite knowing a great deal about Spanish foods and wines, you weren’t brought up there. Tell us, where did your love for Spanish provisions and cooking begin?

I actually grew up in Thailand, so far, far away from Spain! But delicious snacks with drinks is something the two cuisines have in common. It wasn’t until I was working as a model agent in the ’80s and ’90s that I discovered tapas. I was on scouting trips to Madrid and Barcelona, ostensibly looking for the next big male model, but I’d rush through the castings in order to go and enjoy sherry and tapas. I was hooked!

What would you say was your favourite city or region of Spain?

Well, I would have to say Andalucia — and there I would have to say Seville and Jerez — for culture, architecture, great food and wine (sherry), and wonderful, hospitable people.

Do you have any tips for those visiting Spain for the first time?

Try everything! Wear comfortable shoes. Try to learn a little Spanish before you go. It goes a long way. Leave room in your luggage for great foodie souvenirs like sherry, Jamon (ham), vinegars and olive oil.

What’s your go-to Sherry? And your all-time favourite tapas?

Ah. that’s a tough one! But I  love a glass of very, very cold La Gitana Manzanilla. As dry as the desert, with a whisper of sea air. With that, I would have some octopus salad. For the end of a meal, I would choose the Gonzalez Byass Pedro Ximenez ‘Nectar’ — fruity, spicy and heaven with a couple of squares of good dark chocolate. My all-time favourite tapas though is the tempura oyster ceviche served at Barrafina Adelaide Street (and yes, the recipe is in the book…).

We love the new book! What can people expect to discover on its pages?
Ooh, I hope they can start a love affair with sherry, tapas and Spain. There is a potted history of sherry and a guide to the different types and how they are made; food pairing suggestions; some delicious sherry cocktails; and lots of easy-to-make-at-home tapas recipes. All you need to have friends around for a taste of Spain in your kitchen.

a-sherry-and-a-little-plate-of-tapas-book

 

What do you think makes the perfect sherry and tapas marriage?

Here’s one that you might not imagine. Steak and chips and a cold glass of oloroso sherry! Preferably Lustau’s Emparatiz Eugenia. Just perfect.

In London, which are your top Spanish eateries to dine in?

Without hesitation: Barrafina. All three branches (they all have a different menu). Seriously. Head chef Nieves Barragan Mohacho is a superstar. It never, never disappoints.

 

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…and try Kay’s Russian Salad, or why not give her Classic Tortilla a go?