I realise that in writing this article, it may come across as an advert for a British coffee company. The truth is, I think it has to. No one else has managed to capture the taste experience as well as Rave Coffee based in Cirencester. For the purposes of disclosure, I was involved with Rave Coffee from its inception in the capacity of promotion, but moved aside to look after other business interests as they grew and the company expanded in house.
Master Roaster Rob Hodge, and his wife Vikki, have brought the much needed taste of properly roasted coffee to Britain. That is not to say that other roasters are shabby, far from it, yet Robs international Australian experience of a mature coffee culture, gave new life to the jaded palate of British coffee drinkers.
My introduction to Robs masterful touch with coffee, was in tasting his version of Mocha Java. A blend of Sumatra Mandheling and Ethiopian Sidamo roasted to just bordering on second crack.
I use a Glass vacuum filter coffee maker, and I cannot describe adequately the excitement I felt when I saw the rich one inch thick bloom appear on the coffee as it steeped in the vessel for 50 seconds. When I removed the heat and watched it run through the filter and return to the glass pouring container, I saw the shimmering darkness, yet with a opacity in the colour, and smelled this wonderful coffee aroma perfumed with chocolate and the essence of a spice I could not name, I knew if the taste was anything like the smell I was in for a treat.
It is my habit to leave the coffee for five minutes in the mug to cool a little, and allow the taste to develop through the decreasing temperature range.
The taste. A rich full coffeeness, with an aftertaste of deep chocolate and again the undefine perfume of a delicate spice in the background. There is no bitterness or sharp attack of tannin, it was all a mug of balanced perfection. One of the few coffees that hold, if not improve in the taste to the last drop.
Of all the coffees I have drank, this one, this particulat blend, this matching of two berries by Rave coffee, is the single most outstanding coffee of my choice in many a year. I love it.
I discovered a gem of southern Spanish Tapas right in the heart of Mallorca. Situated a few minutes walk from Plaza de Espana on Carrer Faust Morell 5, this is a place worth visiting time and time again. I had rented an apartment literally just around the corner, and went into the restaurant to have a cortado. Although no one spoke English, the warmth and hospitality of the staff was evident.
A traditional ultra clean Spanish restaurant interior welcomes as you enter the door.
One of the nice things about traditional cafes and restaurants, is that it becomes a ‘local’ place and regulars (like me) are made. I met some absolutely charming people. some who could not speak English, but still welcomed me and some who spoke English and took the opportunity to practice on me.
One of the people who came into the restaurant, a well known local artist, Yolanda Adrover. She introduced me to different Tapas and local life and customs and we talked and laughed many a night. A wonderful person and very creative and hospitable.
Her work is available in book form, based on her exhibitions.
The food at el Rocio is prepared fresh from the raw natural ingedients. I laughed one day when someone brought in a can of home prepared asparagus for me to try, and the restaurant did not possess a can opener.
My favourite Spanish food is Jamon. El Rocio has some of the finest Iberico just hanging from racks waiting to be used or sold to people buying a whole leg for home.
I partook of many slices of the jamon..
Then there is the amazing fresh tapas!
And this is the man that makes all the magic happen. “Senor Francisco”… known as Paco. Very quiet and unflappable and generous.