Yes, you read it correctly.  It’s  a total winner and we challenge you to say otherwise!  The rich, sweet, buttery nature of the Sticky Toffee Pudding (STP) and its accompanying toffee sauce and homemade vanilla ice cream is hugged by the  embrace of that dear old friend, Glenmorangie Original  with its fruity palate and caramel and butterscotch nature.

So on your next stay with us when you find that STP is on the menu, you know what to ask for.  CHEERS!

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http://www.larectoriadesantmiquel.com

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So, here I am again,  an amateur at work.  Trying to get into the groove again of writing a weekly blog on ‘La Rectoria’ and its related ongoings. This week we made preparations for and hosted a group of 5 travel bloggers and ones that might be described as professionals at their craft – 2 Brits Andrew Higgs (Grownuptravelguide.com), Iain Mallory (Malloryontravel.com),  2 Spaniards Diego Pons (viajanocondiego.com), Doris Casares Medin (3viajes.com) and a Costa Rican, Mariana Calleja Ross (traveldudes.org andmytravelthirst.com organised by the Jaume Marin of the Patronat de Turisme Costa Brava Girona as part of  a ‘fam’ trip on the Catalan Pyrenees.

Four days of skiing , ski mountaineering, snow shoeing ,  trains and feniculars!  So by the time they got to us we reckoned that they’d be pretty hungry. We arranged a little something extra from them, a tasting matching whisky with food,  something that we are exploring here.  On this occasion we had 4 pairings Caol Ilsa & smoked trout (Del Val d’En Bas), Aberfeldy 12 year old & walnuts,  Glen Garioch & 70% chocolate and Ardbeg 10 yr old & roquefort cheese.  Caol Ilsa and Ardbeg being Islays complimented the salty and smokey elements of the cheese and fish respectively.  The peppery nature of  Glen Garioch embraced the richness of the chocolate and the fruitiness of Aberfeldy  blended with the butteriness of the nuts.

With our guests slightly ‘oiled’ it was to dinner.  A starter of squid stuffed with black pudding, followed by slow cooked beef served with blue cheese polenta and roasted parsnips & carrots and to finish ‘Mum’s Own’ sticky toffee pudding and homemade vodka and white chocolate ice cream.

After dinner we were asked about our wee family business – why here? the ins and outs of how we operate….where do our customers come from etc.  And so it was to bed.

The next day and their final morning was an early start as they had to be at Can Xel by 08.00am and take off of their hot air balloon trip with Vols de Colom.  So after some coffee and OJ and a quick sneeky look at the chapel they were gone not before some warm farewells.

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Since then we have received some photo’s and most kind words through the ether of the social universe.  If any of them read this I ask one thing….how do we get our wee message out more.

But finally, many thanks to all of the above bloggers.  We hope that you got something of a flavour of this part of the Pyrenees and best of luck with all of your endevours.

http://www.larectoriadesantmiquel.com

It’s an island…..well a big rock and for those of you that enjoy a dram, the whisky with the most northerly provenance in the world. Browsing the shelves of our favourite whisky store in Barcelona just prior to Christmas, the name Muckle (Scots for big or large) and Flugga, caught me first. Looking at the label more closely it stated, ‘Overwintered in Shetland’…not your average winter get away; somewhat dark and windswept I guess and could possibly be twinned with a Russian Gulag.

The contents of the curvacious bottle contains a blend of six malt whiskies, initially aged in oak sherry casks and then moved to the island of Unst on Shetland near the Muckle Flugga lighthouse for 12 months where it is probably subjected to every type of biblical tempest you can imagine.

La Rectoria’s tasting notes – honey to the nose; inital taste is spices and pepper, thereafter citric, pineapple leading to dryness associated with tannins.

Rectoria Score 5.5 out of 10. One for a woolly jumper, a dreich day with some drizzle to the face. Cheers!

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And so it was last Saturday night we sat down to celebrate ‘Burns Night’.  A first in a number of ways.  The first I had ever prepared in total and hosted.  The first in Carretera de Canoves, Cardedeu, and certainly the first that our Catalan friends and neighbours had attended.

A grand party was highly appropriate and timely as two days later work commenced on the ‘rebuilding’, ‘restoration’ and more importantly the raison d’être of our being here in Catalunya.  The commencement of what will hopefully be the fulfilment of over 5 years dreaming, scheming, mulling over and sweating about.  The transformation of ‘La Rectoria de Sant Miquel de Pineda’ to a Casa Rural, or guest house.  Pere our builder started knocking the s*** out of walls and getting rid of several decades of dirt, dust and debris and some stones going back possibly many centuries.  Now the clock has started ticking.  For in 18 months or so we will be uprooting ourselves to our new home and business.  A guest house in the foothills of the Pyrenees, 100 km or so north of Barcelona.

Meanwhile back to the Haggis antics.  The main course had been procured by dear friends of ours ‘The Macs’ in the Beatrix Potteresque named village of Lilliesleaf near Melrose stuffed in a suitcase and then lain dormant in our freezer until last week.   The menu comprised ‘Cock a leekie’, a wholesome soup of chicken, leeks and prunes too which we had added barley to give it more body.  The Haggis followed, served with Tatties (pomme puree amply bestowed with cream and butter) and Neeps….given the very different nature of the Catalan turnip (nap), pumpkin was roasted and pureed to give a worthy substitute.  We finished with ‘Clootie Dumplin’  (a steamed pudding of raisins, suet – dehydrated rendered beef fat…lip smacking – spices, syrup and a few other bits and pieces), served with butterscotch sauce and almond praline.  The above was washed down with liberal quantities of Glenmorangie in the main, and we finished with homemade shortbread, fudge and coffee.

The poetry wasn’t too bad either.  For Burns purists et al we did not stick rigorously to the formal protocol of the evening….we blew out on Tam O’Shanter and the speeches.  On the other hand our hosts Quico and Pepa did manage to rustle up a Catalan Piper playing the ‘Sac de gemecs’ (or sack of groans or whines – if only we Scots were so honest!) to pipe in the haggis.  And I hope I didn’t murder ‘Auld Lang Syne’ too much, deciding to sing it solo to the mildly whisky embued throng.  John (fae Clydebank) did a sterling job with a couple of poems and in short I think we’re booked for next year and beyond.  A big thanks to Pepa and Quico for giving us the space and their time.

In signing off, I just hope that the Spanish economy does not go right down the tubes, if for the sole reason that for now quality supplies of ‘aqua vitae’ can be found at refreshingly low prices.