Monthly Archives: May 2014

Visit to Codorníu Cava Cellars

Main entrance to Cavas Codorníu
Main entrance to Cavas Codorníu

Have you ever wondered what is the difference between cava and champagne? Well, to make a long story short, Champagne is a region in France and sparkling wine produced in this area is called champagne. Cava was earlier called champagne, too, but original Champagne area producers wanted to protect their product (for obvious reason) they banned using the name for anything else. In Spain there are several producers of ‘champagne’, but the product is called cava. It is produced exactly the same way, but it is not done in Champagne, it’s not called champagne. And actually the name cava refers to caves as they are aged in old caves underground in barrels.

Codorníu is the second best selling cava in Spain after their rival Freixenet. Codorníu produces a whopping 5 million cases annually and they are located only about 50 km/30 mi from Barcelona near a small town called Vilafranca del Penedés.

In summer 2013 we were having a summer trip by car near Barcelona, visiting Cavas Codorníu was a must. One of their cavas, Anna de Codorníu, is one of our absolute favorites. We always have a bottle or two in the fridge. Here’s a virtual tour through the cava cellars!

Where to find Cavas Codorníu

Gingerbread Cheesecake

Gingerbread cheesecake ready for serving!
Gingerbread cheesecake ready for serving!

We had some leftover gingerbread cookies from the Christmas (in an unopened package – weird, right?) But anyway, we decided to use those to make a gingerbread cheesecake with an orange twist. It turned out to be delicious and easy to make desert!

Ingredients for the Bottom

  • 1 package (300 g/10 oz) of gingerbread cookies – galletas de jengibre
  • 150 g (5 oz) of soft butter – mantequilla

Melt the butter, but not too much. Just enough that it turns into liquid. Crumble the gingerbread cookies. You can use a blender or do it by hand. Add the butter and mix well. Press the cookie mixture on the bottom of a greased 24 cm (10 inch) springform pan.

Ingredients for the Cheese Mixture

  • 2 dl (1 cups) of sugar – azucar
  • 4 dl (2 cups) of whipping cream – nata liquida
  • 2 packages (300 g/10 oz) of honey flavored cream cheese – Philadelphia con miel
  • 8 gelatin leaves – hojas de gelatina
  • 1 tablespoon of water – agua
  • 1 grated orange zest – piel de naranja
  • juice of 1/2 orange – zumo de naranja
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla sugar – azucar de vanilla
  • chocolate for finishing – chocolate

Use kitchen robot to make whipped cream of the cream and the sugar. When the cream is nice and firm, add the cream cheese, orange juice and half of the orange zest. Stir until the cream cheese is fully mixed into the whipped cream.

Place the gelatin leafs into cold water and let them swell according to the instructions of the package – usually 5 minutes. Heat up 1 tablespoon of water to about 60 ºC/140 ºF and place the leafs on the warm water. Let the leafs fully melt.

Use a spoon and pour the gelatin liquid into the mixture while slowly stirring. Pour the mixture on top of the gingerbread bottom and use the spoon the make the top smooth and even. Place in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

On next day carefully remove the springform pan and finish the top with grated orange zest and shaved chocolate. You can use a cheese peeler for shaving. Place the cake in the fridge until served.

¡Buen provecho!