Things

Inside Bea Pérez and Pepe Flórez’s Kitchen

1st June 2017

Interview: Killian Fox
Photographs: Mónica R. Goya

The Bodega Vidas winemakers pick out their favourite comfort food, a powerful local cheese and a great book of Asturian cooking

INGREDIENTS

Chosco
When we ask Pepe what his comfort food is, without hesitating he picks chosco – a local specialty consisting of pork neck and tongue, seasoned with pimento, garlic and salt, wrapped in tripe and air-dried before being cured. This also happens to be our main dish for lunch and we can report that it’s an intense but very satisfying eating experience.

Pitu de caleya
Asked what her favourite thing would be to cook on a day off, Bea replies: “I like to cook pitu.” This is the Asturian word for a free-range chicken aged for approximately one year. The best are said to live near train tracks: having to run away every time a train rushes by creates tastier meat. “When it’s a party at my parent’s home,” Bea goes on, “I make pitu for 30 people.”

Afuega’l Pitu »
Soon after we enter their kitchen, Bea and Pepe show us a local unpasteurised cow’s cheese with a weird name.
Bea: He has to explain to you the name of the cheese
Pepe: Pitu is a wild chicken, right? And afuega is when you can’t breathe [laughs]. The suffocating cheese.
Bea: They say it’s because they used to give a bit to the chicken. And when the chicken … [Bea makes a choked squawking noise], that meant the cheese was ready, because when it’s ripe it’s very intense. They do a spicy version with paprika.

BOOKS

Nuestra Cocina Asturias »
“This is Asturias cooking,” says Bea. “It’s a collection of famous Asturias cooks making traditional dishes: calamaris, frisuelos, fabada. The recipes are easy to make. I like this book very much.” She singles out a favourite recipe: Garbanzos con bacalao y espinacas a la manera de Oviedo (Chickpeas with salt cod and spinach in the Oviedo style).

What’s Cooking Indian, Shehzad Husain »
“When we were living in London, my friends in the lab were Indian and Pakistani. They cooked Indian food for us and I liked it, so one day, when I was with them in the supermarket, I said, ‘I’m going to buy this book and learn a bit more about Indian food.’” So that was the start of your Indian cooking career? “Yes,” Pepe replies, laughing, “a very successful one.”

Bite-sized Thai »
“In London, I had a friend from Thailand who didn’t speak English. My mates were laughing because we’d be chatting and I didn’t understand him and he didn’t understand me. But we had a very good relationship. He took me to a Thai restaurant and afterwards came over with this book. It turned out, when we met him in Bangkok on our honeymoon, that he was the vice president of the university of Bangkok. He turned up in an official car to take us out for dinner. I knew he was important but it was difficult to see that in Mile End.” – Pepe

El Vino de la Tierra de Cangas
This is a book produced by the local town hall that tells the history of the wines of Cangas. They didn’t contribute – it was published before they started making wines – but they like it because of the personal connection. “We are doing this thing now, so it means something to us,” says Bea.

Posted 1st June 2017

In Things

 

Interview: Killian Fox
Photographs: Mónica R. Goya

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