Our Chocolate Indulgence recipe revealed!

In honor of January 27th’s National Chocolate Cake Day, we asked Chef Lucente of Greenwich to whip up one of Barcelona’s favorites – the Chocolate Hazelnut Indulgence.  Enjoy!




1 pound bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter

½ cup sugar, plus 1 to 2 tablespoon for the raspberries

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

¾ hazelnut praline paste of Nutella

6 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 pound bag of frozen unsweetened raspberries

2 pints vanilla ice cream


1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2) In the top of a double boiler set over simmering water on medium-high heat, melt the chocolate, butter, ½ cup sugar, and vanilla. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon. It will take 10 to 12 minutes for the chocolate to melt.  Whisk for 5 to 7 minutes longer, or until the butter and sugar melt and the mixture is incorporated.  Alternately, melt the chocolate, butter, sugar, and vanilla in the microwave.

3)  Remove the top of the double boiler from the heat and whisk in the hazelnut paste until blended. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time.

4) Spray eight 4-ounce aluminum foil baking cups (doubling them up is a good idea) or similar containers such as a ramekin with flavorless vegetable oil spray. Ladle the batter into the cups so that they are three-quarters full. Transfer the filled cups to a shallow baking pan or baking sheet and bake 30 to 35 minutes or until firm and the tops crack a little.

5) In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, puree the raspberries.  Sweeten with 1 or 2 tablespoons of sugar if desired. Strain the puree through a fine mesh sieve into a small bowl.

6) Spoon about ¼ cup of the raspberry puree into the center of each of 8 serving plates.

7) Run a dull kitchen knife around the cups to loosen the warm cakes. Invert them on the raspberry puree. Top each cake with vanilla ice cream and serve.




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Just Another Day at Work. . . in Spain!

From whirlwind vineyard tours to sampling Spanish delicacies, here’s a recap of Barteca’s October 2014 trip to Spain led by Wine and Spirits Director Gretchen Thomas and Culinary Director Adam Halberg!

Day 1: Madrid

Day 2 La Arodsa- Tortilla

La Ardosa is home to the best tortilla ever. “One of two styles I’ve encountered. Simple and rustic with a few ingredients  that combines to make something terrific. The tortilla at La Ardosa was a perfect example.” Brandon, GM in Barcelona Fairfield.

Day 2- Sala de DespieceSala de Despiece is a  new favorite place in Madrid. The restaurant is like dining inside a butchery, with creative and delicate tapas. Beef carpaccio with truffles, salt, and tomato pulp, wrapped it into a little bit size pocket, table side.

Day 2: Bodegas Mauro

Day 3- Bodegas Mauro 3Their private collection cellar, with Export Director Matthew Roberts giving us the tour.

Day 3- Bodegas Mauro 4 Day 3- Mauro

Matt (who missed the Liverpool vs. Madrid game to come out for gin and tonics) with Andrea.

Day 3: San Esteban

Day 4- San Esteban 2

Emery, Andrea, and Gretchen enjoying a glass of wine and the view with the winemaker, German Blanco.

Day 4- San Esteban 4

The Barcelona gang having dinner and being serenaded with the owners of San Esteban. These gentlemen have all known each other since childhood, when they were part of a regional music group of talented youth that traveled the country singing regional and national music. Now, they all have their own careers (surgeons, lawyers, etc) but have returned love of their small home village by creating San Esteban, a project to reclaim land that was once all covered in vineyards, and later devastated by economic failure, and turned into pine forests for the paper industry. They have re-planted about ten acres of land and have plans to expand. They hired German as the winemaker and main viticulturist, who is famous in the area for his micro winery, Quinta Milu. Barcelona started importing their wines 3 years ago, and we were their first customer outside of Spain! They love us, and always show us a gracious, and raucous good time.

Day 4- San Esteban

“This is what I Sundays to be at Barcelona; everyone sharing bottles and food and singing!” Emery, Manager in Barcelona West Hartford

Day 4: Palacio de Fefinanes

Day 5- Palacio de Fefinanes

A tour and tasting of the iconic winery followed by a delicious seafood lunch.

Day 5- Palacio de Fefinanes 3

Day 5- Palacio de Fefinanes 2 Day 5: La Boella and Barcelona Tapas Tour

Day 6- La Boella 2 Day 6- La Boella 3A tasting of their olive oils offerings –  this one pictured is the unfiltered.

Day 6- Xix bar

Xix Bar, the oldest gin bar in Barcelona, and one of our favorites for a world class gin and tonic.  On the Bar is a spread of their house-infused gins like cardamom and hibiscus!

Day 6: Barcelona

Day 7- Bar Mut

Final lunch at local chef hangout Paco Meralgo. 


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Brazilian Night Feijoada and Caipirinhas



Feijoada is a traditional Brazilian Saturday afternoon meal meant to be shared with friends and family. It is a stew made from cured pork and black beans, often accompanied by steamed rice, collard greens, and orange slices.

Black beans are native to South America, distinguishing the meal from others like it. Some say that Feijoada is to Brazil as Paella is to Spain. The origins of Feijoada differ depending on whom you ask. One popular version has the dish dating back to the 19th century when plantation workers in Brazil would combine beans with meat they salvaged from their master’s kitchen. Less-desirable cuts of pork, including the ears, snout, and feet, were traditionally used, though finer cuts of meat can be substituted in.

Interested in trying Feijoada? You’re in luck. Barcelona Inman Park is hosting a “Brazilian Night Feijoada and Caipirinhas” dinner at the end of this month. Enjoy a meal and some caipirinhas with us on Tuesday, January 27th at 7pm. $29 per person. Call the restaurant at 404.589.1010 to reserve your spot.

(Written by: Kim Schult)

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What Adam and Gretchen are Looking Forward to in 2015


gretchen and halberg

From traveling to exotic locales to experimenting with bold ingredients and trying new wines (there may be a fight over a certain bottle…) Gretchen and Adam share what they’re excited about in 2015.

gretchen jamon

Gretchen Thomas, Wine & Spirits Director  

1) I want to visit the Canary Islands to see the “crater hole” vineyards and to, of course, taste the wines.

2)  I’m ready to return to South America to visit my new imports from Uruguay and Chile – I haven’t been to South American in 4 years!

3) I’m hoping to take a trip to Spain with co-founders Andy Pforzheimer and Sasa Mahr-Batuz to introduce them to “Adam and Gretchen’s favorite restaurants and wineries” that they’ve never experienced.

4) I plan to start writing my first wine book on exploring Spanish wine and gastronomy.

5) I want to drink a bottle of Comando G ‘Las Umbrias’ and not share it. . .with anybody!

adam halberg

Adam Halberg, Culinary Director

1) I want to convince Gretchen to share some of that Comando G with me!

2) Fresh grilled Iberico pig meat! As soon as it gets released from customs, it will be in our hands and we shall convert the world to its taste.

3) I’m in talks with some crazy-talented chefs that may be joining the creative collaboration that is our chef team this year…can’t name names yet, but…

4) Ride the rotisserie! We’ve been spending some real quality time with the bartaco rotisseries and it’s made me a bit dizzy…oh, and I’m jazzed about new taco fillings.

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Gretchen’s Top 10 Wines of 2014

Spain Trip October 2014 077It’s been an intense year of traveling (I visited Spain five times!), tasting, and learning. And with our various locations in other Eastern US cities, I’ve been given the chance to taste limited wines that are exclusively available in their respective states, which, if anything, has reminded me that understanding wine is a giant task for those who don’t work in this field – because it’s a pretty large task for me, and I’ve been at it for 13 years. After spending so many years devoted to tasting and learning about wines, I can still be surprised, impressed, and sometimes completely blown away. There are always new (to me) grapes varieties, regions, farming and vinifying techniques, and I’m sure next year won’t disappoint me with a chance to discover something else unknown and worth it. Since I am closing up my 2014 tasting journals and looking forward to a new year of “explore-a-tasting,” I am sharing the 10 most striking wines I tasted for the first time in 2014.

                                                                                                                                                                                       Average Retail Price

2012 Garnacha Blanca, Blanc d’Orto, Flor – Montsant, Spain                                                                             $45
Garnacha Blanca is one of my favorite white wine grapes so this might be the top of the heap for me. It’s what I imagine liquid gold to taste like; round, minerally, soft and shiny. It is from biodynamically farmed grapes, and my first time trying it was last May with its proud farmers in Catalunya.

2011 Garnacha, Comando G, Las Umbrias – Madrid, Spain                                                                                 $90
This wine is as precocious as its makers, Daniel Jiminez-Landi and Fernando Garcia. Light color, delicate red fruit aromas, floral and leafy, with barely present tannins. Its subtlety redefines what Garnacha can achieve. From biodynamically farmed vineyards in Madrid, this wine is a superstar amongst overly extracted Spanish reds.

Spain Trip October 2014 185

2011 Riesling, Bechtold, Engelberg, Grand Cru – Alsace, France                                                                     $33
By no means new to the wine scene, but it was new to me this year. I think my first words after tasting this wine were, “come to mama.” This Riesling is ethereal, with seductive aromas, the right balance of acid and richness, and packed with umami. It’s undeniably tasty, and I wouldn’t trust someone who chose to dislike this wine.

1997 Viña Magaña, Reserva – Navarra, Spain  [ Merlot / Cabernet / Tempranillo / Syrah ]                              $88
Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon are not new flavors, but the vines for this wine come from Pomerol cuttings planted in the 1970’s, long before these grapes were popular in Spain. This wine was aged at the winery for 17 years before being sold to us this year! It is a magnificent expression of well-aged Bordeaux grapes, with dark fruit, tobacco, leather, and insane silkiness.

Spain Trip October 2014 257

Spain Trip October 2014 261

2013 Bodegas Ponce, Buena Pinta – Manchuela, Spain   [Moravia Agria/Garnacha]                                      $18
I visited Juan Antonio Ponce’s bodega for the first time last June, and it remains one of my favorite visits of the year. I am enamored with all of his wines, but this gem is my go-to out of the line-up. Delicate, light fruits, zesty, soft tannins, silky texture, and pinot noir-like. It’s like a white wine in a red wine’s body. 

2010 Monastrell, Elo – Yecla, Spain                                                                                                                                    $39
I have never tasted a monstrell like this. Generally, it’s a grape that produces Spanish wines of good, but often forgettable, quality. However this one, made using whole cluster fermentation in old oak barrels, achieves rare elegance, brightness, and old world charm. It’s undeniably tasty and very thought provoking.

Spain Trip October 2014 254

2007 Recaredo, Gran Reserva, Brut Nature – Penedes, Spain           [ Xarel-lo/Macabeo/Parellada ]       $32
It’s hard to summarize all the accolades of this producer, but here goes: certified biodynamic, hand riddled, hand disgorged, hand corked, long aged, no dosage, and breath-taking flavor depth. No one comes close to making Cava like Recaredo.

2010 Pinot Noir, Belle Pente, Belle Pente, Yamhill-Carlton – Willamette, Oregon                             $45
I don’t often get excited for New World wines, but when I tasted this Oregon zinger for the first time I was immediately drawn to it. Tasted it again six months later, and it still remains one of my favorite Pinot Noirs on the menu. It has a vibrancy of red fruit, smoky earth and spices that given its modest body, it is not a shy wine.

Spain Trip October 2014 251


Spain Trip October 2014 256

2013 Hondarribi Zuri, Maddy, Bizkaiko Txakolina – Pais Vasco, Spain                                                           $23
This was my new baby in 2014, discovered at the famous Alimentaria exhibition in Barcelona in March, and we received our first shipment into the US by June. This wine drinks like a young premier cru Chablis, with apple and stone fruit aromas, fresh acidity, and soft texture. Maddy will always be one of my proudest finds.

NV H. Billiot Fils, Rosé, Grand Cru, Brut – Champagne, France                  [ Pinot Noir / Chardonnay ]       $56
I love Champagne, and am lucky enough to taste a fair amount of it. When in search of a new rosé ,I was introduced to Billiot and am still mentally seduced by this wine every time I re-approach the topic of Champagne. The depth of color and red fruit qualities are gorgeous, and it has just the right amount of dosage to keep it playful and easy-drinking. And it’s Grand Cru for an unbelievable price, to boot. 



Gretchen Thomas, Wine and Spirits Director


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