Cochon: Where Chefs and Pig Lovers Unite

Cochon 555, the “epic” traveling food festival celebrating heritage pigs, rolled through the nation’s capital last Sunday.  Barcelona chefs Steve Brand and John Winchester were on hand to serve up delicious pork bites to the very hungry (and spirited) crowd.  Take a look at our recap below and be sure to check where Cochon is headed next!


 Roasted loin with cranberry beans char siu sauce and condiments.



The main event: fideos topped with BBQ pork belly and herbs.


Finishing touches from Sous Chef Andra Anom of Barcelona 14th Street!


See you next year!


(photography courtesy of: Troy Lilly)

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CT NOFA Conference Recap

The chefs of Barcelona believe in forging connections between the food we eat, the farmers that grow it, and the land it comes from.  This sensibility has long been a hallmark of the Barcelona identity.  We were honored to be a part of the NOFA Winter Conference, Connecticut’s largest food, agriculture, and sustainability conference held on Saturday, March 7th, at Western Connecticut State University.  Barcelona, along with seven other farm-to-table Connecticut restaurants, served up lunch in-between workshops on ecologically sound farming and gardening.

On the menu: slow-roasted porchetta from Westport, CT’s Speckled Rooster Farm and potatoes from Wilton, CT’s Ambler Farm.

photo 1Chef Darren Carbone of Barcelona Fairfield preparing the porchetta.

nofa5The delicious finishes product.

nofa1Farah, Matt, and Andy serving a group of hungry farmers in West Conn’s cafeteria.

nofa3 nofa4Can’t wait for next year!

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No, you’re not hallucinating.


overhead Written by: Emily Cipes, Operations and Training Manager

and Dan Hoagland, Bartender in West Hartford 

Ahhh, the green fairy, la fee verte, the wormwood angel.  A bright green liquor with an aroma that will be sure to put hair on your chest, absinthe has always had a bit of mystery surrounding it.   So how can you join the ranks of famous absinthe drinkers like Picasso, Van Gough, Oscar Wilde, and Ernest Hemmingway without a time machine?  Drink absinthe cocktails.

Absinthe’s main ingredients are fennel, green anise, and wormwood.  First, let’s clear the air… absinthe won’t make you hallucinate.  Yes, wormwood is a hallucinogen and was historically used as a medical elixir in the Nineteenth Century, but even a full bottle won’t have you seeing green.  And it is damn tasty.

When it comes to most things, absinthe cocktails included, we tend to think that simple is best.  You’ll find us doing the classics… no twists, no flairs, no maple-ginger- ]wasabi infusions.  Just really good ingredients, done the way they’ve always been done.

Here are some of the ways you’ll find us sipping absinthe on March 5th:

The Sazerac


New Orleans’ original cocktail and probably the most famous absinthe cocktail of them all.  The Sazerac has been done many different ways, and by many different folks.  We like to stick with a very classic preparation.  Put on your best NOLA accent and follow the directions carefully.

  1. Wash your rocks or coupe glass with absinthe, we’ll be using Vieux Pontarlier.  (Thrown in a splash and swirl it around until the whole glass is coated with a thin layer).
  2. In a pint glass add 1 sugar cube or 1 tablespoon sugar to the bottom of the glass, add 3 FULL dashes of Peychaud’s Bitters right on top of the sugar.
  3. Top with 2 oz. of your favorite whiskey, we recommend Buffalo Trace.
  4. Add ice to the tippy top of the pint glass and stir until the sugar dissolves.
  5. Strain the liquid of the pint glass into your absinthe rinsed glass.
  6. Garnish with an orange peel.

Death in the Afternoon

death by afternoon

A recipe commonly attributed to Ernest Hemmingway whose suggestion to “drink three to five of these slowly” is something we can get behind.  We plan on taking Mr. Hemmingway’s advice while reading the book this cocktail is named for.

  1. Put 1 oz. of absinthe in the bottom of a champagne flute.
  2. Top with ice cold bubbly.  We suggest Casa del Mar cava.
  3. Step back and watch while the absinthe turns the whole drink an opalescent white.
  4. Drink three to five…slowly.

Corpse Reviver #2

We’d love to take credit for something this good, but this cocktail has been popular with bartenders since the turn of the Twentieth Century.  It was originally designed as one of the first ever ‘hangover helpers.’  We’ll take this well balanced and refreshing cocktail over a Bloody Mary any day.

  1. In a small shaker tin add followed by ice.
  1. Execute your best Tom Cruise in ‘Cocktail’ impression and shake until the outside of the shaker becomes frosty.
  2. Strain into a martini glass.
  3. Garnish with a luxardo cherry

The Absinthe Drip

One of the most common ways to enjoy absinthe in its purist form.  The absinthe drip, which requires getting a little fancy with an absinthe fountain, is for the true connoisseur.

1.       Pour the 1.5 oz of absinthe into a glass.

2.       Fill the fountain with cold water.

3.       Place an absinthe spoon across the top of the glass.

4.       Put the sugar cube on the spoon and turn on the fountain so it drips onto the sugar. When the sugar cube has dissolved from the dripping your cocktail is ready to be enjoyed!

emily cipes


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Getting to know Speckled Rooster Farm


When Jess van Vlamertynghe isn’t tweaking menus or designing catering brochures, she’s running the Speckled Rooster Farm in Westport, CT.  Jess first honed her green-thumb as a student at UCONN where, along with boyfriend and farming partner Matt, she started a sustainable living community for students.  They came together around the idea that growing organic food through environmentally sustainable methods is a good, honest, and necessary endeavor that is worth fighting for. Jess and Matt sold their harvests to the University’s kitchen and helped to establish the Living Community on campus.  After she graduated in 2011, Jess found herself back in her hometown of Westport where she “the adventurer” and Matt “the dreamer” started Speckled Rooster.  On their four plus acres they produce a variety of vegetables (leafy greens and small roots) and raise laying hens and ducks for eggs, and rabbits, pigs, and chickens for meat.  Speckled Rooster is the number one purveyor of local pigs for Barcelona restaurants, and provides local Barcelona restaurants with summertime radishes, hearty greens, arugula, and eggplants. Thanks to an introduction from Farah, Barteca’s Forager and Purchasing Director, Jess now works in marketing’s art department.  She loves that through graphic design she’s able to blend artistic creativity with organizing information. The complexity of designing for a restaurant allows her to move from something technical, like editing training manuals, to more something creative, like sketching a French press coffee illustration for a tasting event.  Barcelona is fortunate to enjoy her Speckled Rooster wares and her design talent.

Guinea hogs, a smaller black breed of hogs that will soon be on the menu at barcelona restaurants.


Speckled Rooster also raises pigs that are a mixture of Hampshire, Duroc, and Landrace hogs.


A hen and her adopted duckling


A hearty greens mix, including kale, tatsoi, and red mustard.


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Top Ten Wine Buzz Words to Know!

By Eric Harris, Wine Steward Barcelona Wine Bar and Restaurant

As a sommelier, one of the most powerful tools I have is my words.  They help me to paint the picture and tell the story of each wine.   With words a wine professional can take a bottle of wine you may never have tasted it and give you a true sense of what it has to offer.  It is because these words are so important to us, that wine basically has its own language.  Sometimes when I’m talking to someone about a bottle of wine, I look up and realize they are looking at me as if I’m speaking in foreign tongues.  With that in mind I thought we’d discuss some of the most common descriptors or color words I come across on a daily basis.




“Funky”- This is a wine term used for wines with flavor and aroma profiles that may not be what we’re used to.   This may mean really dank barnyard notes in a Mencia, or the briny, nutty, oxidized  notes found in aged white Rioja’s.  I personally love this in a wine, because they offer a break from the usual and tend to be very intellectually stimulating.


“Fruity”- Fruity is a term that is often misconstrued with thoughts of a sweet wine.  Fruity does not necessarily mean that a wine is sweet, but rather the flavor profile is driven by a very strong fruit character.  A wine can be very fruity and dry.


“Spice”- There are two distinct types of spice in the wine world.  There is sweet spice, which is usually indicative of things like ginger, cinnamon, clove, anise, and other such flavors.  Then there is pepper spice which is more indicative of the heat of spice from hot peppers.


“Terroir”- This is a term used across the wine industry and is one of, if not the most, important concept in all of wine.  Terroir refers to the characteristics of the land where the grapes are grown that have a distinct impact on the flavors and qualities of the wine.  It is the reason a pinot noir from Oregon will taste different than a pinot noir from Chile.


“Bright”- Brightness refers to a wine that has really fresh fruit and acidity.  It can be used for both red wines and white wines alike.  These wines are light and lively.  They tend to be younger wines, but some wines can keep their bright flavors even with age.


“Oaky” – This is a word we hear thrown around a lot at Barcelona that can mean different things to different people.  Oak in a wine can present itself in a variety of ways including notes of sweet spice (cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, etc.), vanilla, smoke, cedar, caramel, toasted coconut, etc.  These flavors can depend on the type of oak used as well as the winemaking methods.


“Dry” – This for me is probably the most misconstrued word in the wine world.  Dry just means a lack of sugar.  People often try to attribute the flavors they have tasted to being dry, but it is just a lack of sugar.  A wine that is dry can be very fruity or not fruity.  It can be very earthy or not earthy.  It can be very tannic or not tannic.  This, like our desire to link fruity with sweet, is one of the seemingly hardest things for people just starting to learn wine to wrap their mind around.


“Creamy” – This term can refer to both flavors and texture.  It is associated with wines that have gone through malolactic fermentation.  This is a winemaking process that converts malic acid into lactic acids which tend to be rounder and less harsh.  This then presents with flavors of butter and cream, and a mouthfeel that is reminiscent of something creamy.  This word is most often attributed to white wines that have seen some oak aging.


“Jammy” – This is used to describe wines with big, bold, cooked fruit flavors.  They often remind me of preserves or the inside of a fruit pie.  Be careful when selecting a wine referred to as jammy as it can be referring to both dry style wines and wines with a little to a lot of sweetness.


“Minerality” – Minerality is a quality found in both white and red wines.  In white wines it often presents with flavors or aromas of limestone, wet rocks, and riverbeds.  In red wines it can present itself as the beautiful slate notes of Mencia.


These are just a few of the many words that are the language of wine.  Never be shy to tell your friends or local wine professionals that you have no idea what they’re talking about. Sometimes when we get carried away talking about wine  we are in a world of our own!

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