There are times when it doesn’t matter what you eat, so much as where you eat.
If you are eating in a good place, and with good company, then one lamb chop is rarely all that much better than another.
La Caudalía (be careful with that accent) is such a place. Caudalía, or so the wall of the restaurant informs you when you walk inside, is a word that means the length of time the taste of wine remains in your mouth; which I’m sure you’ll agree is a lot more useful a system of measurement than inches, feet or even metres.
La Caudalía is located in a very special place, in the wine producing village of Fontanars, perched up in the mountains near Onteniente, in an area that has experience a renaissance in quality grape vine growing and wine producing in recent years, with a spectacular growth of quality wine makers.
Even more important, the restaurant is right opposite the Daniel Belda Bodega wine shop in the village and so is an inevitable place to cross the street to after you’ve filled up your car with essential supplies.
On the restaurant’s wine list you won’t find any Rioja or Duero nonsense; it’s all local wines in the closest sense of the word; Aforins every last man of them.
When I was there on the first day of February they were advertising boar hunting on a notice, and appreciating that I am genetically descended from hunters rather than berry gatherers, I did hesitate before slipping discretely into the restaurant, where the meat has long since had the bullets extracted.
This is admittedly a place for the carnivores among us, although the salads were generous, varied and quite colourful, and the desserts were sweet and puddingly.
The décor is modern, with a preference for white and a subtle intrusion of attractive photos, which are for sale. Again the themes are local, with sunflowers, sunsets and snow predominating.
The serviettes are a special treat, and I am always impressed to find philosophy waiting to wipe my mouth without having to yawn the deep yawn of reading about it in a book. Such phrases as ‘Prohibited Prohibit’ ‘Dream Corner’ and ‘Focus on being happy’ are essential in helping a
Fontanars is a weird place, tucked away in the mountains with such wide streets that you expect the Gunfight at the Ok Corral to take place at any minute, but it’s worth a visit to sample Belda’s wines and all the spin off ancillary trade that has sprung up around them.