It’s a truth universally acknowledged that a single travel writer totally not in possession of a good – or even slight – fortune must be in want of a decent drink. Several, seeing as you ask.
Toni Torelló, co-owner of Bodega Torelló – and, as it transpires, chief sampler and, as it also transpires, new favourite person – totally got that memo. Bodega Torelló, for those familiar with the world’s more salubrious booze aisles, makes bloody good wine. In particular Cava, for which Spain – actually, if we’re being pedantic, Catalonia – is renowned. Though today we’re here to sample a whole new type of sparkling wine, Corpinnat, which is destined to be the fizz on everyone’s lips, especially if we have anything to do with it. Because, not content with producing bloody good Cava, Toni Torelló decided to up the Cava ante and create a super-Cava, if you will. One where the quality threshold was so high it deserved a name of its own. Corpinnat. Remember it. Buy it. Impress your friends at dinner parties with it. Sod them and just down it yourself.
And it all started so well, the Corpinnat tasting, the sipping and that sucking thing they do and absolutely not spitting it out because we’re not animals and the fresh tapas and the tearing off the bread just so then dipping it in local olive oil and the bons mots that got even bonnier the more we didn’t spit it out. Oh, Toni.
And rolling with the homies down Bodega Torelló is just one of the foodie/drinkie things Almanac – among Barcelona’s most beauteous places to stay – will lay on for you if you ask nicely. Or book the Almanac Barcelona Foodie Package, which would make much more sense. What you’ll also get is a three-hour gastronomy tour of Barcelona led by a local foodie, in our case the charming Zaida – who, poor thing, got us lot straight from Bodega Torelló so rambunctious barely covers it – but we at least enjoyed the gastro with gusto. You’ll get up close and personal with local turrón, taste-test olive oils, visit food markets including The Boquería – which makes other markets look like a stall down Albert Square – washing it all down with beer as you go. And Santa Caterina, where you can get down and dirty with seasonal delicacies like calçots (think large spring onions, then dipped in Romesco sauce). Very Catalan, very messy, don’t wear your best whites. Then – twist our arms why don’t you – the grand finale, a private wine-tasting at one of Barcelona’s most renowned vintners. Don’t ask us the name; our notes look like a serial killer let loose on an Etch A Sketch. Zaida will know. (Oh, turns out Zaida does know. Vila Viniteca!)
What you’re also getting is dinner – lunch if you’d prefer – at Virens, Almanac’s signature restaurant. And what a signature! Plant-forward (which, in Barcelona, is remarkable in itself. While the plant-based scene is getting punchier, ‘You can have ham though?’ is not an uncommon response when you break it to them you’re vegan round these parts) Virens is a beauty in looks and in menu. Michelin-starred Rodrigo de la Calle is doing the do, and he will do your do however you like it. Because while Virens’ thing is plant-forward, some people still do apparently insist on fish (imagine!) or meat (even the pretty animals!), and who’s Rodrigo to argue. Us lot went fully halo-above-head vegan, which meant roasted cauliflower heart with black garlic aioli, carrot salmorejo (think gazpacho, more of a kick), white asparagus with black garlic demi-glace (they like their garlic. And who are we to argue?) and a good ol’ vegetable green curry. Oh, and shed loads of Corpinnat, because Almanac and Toni Torelló are besties.
And we’ve barely got to the loveliness and classiness and general deliciousness of Almanac, which is refined luxury from top to toe and back again. Up top is the Azimuth Rooftop Bar – among the best rooftop bars in Barcelona, even if we do say so – which becomes buzzier than a buzzy thing come sundown and, round the corner, the pool. Then it’s down to the rooms – unless you’ve got one of the penthouses, lucky you – which are crisp and chic and bright with bleached woods and cosy signature furniture with nods to mid-century modernism and marble bathrooms and local artworks peppered here, even there and, if you play your cards right (or just ask!) views of Gaudí masterpieces out there in Eixample, one of the grandest parts of town.
We like a good package when it comes to hotels. It’s like a gift with purchase down Selfridges Beauty Hall, only these gifts are actually useful. Exciting food discoveries, new friends over tapas, Romesco sauce all down that nice blouse of yours and a whole new fizz in your booze artillery. I mean, just wait until you start blaming it all on the Corpinnat!
The Almanac Barcelona Foodie Package costs €2,040 for two people and includes: a two night stay in an Almanac Room, breakfast, the Virens Wine Pairing Menu, a private tour of Bodega Torelló, a bespoke three-hour foodie tour of Barcelona and airport transfers to/from Almanac Barcelona.
For more information and to book visit almanachotels.com/barcelona/special-offers or call +34 93 0187000