We are back in the kitchen after a very enjoyable summer break. Every year we look forward to going home to Catalunya, catching up with family and friends over long lunches, enjoying the long hot days and visiting our suppliers. We’re lucky to work with such great people, people who always strive to create quality wines and food year on year.

This year was somewhat of a treat for us, we had time to travel a little further and see more people. I’d like to share a fond memory with you of a truly enjoyable day in Vilafranca del Penedes, visiting the Mascaro winery & distillery. Mascaro’s story began six generations ago. The first bottles of the brand Mascaro were brought to market in 1946 by Narcis Mascaro : a Cava, a Brandy and an orange liqueur. Narcis’ son Antoni worked alongside him and in 1946 Antoni began to study Chemistry in Barcelona. He was a gifted man, this opportunity allowed him to study distilling in such depth that he soon became a master. Through Antoni’s work Mascaro earned themselves a magnificent reputation for their high quality artisan spirits, then In 1950 Antoni took over from his father. Antoni had a daughter Montserrat, she worked alongside her father, just as he had done ; she shares the same passion and master skill for distilling. In 1994 Antoni and Montserrat gave all their products a fresh image, then just 3 years later Antoni, for health reasons had to retire and Montserrat took the helm. Her expertise shines through in both their Cavas and their spirits, Narcis and Antoni’s legacy lives on.

What makes Mascaro special is their dedication to tradition yet with a modern twist. They will tell you that everything begins in the vineyard, all their grapes come from their own land, carefully looked after and nurtured. Their distillery is on their own premises in central Vilafranca, one of only 3 wine distilleries in Catalunya. They make Brandy, Gin (Oh the Gin!), orange liqueur and distilled cacao. Nothing is rushed, they age the base wine for a lengthy time in oak, then use the double distilling method (the same method used to make Cognac). By distilling twice the most delicate of aromas are captured. After the first distillation a spirit of about 28-30% abv is produced, and the second 70%. Their depth of knowledge about distilling is incredible, making it easy to understand why the Mascaro logo in Catalunya is an emblem of expertise and exceptional quality.

We were treated to a fantastic tasting session by Gemma Morato, Export Manager at Mascaro, we had time to taste all their excellent Cavas as well as the spirits. How could we come home empty handed? We could not. I’m very pleased to announce that Mascaro spirits are now available at La Cuina. The Gin, Mascaro Gin 9 is absolutely delicious! as is the orange liqueur.

What a day we had a Mascaro, and we welcome them warmly on-board working with La Cuina. We hope that you too will find delight as we did.