Get ready for the road trip of a lifetime — From the seaside cliffs of Mallorca to the bustling tapas bars and majestic museums of Barcelona, this is the ultimate road trip across Spain. Academy Award®-winning actress Gwyne... more »th Paltrow, celebrity chef Mario Batali, celebrated author Mark Bittman (How to Cook Everything), and Spanish actress Claudia Bassols embark on a ten-week tour of a country at the forefront of the culinary and cultural worlds. Each episode finds the four in a new locale, from learning how Cava is made in Catalunya to meeting the famed pigs of Salamanca, as they steadily reveal the undiscovered delights of a country brimming with gastronomic and aesthetic treasures.
DVD Features: Deleted Scenes; Filmmaker Audio Commentary; Behind the Scenes
Stills from Spain?on the Road Again (Click for larger image)
Q&A with Mario Batali
? How did the show come about?
Charlie and I have been talking about doing something together for a while and we both love spain intensely. Gwyneth came in as we were closing in on production skeds and it just worked out perfectly.
? How is this more than a cooking show?
It is more about travel and the fun we had along the way than any traditional dump and stir. Some shows we do not even cook, although we always eat.
? What did you enjoy most about this project?
Hanging in Spain with the cooks and winemakers as well as Gwyneth, who is a great eater and lover of culture. The day to day making of tv was simple and relaxed and every night we had a nice dinner and stayed in nice places. It was kind of like a little vacation that happened to be made into a tv show.
? How does Spanish cooking differ from Italian?
Your heritage is Italian but you have spent time in Spain. Do you try to incorporate both styles for certain recipes? Both styles of food love olive oil and seasonal produce. Spain has its rice dishes and Italy has pasta. We use all of the Spanish influence at Casa Mono and the rest of my joints are Italian.
? What were some of the differences between each region?
It is all based on the intensity of the sun, as it is in the rest of the world. In the south there are sweeter fruits and more intensely flavored dishes, often fried.... in the north things are cooked longer and slower and the flavors are often more complex but also muted.
? For Americans who consider themselves familiar with Spanish cuisine, what would surprise them about food in Spain?
The incredible regional variation is always a surprise for Americans travelling anywhere who had previously considered a national cuisine to exist.
? What surprised you about food in Spain?
I think the shellfish and killer wine of Galicia was the most surprising. I simply had not experienced that corner as much as the rest of the Iberian Peninsula.
? If someone goes to Spain, is there one ?must try? food?
JAMON, CROQUETAS AND FIDEOS
? Do you have any future shows planned for different countries?
We are working on an Italian show idea and a South American one, too.
? In the show, Gwyneth Paltrow mentioned the possibilities of writing a cookbook. Do you have any plans of future projects with her?
She is in the middle of her first cookbook right now and we are always planning something together - probably the Italy show is our next collaboration that the public will hear about.
? What are you doing now?
I am working on the Mario Batali Foundation which is intended to raise awareness of and money for children?s hunger relief, literacy and children?s disease research to help guarantee that each child is well fed, well read and well cared for. Children are the future and need the opportunity to thrive so that they are prepared for the challenges we are developing for them thru our mistakes now.
Map of Spain?on the Road Again
(courtesy of Quentin Bacon)
Exclusive Recipe from Spain?on the Road Again (courtesy of www.spainontheroadagain.com)
Gypsy Potage (Serves 6)
Two 14-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil 2 garlic cloves, peeled 1/2 large Spanish onion, cut into small dice Scant 1 cup tomato puree 2 tablespoons sweet pimentón (Spanish smoked paprika) Pinch of saffron threads 1 pound baby spinach 2 tablespoons finely chopped Italian parsley 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds 1 1/2 pounds skin-on, boneless bacalao (salt cod), soaked in water for 3 days (change the water twice a day) 5 cups water
Put the chickpeas into a large heavy pot, add 2 cups cold water, and bring to a simmer. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the garlic cloves and cook until they are just beginning to color. Add 1 garlic clove to the chickpeas, and reserve the other. Add the onions to the skillet and cook until softened and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the tomato puree and pimentón and cook for about 5 minutes, until the tomato puree is slightly reduced. Add the onion mixture to the chickpeas (add a bit of the chickpea liquid to the skillet to help get all the onion and tomato mixture?don't waste a bit!), then add the saffron. Add the spinach, stirring until it wilts. Using a mortar and pestle, mash the reserved garlic clove, the parsley, and cumin to a paste. Add the paste to the soup, along with the bacalao, breaking it into large pieces. Add the remaining 3 cups water, bring to a rolling boil and cook for 10 minutes. Taste for salt and add it if necessary, then turn off the heat, cover, and let stand for about 10 minutes before serving.« less
As Woody Allen said: "What I wouldn't give for a large sock
APC Reviews | USA | 07/14/2009
(1 out of 5 stars)
""Spain...On the Road Again" answers the question that did not need to be asked: "What if we made an ELEVEN (11) hour version of 'Sideways', except instead of having two guys driving around California wine country with two beautiful girls, one blonde and elegant one dark and lively, we instead had them drive around Spain?" Oh, and what if instead of it being poignant, funny, endearing, touching and frequently hilarious it was instead self-indulgent, meandering, contrived, aimless and annoying? Oh, and rather than them driving around in a charming old Saab junker while eating and drinking in merely very nice restaurants and wineries they instead drove around in a $100,000 Mercedes convertible while eating in only the very best restaurants? And, oh yeah, another difference, they could also endlessly express vague, meandering opinions that, while displaying a lot of experience with wealthy celeb status consumption, were witless and consistently betrayed a Cliff Notes knowledge of the world around them.
Gwyneth Paltrow is rather touching in a vague, beautiful soccer mom kind of way, although the voyeurism of getting to see her in "real" life wears thin after a short while, and Mario Batali is just being Mario. Claudia Bassols, the Catalan actress pulled in to give Paltrow a gal pal on the trip, is charming and bravely bears her thankless task of escorting Mark Bittman, the food and wine writer from the New York Times. Bittman, the major flaw in the "casting" of this magnum homage to shallow self importance, may have thought that he was channeling a toxic know it all version of Thomas Haden Church's character from "Sideways". But mostly he brings to mind Woody Allen's line from"Annie Hall" when, trapped behind a pontificating self-anointed film "expert" while waiting on line he says "What I wouldn't give for a large sock with horse manure in it!" My feeling exactly. But instead all I had was the remote to turn off this interminable journey of wandering Hamptons-ites.
Bittman embodies the sort of top of the food chain, know it all, been everywhere and eaten everything, toxic, New York foodie snob behavior that is so insufferable to those who have made their lives outside the realm of Manhattan and Long Island. To every simple joy embraced by others he brings the sulphur if his self regard and baseball card collection of past facts, travels and meals. Whatever you are doing, whatever you are, whatever joy fills your life, it's just another catalog entry for Bittman. He is a one man de-joying machine, relating everything he encounters to other similar catalog entries in his collection of past snobistic experiences. The program could have featured just Mario, who we know can cook and has an at least entertaining ego, with Paltrow, who is lovely and kind of endearing in her not terribly bright but aristocratic self absorption, and cut the whole thing to "just" three hours, mostly of cooking and foods, and it would have been a decent program. As it is, you are being asked to be bear being trapped with these people on a VERY long vacation, from which there is only one escape, the eject button. "
Spain: Not Just Tapas, People!
Bodhisatva Baby | Sparks, NV United States | 11/23/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm nearly going blind watching this show as our antenna does not pick up PBS very well, but I am still addicted! Don't be fooled by the title "Spain". Yes, this takes place in Spain, but it is very much in the format of Mark Bittman's culinary explorations around the world, also aired on PBS. Bittman is a brilliant, self-abasing, mildly abusive food critic for the New York Times, & he is one of the four travelers on this sorta wacky foodie expedition across Spain. No, it's not an insider's Spanish travel guide (though a Spanish actress does join them & offer some bizarre dieting advice), but you're never meant to think it is. They do take some side trips away from food & mussels eaten straight out of the ocean (& wine, so much wine) to do interesting things one can only do in Spain. But mostly it's about eating in Spain & talking about eating in Spain. It might remind you of a college road trip, only with far more fascinating people & a better car (a convertible Mercedes, whereas mine was a Ford Tempo constantly on the verge of dying). Also the food is much better than your college road trips, but the conversation just as meandering & nonsensical & fun. I cannot wait until this comes out on DVD so I can actually see the food & the countryside! Pathetic, yes, I know. I didn't even like Gwyneth Paltrow before I saw this show, & now I think she's just charming & would love to scarf down a paella pan & a plate of french fries with her. We would also need some of that fantastic Spanish wine they keep raving about, & Mark Bittman to make dry assertions, Mario to wax poetic about EVERYTHING, & Claudia to tell us that olive oil cannot possibly make us fat."
Don't listen to the one star guy.....
Stefano | California | 11/29/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This series is a travelouge not a documentry. It's primary aim is to entertain and explore, albeit on a cursory level, some of the fine cuisine Spain has to offer. I think the guy who gave this series one star should tune into National Geographic. There he can get just the facts.
I suggest purchasing this series if you enjoy a more casual, entertaining and relaxed way of learning a few things Spain."
A huge letdown
I Love NY | New York City | 12/29/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I had such high hopes for this series. The ingredients looked wonderful. I've really liked previous TV work by Batali and Bittman. Spain is one of my all-time favorite destinations, so I even bought a new DVR just so that I could catch every episode when it ran on PBS. Well, the DVR came in handy as I ended up doing some fast-forwarding once I got used to the episode structure. Holy cow it was dull! The banter between the four was irritating and appeared forced. I guess Mercedes Benz expected a lot of camera time, having provided a couple of high end cars for the show. We ended up with extended shots of the cars being driven around Spain at really slow speeds.
Anthony Bourdain is the king of food travel TV, and if you caught his Spain episode, you will get far more out of his one hour show than you will get out of the 13 hours of this hugely disappointing durge."
Zachary | catalunya | 08/15/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)
"In the New York school of culinary hobnobbing, making unfunny and self-referential commentary about oneself and one's self-indulgent foodie experiences passes for polite behavior. When it's done under the guise of a "road trip" (in a Mercedes no less) it curiously fans the unrequited travel fantasies of homebound and monolingual Americans. I won't argue that the glitterati here don't know their stuff--they certainly do, and for that they get an extra star--but the blatant supplication to a demographic who doesn't bat an eye at dropping $8,000 on an international eating tour is nausea-inducing.
I am immensely relieved however that the majority of Spain's culinary treasures--including about 90% of the best wine on earth--will remain in Spain due to draconian import taxes levied by the US. All the better for those of us who live here and get it for a fraction of what these guys paid."