Monday, September 12, 2011

Twisted Vagabondage Tale From Catalonia

They say there isn't anything that can't be cured by a warm shower. I say there isn't anything that can't be cured by pink champagne - el manjar de los dioses, the nectar of the gods. While I lived in Barcelona, I was able to benefit from the curative powers of pink champagne on a regular basis, sometimes a daily one. A bar that goes by the name of La Champagneria was located not too far from where I was living at the time. Here, pink champagne is served by the glass or (even better) the bottle, to be imbibed by los catalanes and foreigners alike.

The small, standing-room-only bar can be found on a sooty side street en route to Barceloneta, Barcelona's city beach. I have many memories of Barceloneta, some fond, others not so much. One recollection is getting my purse snatched while I sat on the beach one night. Instead of bemoaning the theft, I sprinted right after the culprit, yelling “Socorro! Socorro!” The thief almost outran me. Luckily, I had a lot of pink champagne in my system, so I persisted until he dropped the purse.

More memories? Sunbathing naked in the nudist part of Barceloneta, for which this beach is famous. Barceloneta is one of the only urban beaches in Europe with an “au natural” sector. Also, partying on Barceloneta into the wee hours at one of the many makeshift bars that dot the beach during summer months. The bars' only shortcoming is that they don't serve pink champagne. So, I always found myself back-stumbling to La Champagneria.

At La Champagneria, you're not allowed to just get soused on as much pink champagne as you want. You're required to order food as well, if you wanna get served the pink stuff. Hanging from the wooden rafters of the cavernous locale's high ceiling are the legs of many cured hams. I would regularly feast on slices of jamon served with pan amb tomaquet (a slice of baguette across which a tomato has been brushed), or fuet (a thin Catalan sausage made of pork meat in a pork gut). Beware Jews and Muslims! Plus, other meaty eats served at La Champagneria. Who can remember them all? All I sort of remember is the pink champagne.

To be specific, the “champagne” served at La Champagneria is not really champagne at all. It's cava, which is sparkling wine made in the Spanish region of Catalonia, where Barcelona is the capital. Still, keeping kosher with the champagne nom, only wines produced in the m├ęthod champenoise may be labeled cavas. Those produced by other processes are called vinos espumosos (sparkling wines). In the past, cava was even referred to as Spanish champagne. However, this is no longer permitted under European Union law. Ah, Europeans and their obsession with history with which we Americans have never been oppressed. Let our cups of cava runneth over, and let us live unfettered by memory.

Lara Sterling authors Twisted Vagabondage Tales for travelers who like it rough. She is prettier than Vagabonding author Rolf Potts (though Rolf is very pretty) and could kick his ass (though only if he'd like that). She has written for Playboy and Larry Flynt Publications but now hosts an online radio show and blogs at

1 comment:

  1. It shows how little that I drink that I had no idea there was such a thing like pink champagne.