Madrid Mania

“Madrid Mania” seemed the most appropriate way to name the roundup of activities I’ve been enjoying over the past ten days. Where else could I have wined-and-dined on a tapas hop around the city, listened to choice palabrotas in the Bernabéu, and sunk my teeth into an art gallery?

Fruvia, a mix of fruta + lluvia, was edible art!

First, I have to mention Gastrofestival. This city-wide homage to all things edible has been creating slick opportunities for exploring Madrid since January 19th. I imagine it has been a boon for restaurants in light of the latest economic woes, and la verdad is that there were so many enticing offerings that I wish this festival could have lasted longer.

Brandada de bacalao + good ‘ole Rioja red

Luckily, I had the chance to check out a handful of the tapas offerings, all of them at places that were new to me. One highlight was visiting Poncelet, a trendy cheese bar. I’d been wanting to check this place out for a while, so the specials made it the perfect time to go.


Another highlight was the Real Madrid vs. Getafe game, which took place last Sunday. I’m admittedly not much of a sports person, but when Andres invited me to the Bernabéu stadium I couldn’t say no. I’d never seen Real Madrid in action, and this is the one sports team where I actually recognize the names of the players. The first half of the game was pretty calm, but the second, with four–four!–goals, was anything but.


Our first Real Madrid match

Scarf spirit

A half-time photo-shoot


Earlier in the week I was invited to Recetas de comida al cubo_FOOD in 1m3, an edible art exhibition! The event was hosted by Espacio Trapézio, an art gallery in the Mercado de San Antón. This event was also part of the Gastrofestival, and it was a unique experience to admire and then actually eat artwork hung beneath the bright gallery lights.
Conservando el momento perecedero – Kelly Hurd
This piece by my friend Kelly was split into four stages, the finalized cookies being the last. On the opposite side of the structure were tiny bowls filled with every ingredient needed to complete the recipe.
This panel was a snapshot of the baking process
There were several other intriguing pieces of art on display such as:
Sustento de Laurel – Violeta Nicolás
This spicy work featured a bay leaf fried in a nutty, mango-based batter.
Las migas del pastor – Diego Cabrera
Migas, a dish based on breadcrumbs, got a boost after its sidekicks (lettuce, melon, and ham) are strung up like freshly-washed clothes.
Sueños rescatados – Pizpereta, Renegado
Folded Phyllo-dough sheets became boats floating toward a sea of mint and yogurt.
Fruvia – Gema Parreño, Julián Fernández
This sweet mobile gets props for its pun-y name, a mix of fruta + lluvia.
Dulces sueños – Marta de Inza
Who wouldn’t have sweet dreams in a chocolaty bed?
After about 20 minutes, when the visitors had had a good look around the gallery, we got to indulge in the art. An hour later, the winners were announced, and Kelly came in second place! The announcer joked that her piece was a hit, regardless, since many people had asked her for the recipe. Congrats, Kelly!

Kelly with her winning artwork
Here’s to more Madrid Mania in the following weeks!

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  1. The food/art gallery is such a cool idea! I’m sad I missed 5 days of the festival 🙁 I would have loved to have checked out more places!

  2. Cassandra

    I know! I wonder if Madrid will have another Gastrofestival next year…?

  3. That edible exhibit looks so awesome! How nice your friend got second place. Maybe I should suggest to my sister’s art gallery to have more exhibits like this–I would totally go more often if that were the case (though come to think of it, the exhibit wouldn’t last very long haha since it would all be eaten in a day!)

  4. Cassandra

    One of the prizes in the competition was to have a private tour of one of the judges’ art galleries–and this particular judge said that she specialized in edible art! I don’t have any idea how you maintain something this perishable, but it’s a cool idea.

  5. I would love to have a nap in the chocolate bed! I may just eat the pillow. Good call grabbing up the opportunities to eat during Gastrofestival, Poncelet is one of my fave Madrid spots.

  6. Cassandra

    Ha, napping in a chocolate bed sounds like something that would be offered at a funky resort or spa…

    Any recs as far as Poncelet goes? We ordered off of their tapas menu but I know they have a lot more to offer.

  7. It was good to see it in pictures after describing it to us yesterday.

  8. Cassandra

    Thanks for checking it out–it’s difficult to describe (or envision) some of this stuff!

  9. That Gastrofestival sounds really great! They had a similar thing in Philadelphia when I was a student there and it was a great way to get to a lot of places that you normally wouldn’t visit 🙂

  10. Gastrofestival is an interesting name! I really liked seeing the food sculptures from the art exhibit, especially your friend’s piece as well as the clouds!

  11. Cassandra

    Kristen, I bet you would have loved it! The artists had to first submit a proposal before being allowed to enter the competition, so all of the designs were top-notch. One of the prizes was to tour a similar food gallery, and my question was–“How do you keep up a food gallery?!”

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