Trans-Iberian

Trans-Iberian

Covering everything from the major news of the week and burning social issues, to expat living and la vida local, EL PAÍS’ team of English-language bloggers offers its opinions, observations and analysis on Spain and beyond.

Sweet Sweet Burgers

Por: | 21 de octubre de 2011

Hamburgers 2

There’s no avoiding it: hamburgers are all the rage in Madrid right now. They pervade the menus of restaurants that range from the corner bar on my street to those of Michelin starred chefs. And while they seem to be everywhere, in my humble Midwestern opinion, the good ones are few and far between. Do I sound bitter?  I might. Years ago when I opened my restaurant in Madrid, I propositioned my partner to create a menu of ‘gourmet’ burgers and was promptly shot down. Alas, I could be a burger-baron right now – if only I’d had the gumption. Despite my shortcomings, I do consider myself to be rather an expert in this field, so imagine my shock upon tasting the surprising ‘hamburger’ made by chef Manu Jara at the Millesime Madrid gastronomic event, being held now (from October 19-21st) in the Casa de Campo.

The twist to this appealing slider, with its apparently juicy beef patty, slice of cheddar cheese, dab of ketchup and sesame seed bun, is that it’s actually a dessert. The ‘bun’ is made from artisanal brioche sprinkled with black sesame seeds and brown sugar, the ‘cheese’ from Andalusian oranges with a touch of mango and the ‘ketchup’ from fresh tomato jam infused with vanilla, while the burger itself is a chocolate (and I want to say Nutella) patty that is crunchy on the outside and soft and yielding within. And though I’m not much for sweets, the illusion of the savory hamburger is so great that I ate two of them, one right after the other, as if trying to make sense of it all.

Manu Jara’s workshop, Mas Que Postres, is located in the town of Mairena del Alcor in Seville. Born in France, where he completed his studies and began a career as a pastry chef, Jara eventually made his way to Spain. He spent five years as Head Pastry Chef at the Michelin star Restaurante Zalacaín in Madrid, among others, before moving to Seville over ten years ago. He now divides his time between teaching his trade, writing about it and creating these magical sweets, which are often as deceptive as they are delightful: a bar of soap made of chocolate and rice pudding, a tin of cheesecake that might be mistaken for a can of sardines, or a miniature jar of preserves that is actually a rum-soaked cake with pineapple jelly. And all the while, I just can’t stop dreaming about those burgers.

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Authors (Bloggers)

Chris Finnigan is a freelance journalist based in Barcelona. He writes for Barcelona Metropolitan and is a book reviewer and reader for The Barcelona Review. He is a graduate of the London School of Economics. You can find him on twitter @chrisjfinnigan

Ben Cardew is a freelance journalist, translator and teacher, now resident in Barcelona after growing up gracefully in Scotland via Norwich. He writes for The Guardian, the NME and The Quietus, among others, on everything from music to digital media. You can find him on Twitter @bencardew

Fiona Flores Watson is a freelance journalist, guide and translator who has lived in Seville since 2003, and has been a writer and editor for more than 20 years. She writes for the Guardian, Telegraph and Sunday Times Travel Magazine. Originally from Essex, Fiona is also Consulting Editor of Andalucia.com and has her own blog, Scribbler in Seville. She has been contributing to Trans-Iberian since 2014 and tweets at @Seville_Writer

Jeff Brodsky is a freelance writer. He arrived in Barcelona in 2013 via an admittedly indirect route, living in Chicago, Arizona, Seville, Amsterdam, North Carolina and Madrid. Despite not having stepped foot in Seville for over five years, he still speaks Spanish with an Andalusian accent. Jeff’s writing has been published in newspapers and magazines in America and Europe.

Koren Helbig is an Australian freelance journalist and blogger enjoying a life of near-eternal sunshine in Alicante. She writes for publications in Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom, focusing on stories exploring smart and positive approaches to social issues. She hangs out on Twitter at @KorenHelbig and keeps a selection of her favourite stories at korenhelbig.com.

Julie Pybus lives in a small off-grid house on a hillside in Catalunya. She usually focuses on helping charities and social enterprises with their publications and websites, but has also written for The Guardian, Country Living and The Observer. Julie launched and runs a hyperlocal website which endeavors to increase understanding between the different nationalities in her area perelloplus.com. @JuliePybus

Paul Louis Archer is a freelance photographer, multimedia storyteller and artist educator. A cross-disciplinary worker, who endeavors to encompass the mediums of photography, audio design and writing. Born in Hertfordshire of an English father and Spanish mother. Based in the United Kingdom. @PaulLouisArcher

Vicki McLeod is a freelance writer and photographer. She has lived in Mallorca since 2004. Vicki writes about her beloved island for The Majorca Daily Bulletin, the only daily English language paper in Spain; produces regular columns for the Euro Weekly News, and articles for Spain-Holiday.com. Vicki runs PR strategies for several businesses in Mallorca and London as well as working on her own blogs and projects. She and her husband, Oliver Neilson, supply photo and text content for private clients via @phoenixmediamlr. She tweets at @mcleod_vicki.

Born in Newcastle upon Tyne and based in Barcelona, Alx Phillips writes about contemporary art, dance and theatre in a way that human beings can understand. For more previews, reviews, interviews and extras, check: www.lookingfordrama.com.

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