“Es begueren grans bocois de vinegre, finíssim al paladar, i es menjaren uns cocs amb cireres, amarats, sucosos, d’una gran força evocadora”
Joan Perucho – Les històries naturals: a very funny parody of vampire novels, published in Catalan in 1960 and which has been translated into Spanish, English, French, German, Italian, Hungarian and Chinese.
Joan Perucho landed in Gandesa in the spring of 1955. He was a judge by trade and always asked for destinations where there was not a lot of work, so he had time to enjoy life and especially food and drink, two hobbies of vital importance for him.
In the capital of Terra Alta he would spend more than 20 years, enough time to discover the most charming culinary customs and secrets of our region. So, in 1971 he published a cookbook with his friend Nestor Lujan, The Spanish Cookbook, which was translated into Japanese. This would be one of the first gastronomy books published in Spain.
Perucho, in addition to being a writer and poet, was a "bon vivant", he got excited finding out which were the most authentic cuisines that surrounded him and when someone wanted to win his sympathy, a good meal would be its most faithful ally.
Let me tell you an anecdote; It was the 1960s and Perucho had to go to France to visit Pablo Picasso. Years before, the painter had lived in Horta de Sant Joan, in the same region where Perucho lived. The writer was a lover of the cuisine of the Fonda Alcalá in the neighboring region of Matarraña. At the restaurant, partridges were made to lick your fingers and Perucho asked them to cook them and put them in a preserved jar to take them to France. When Picasso tried them, they transported him to his youth in Horta.
You already know that aromas and flavors have the ability to make us fly to the most hidden corners of our memory!
Linking with this story, I wanted to tell you how the name of our 100% Garnatxa Blanca wine La Imprudent was born. A couple of years ago, not counting the two of the pandemic that are irrelevant, I was lucky enough to attend the presentation of a nature guide in the Montseny Natural Park, specifically in Brull, the municipality where I live.
There I met the writer of the guide, Julià Guillamón. Coincidences of life, Julià, should have been the curator of the year Perucho and we quickly got excited thinking that someone so linked to gastronomy and wine, perhaps he would love to have a wine on his name.
A few months later, Julià sent me a story that he proposed as an apocryphal part of Joan Perucho's volume Botánica Oculta. The story in question had the title La Imprudent, one of the three stories that make up the little book Vi i benzina. The fable explains how, in a car race, one of the drivers goes off the road and gets entangled with the Imprudent. And it says like this; "What has not been known until very recently is that Nuvolari's delay in the Vilafranca circuit was due to the Imprudent, a plant that lives in the Penedès vineyards and is parasitic on the Garnatxa vines."
It is explained in the story that "At the last moment La Imprudent gets up and runs back to the vineyards." Like a weed, bloody and rooted, we feel the need to return to the land where we were born. The sense of belonging and being from that corner of the world that she calls us strongly, instinctively, at the last moment.