The Vermouth at Morro Fi – Barcelona
“Fem el vermut?” This is a question you will be asked frequently in Barcelona.
Vermouth is a fortified wine that starts life out as a white wine, to which brandy is added along with all manner of flavourings. The exact combination is the closely guarded secret of each brand even if it is only a small batch production made by a local bodega.
In Spain, vermouth is sweet and dark vermut negre in the Italian tradition. The dark colour comes from the caramel that is added to sweeten the drink. Originally it had medicinal purposes, the edible plants and herbs serving to aid the digestive tract. There is evidence that aromatized wines predate wines with remains found in ancient terracotta pots.
There has been a resurgence in the popularity of vermouth as a base for cocktails around the world but here in Barcelona we enjoy it in a squat glass with ice, a generous slice of orange and a fat green olive. The best time to have a vermouth is before lunch, to get the appetite going. Small salty snacks often accompany it, a little dish of anchovy stuffed olives, a packet of olive oil fried crisps torn open and then sloshed generously with a vinegared aperitivo sauce. There is one other essential accompaniment and that is friends. Vermouth is always enjoyed in a group.
Walk into any bar in the city and they will have Vermouth but one of my favourite places is Morro Fi. They started out with one bar serving their house vermouth and a few other select brands and now have 6 shops and counting. Each bar serves small plates. Simple but good ingredients, some hard cheese, a plate of anchovies. The shops have a simple, slightly industrial vibe going, with green chalkboards scrawled with specials. Besides making their own Vermouth, Morro Fi have their own crisp and canned goods.
If you are in the center town another great local off the beaten track in the neighbourhood of Fort Pienc is El Puestu which offers outdoor seating on a pedestrian street and a variety of small plates to accompany your drink.
The trick is to remember that the vermouth is the opening act and continue on to lunch.
I am the author and photographer of Foodie in Barcelona. A blog about restaurants and food in Barcelona. I moved to Barcelona 6 years ago from Berlin and before that I lived in London, Paris and Athens. I am a trained chef and have worked in the back and front of house, so not only do I love food, I know what it takes to make great food. I make it my mission to find the best this city has to offer and in so doing find out about the people that live here and the culture of this marvellous city.
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