Button, Meana bring a taste of Spain to an Aspen audience

Chef Katie Button at her Saturday afternoon Food & Wine Classic seminar “Foods & Wines from Spain Presents: A Taste of Spain from a North Carolina Kitchen” that she presented with her husband and business partner, Felix Meana.

I was particularly excited to attend the Saturday afternoon seminar “Foods & Wines from Spain Presents: A Taste of Spain from a North Carolina Kitchen” for a few reasons: one, I’m originally from North Carolina, so any chance to be near a piece of home in the mountains of Colorado I get, I take it; two, Foods & Wines from Spain is one of the best tents at the Grand Tasting, so I know whatever seminar they are sponsoring, it’s going to be a good time.

Let me tell you now, I was not wrong in my choice to attend this seminar and it was indeed a good time.

Hosted by chef and restaurateur Katie Button and her partner, in life and business, Felix Meana, the seminar at the Hotel Jerome took the audience through four tapas and wine pairings that might just be some of the best bites I’ve enjoyed all weekend.

Button and Meana own and operate Cúrate Bar de Tapas and La Bodega by Cúrate, in Asheville, North Carolina.

Cúrate means take care of yourself, Meana said, but it was truly he and Button who took care of the audience, making us feel as if we were all hanging out in their family kitchen in the South.

While the Paleta Cinco Jotas – acorn-fed, 100% ibérico ham shoulder that Button recommended we let melt on our tongue to get the full flavor – paired with an Alvear Fino was the perfect way to start the seminar and help transport us to Spain, it was the second course that had my full attention.

The Montadito de Sobrasada was a house-made sobrasada (a type of sausage) with goat cheese, honey and chopped marcona almonds on a toast point paired with a cava.

To be honest, trying the cava on its own, I wasn’t as wowed as I thought I should be, but once I took a bite of the sobrasada and then took a sip of the cava, it was a completely different flavor and I was, not to over-hype it, kind of blown away. Now I understand why certain wines should be paired with a particular food.

The hour-long seminar flew by, and by the time we had our last glass of Spanish wine, final bite of piquillo peppers stuffed with goat cheese and “returned” to Aspen to go about our day, I was sad to say “Adios” to Button and Meana, but excited to say “I’ll see y’all soon,” as I’m already eager to visit Cúrate next time I’m home in North Carolina.

The Wines of Spain Tent during the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)