In general, in these reports on popular products that we are all passionate about and mobilize us in their search wherever we go, we recommend sites that we liked or that other gastronomic experts advise us. But if we have the opportunity to go and test them directly to a contest where they have already selected the best as finalists, then there we are going to taste and compare.
10 Spanish cheeses that are considered by experts among the best in the world
This is what happened to us First International Contest for the Elaboration of Patatas Bravas, Palencia Brava, organized by the gastronomic agitator Javier San Segundo, in which 18 finalists were shortlisted from among the 101 candidates who sent their recipes, with their corresponding photographs, from the most disparate countries on the planet.
All of them were challenged, with an impressive level, before a jury made up of Miguel Cobos, a chef from Burgos with a Michelin Star, Edu González, alias “Bravas Hunter”, an expert influencer in them or Paco Agúndez, owner of the La Mejillonera brewery in Palencia.
Also Jesús Almagro, Spanish Kitchen Champion in 2006, semifinalist in the television contest Top Chef; and Naumi Uemura, the first Spanish chef selected among the six finalists of the Washoku World Challenge of Japanese cuisine for its restaurants Uemura and Eguchi in Madrid.
And while they tasted, one by one, the preparations, we did the same to contrast criteria and extend the list of winners, which could only be seven, all lofty for different reasons. There are those chosen and three others that we believe deserved to win for their flavor and the complexity of the recipes.
The best bravas in the world are Bravas Cremosas de Alejandro, created by the son of chef José Luis Martínez, from Tavern and Media, in Madrid. The fluffy fritters made with sour potatoes are truly sublime, with a creamy texture on the inside and crunchy on the outside, with a delicate brava sauce and just the right point of spiciness, inspired by mojo picón.
The second place on the podium is held Marcos del Valle, from Gonzalo’s Inn, in Salamanca, with its subtle and pleasant brava sauce topped with bright yellow aioli foam on potato sticks, classic, well made and flawless.
He has earned third place in the world the Venezuelan Wilmer Saya, from Casa Diaz BCN, in Barcelona, with its strong sauces, brava and aioli, crowning a lifetime of potatoes with a perfect texture. The doses must be distributed well, yes, or it will be a brave death!
Special mention to the Basque chef Carlos Nuez, from Oquendo cafe restaurant Donostiarra, we thought it was very fair, because their Patatas Río Bravas, with all the intensity of the two types of chorizo used for the ketchup and vine mayonnaise coating the potatoes, were tremendous.
Other very fair prizes
The innovation award It can be worn, very deservedly, by Irene Garrido, at the Gastrobar KGB Malaga, for its Divorced Potatoes with two exquisite sauces, a green aioli and a red aioli with dried and spicy fresh chillies, which make you want to eat them by the spoonful, without potatoes underneath, although their mini size and texture make them irresistible.
The Palencia Food Award Javier Garcia Albuger, from Martina Restaurant, Because, despite being from La Mancha, from Albacete, he fills his wonderful Potato Hot Balls with a mass of cured Palencia cheese, although the sweet chili sauce with kimchi and gelburger and the sesame aioli are the most enjoyable.
The Award for Aesthetics It corresponds, by right, to the cocktail maker Óscar Solana, of La Solía Tavern, from Cantabria, for its Bloody Mary Cocktail with Potatoes. Yes, the potatoes go in the glass with the cocktail shaker next to it and you add the sauce of the legendary cocktail yourself but with a little ketchup so they don’t soften. Great.
Even if they didn’t get a prize, they deserved it
For originality, the highlight of the lamb flavor of the Bravas Lucito de Borja Pastor, from Lucio Asador Gastrobar from Palencia, it is sensational because it is variegated in the red sauce, which is finished off with a few spicy filaments sealed with a torch to give it that powerful addictive touch.
For the most sophisticated elaboration, the Bravas del Timón, by Alberto Villegas, from the Palencia restaurant San RemoThey also deserve a wave because the brava sauce is very curried with a mussel and red hot pepper broth, giving it a very intense flavor that enhances the fried potato in two temperatures, nuanced by a delicious Jack Daniels aioli.
For a perfect execution, you have to go and try those of Mario Fernández Arguelles, from TC28 Drink and Eat, in Mieres, Asturias, because apparently they look like traditional patatas bravas, but they are steamed potatoes with shichimi togarashi, whose brava sauce has onion, tomato, gochujang (a typical Korean fermented chili and soybean) and kimchi, and culminates with the contrast of an emulsion of chipotle chile mayonnaise and a smoke oil.
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