All of our dishes had sherry in them, this being a sherry press trip and all. They also all had meat, so I made pretend food while everyone else made real food. The most amazing part of the experience is that I neither cut nor burned myself. Others were not so lucky during the flambe session. I focussed on my particular skill set, which is drinking alcohol rather than eating it.
Afterwards I took a walking tour of Jerez, which is a city with layers. Jerez has been conquered by the Romans, Goths, and Christians, and has had so many turnovers that there are classical, Arabic, and Gothic elements together on some buildings. There is the ancient, walled city, the old city, and the newer residential part. The outlying areas of Jerez are not so pretty but the downtown is a bunch of interconnected walking streets, public squares, and narrow streets.
That night was our grand finale dinner. It was held in the Palace of Time, a huge museum with clocks from the 17th-19th centuries. After a walk around to check out the clocks, we sat down for a great dinner followed by a flamenco performance. We stayed up until 3 in the morning afterwards talking and drinking sherry and brandy back at the hotel.
Visiting Jerez made me want to come back and see the other two cities that make up the central triangle of the sherry region. According to the book I've been reading each has its own traditions, even in the style of making sherry. This trip was enlightening, as sherry isn't an easy spirit to understand. (I'll try to share my info a little later.) But when I start nerding out on something, I really want to get up in there and learn everything. So I guess I'll have to visit the region again asap.
And then it was off to France...