So guys…., this semester I’ve been able to do an internship where I essentially just try different types of wine and gourmet food (I get to put this on my resume??!!). I work at a gourmet wine and food shop in Alcalá called Las Esencias del Gourmet and a restaurant called Vinoteca Esencias del Gourmet, both owned by Javi. Javi is one of the coolest people ever. You’ll see why.
After a few weeks of working with Javi, I asked him how his business had come into place. He began telling me how his dream had always been to own a gourmet restaurant specialized in fine wine. Unfortunately, there didn’t exist a love and appreciation of wine in the culture of Alcalá. But Javi didn’t let this stop him….He actually saw this as an opportunity to CREATE a wine culture in Alcalá. So, that’s exactly what he did. He realized the way to do this was to first open up a gourmet wine and food shop in order to incite people’s interest and teach them about Spanish wine. In his shop, Javi learned the preferences of his customers so he could order what they like and also to expand their palate. After 8 years of cultivating a wine culture in Alcalá, Javi concluded that it was time to open up a restaurant!! Upon waking up on the 18th of June of 2016, he just decided it was the day to open up Vinoteca Esencias del Gourmet. So he took down the paper covering the windows of the restaurant and opened up that night. (He’s so cool, right?)
When asking Javi why he does what he does, you can tell he has so much passion and that his work brings him so much joy: “when you get to do what you want for your career, it’s something very satisfying. When someone tells you how good the wine and food is, it’s the most beautiful thing.” How cool is it that Javi loves what he does? That’s the way it should be. Javi inspires me to not let go of my dream of opening a Tex Mex restaurant in the Northeast. Sometimes the idea of opening up a restaurant and actually being successful in that seems extremely improbable, but Javi reminds me that pursuing the things that you are passionate about and that bring you happiness is always worth it.
A few things about Javi’s shop:
Javi has the world’s best jamón ibérico. Jamón ibérico is the most high quality jamón (“ham”) out there. At work, Shaan and I actually have actually had to watch multiple YouTube videos about the diet of these particular pigs and their lifestyle….But I’m not complaining because Javi let’s me eat slices of the jamón ibérico at work ☺. It’s actually his favorite thing now to tell people that I hate jamón ibérico just to see my reaction. I obviously get extremely offended because jamón ibérico is literally the greatest thing that’s every existed on this planet.
Here’s a picture of Javi holding his jamón ibérico. He jokes that they are his children.
This past weekend we went on a program trip led by Javi to La Rioja and Bilbao. It was essentially 3 days of wine tastings and eating awesome food. God bless Javi. On Friday night we went to a vineyard called Carlos Moros in La Rioja. It was absolutely stunning! At one point, they let us go in one of the vineyards and just eat as many grapes as we wanted!! I might have consumed 4 lbs. of grapes within 30 minutes….oops.
Here are some lovely pics of us at the vineyard ☺
All jokes aside, I’m very grateful to have interned with Javi. Who knows, he might very well be the hope and encouragement I need to help me stick to my dream of opening a restaurant ☺.