Pineapple and Hibiscus SangriaHibiscus-pineapple Sangria is a ruby red, bubbly and exotic tasting Sangria, perfect for those hot summer days. The flavor of hibiscus tea, for the ones that don’t know it yet, resembles cranberries juice, there is a certain bitterness to it. So usually you add some kind of sweetener to it and it turns it into a delicious juice. Hibiscus is the new “recommended infusion to lose weight, it also reduce high blood pressure, digestion problems, cholesterol, inflammatory problems and help out with the liver function.sangriapin

Pineapple and Hibiscus SangriaSangria is not a “one way only” dark red punch, it’s more of a method. There are as many sangria types as wine types or fruits… Sure we are used to see a dark red sangria with lemon wedges in it but there is no such thing as a one and only sangria. The sangria blanco, for example, is made with white wine and whatever fruit you feel like, with or without a touch of Brandy. The important element in sangria is to let the fruits you choose macerate into a liquid for 24 hours, also the wine is a basic element to sangria and the rest are extras (brandy, sugar, juice, soda, etc.)

I’ve done a similar sangria at the beginning of summer; mango-hibiscus Sangria. This new version has way more fruits in it and I’ve used a pink sparkling wine and pineapple juice. The pineapple in it brings you somewhere tropical, perfect for a pool party, a BBQ or any outdoor events. The sparkling wine makes it a touch more special and festive. I suggest you make a big batch of it, it will disappear quite fast… you’ll see.

Tropical Sangria with hibiscus and pineapple

Pineapple and Hibiscus SangriaIngredients
  • 500ml of hibiscus tea (infuse it 5 minute)
  • 1 bottle of sparkling rose wine (or white) (cava)
  • 1/4 of a pineapple cut into small cubes
  • 1 lime
  • 3 tbsp of sugar (or 150ml of pineapple juice)
  • 2 shots of Brandy
  • ice cubes
  1. Makes the hibiscus tea (add 3 tbsp of the flower leaves and let infuse in hot water for 5 minutes)
  2. Add the sugar and cool the tea at room temperature
  3. Add the cubes of pineapple and lime and let refrigerate overnight to 24 hours
  4. When ready to serve, add the brandy, ice cubes and the cold cava (sparkling wine)
  5. Turn gently and serve

Enjoy those hot summer days!

Pineapple and Hibiscus Sangria


Cava HugoThis is the “new” cool drink of the summer, already up, in Germany, and I’m spreading the good news here… Well the original version is from the north of
Italy and it contains prosecco, elderflower, lime and mint. In my Spanish version, I’ve used a nice Cava instead of prosecco, and it taste fantastic!

Cava HugoLast week we add some company over from Germany, and they told me about this drink. Which, they say, is everywhere in South Germany this spring. I already had some elderflower syrup in the fridge, since I am a big fan of those “Holunder Schorle” Austrian drinks, which is made of sparkling water and elderflower syrup. I couldn’t get enough of that simple drink!

This Hugo drink is light, elegant and bubbly, perfect for those hot summer days!

For the ones who doesn’t know the elderflower syrup it’s a deliciously perfumed, flowery and sweet flavour, it’s incomparable to any other syrup… the closest flavour I would say is maybe “Lychee” and if you end up finding a bottle somewhere in an European market, Elderflower syruponline or if you visit central Europe.. make sure to take some back home! Also be careful to choose wisely the bottle since many syrup are “diluted”, or artificially made, just make sure it’s directly made from the flowers. As for a elderflower syrup recipe… I think the flowers might be hard to get in some places, but if you happen to live in Central Europe and know where to pick them up, check this Elderflower syrup recipe. I’ll definitely try it some day. The flowers are blooming from May to June for those lucky guys living close by.

Ok… enough bla bla… let’s get that summer drink ready!

Spanish Hugo (Elderflower and Cava drink)

  • 1 bottle of Cava
  • 1 tbsp of elderflower syrup in each glass
  • mint
  • lime slice
  • ice cubes
  1. Simply pour the cava over 1 tbsp of elderflower syrup, mint and lime and voilà!

That’s the ultimate way to start summer! Enjoy!

Cava Hugo

Sangria de Hibiscus

Summer is almost here… it’s time for outdoor fun, it’s time for a refreshing Sangria! Here is a slightly different one, a healthier version from the traditional red wine sangria. It’s the Hibiscus Sangria with mango, mandarin and lime slices and Cava (sparkling wine), to make it extra bubbly!

I’ve seen a recipe not long ago of “agua de Jamaica”, a simple juice made of infusing hibiscus leaves and sugar then cool it. The picture looked so yummy, and I thought, those flower are so pretty… they must taste pretty good too. Well, I found some hibiscus leaves in the market, tried as a simple tea… without any sugar… wasn’t tasty like they looked…  I was shocked by how unpleasant taste that infusion had… then I had little stevia (natural sugar)  and cooled it overnight. Wow the difference it make with a bit of sugar sometimes… It went from 0 to hero drink!

Sangria de HibiscusHibiscus leaves have many health benefits, it help control your blood pressure, by lowering the LDL and increase the HDL which means; it helps your heart stay strong. Also, it’s used in many diets because of its great properties of helping to keep the weight off, it’s a good inflammatory and diuretic, even help to increase your man’s libido, etc.  End of story: it’ s a magic flower! We should all get to know better “hibiscus” in other words. So this is my number one, healthier factor in this Sangria and also, I add instead of red wine a “Cava” sparkling wine (Spain but could be any Sparkling wine) which cuts the amount of calories.

The sangria preparation isn’t one easy one, if you do it the right way… It takes a maceration time of your fruits first, which means you’ll have to plan to make it ahead. Back in college, living with 4 roommates, I use to make a big Sangria every year to celebrate the beginning of summer. Which is a big deal in Canada… I would do it in a big salad bowl with lots of fruits like oranges, lemon, peaches etc. Now that, I am living in Sangria land… I have to keep the tradition going. This year, it’s the year of the “Healthy Hibiscus Sangria” version and it’s delicious!

Let’s summer start!

Hibiscus Sangria with mango, orange and lime

Make a big punch bowl (1 1/2 litre)

Sangria de HibiscusIngredients
  • 1 bottle of Cava (or sparkling wine of your choice)
  • 600ml + (100ml for ice cubes) of infused hibiscus leaves water (Add like 6 tbsp of leaves to make 700ml)
  • 3 tbsp sugar (or 2 tbsp of stevia for healthier result)
  • 1 mango sliced
  • 2 mandarins slices
  • 2 limes slices
  • 4 tbsp of Grand Marnier (or Triple Sec, Cointreau or Curacao)
  • *optional extra sparkling water if you like it bubbly
  1. Infuse the hibiscus leaves for 5 minutes and add the sugar while it’s still hot
  2. Cool the infusion (Make some ice cubes with 100ml of the infusion)
  3. Wash and cut into slices all the fruits
  4. Add the fruits to the hibiscus infusion, cover and refrigerate for 12-24 hours
  5. Add the Grand-Marnier, the cold Cava (sparkling wine) and ice cubes to the cold infusion
  6. Mix and serve

Serve with the hibiscus ice cubes and a few pieces of fruits! Enjoy!

Pasta Marinera

Marinera Mussels (Mejillones Marinera) is, usually, a typical dish in Spain. It simply combines 2 of the best things on earth: Pasta and Marinera Mussels cooked in sparkling wine. More precisely: Cava, a Spanish sparkling wine, but it could be replace by any type of sparkling wines. This touch makes the dish even more dreamy and bubbly! The natural sea broth coming out from the mussels flowing down the cava tomato sauce is disturbingly addictive.marinerapin

Pasta MarineraIn Spain, there is a myth about: “should marinera sauce contain tomatoes or not?” I would say half does it with paprika and wine the other half with tomato and wine. Both ways are fine, I, personnaly, prefer with tomatoes especially since it’s served on pasta. The original marinera sauce use an onion, but I’ve changed it for simple fresh chives in the end of preparation. The chive gives a nice contrasting color to the dish and an extra spicy bite to it.

Mussels are great, they are naturally filled with flavour, in particular, the natural sea broth they bring with them is so tasty. You’ll have to be careful not to bring the sand they might hide in their shells into the sauce. So the first step should be, when arriving home with your freshly bought mussels to clean then under cold water to get rid of the impurities. You can keep them in the fridge or eat them right away, mussels live a few days in the fridge in a bowl with a wet cloth on top. The best place for them in the fridge is in the back. This way, they will be happy as clams… well.. mussels. When you are ready to cook them just clean the “beard” off , scrub them, and rinse them under cold water again. If they still particularly sandy, just soak them in cold water before using them, so they breath, then mix it up, they will release the extra sand.

Let’s get those mussels cleaned up!

Pasta Marinera al Cava

Makes 4 portions

  • 500g pasta of your choice
  • 30 mussels (more or less)
  • 250ml (1cup) cava, or white wine
  • 400g of grinded tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic clove finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp thyme
  • 2 tbsp chives finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp flat leaf parsley
  • salt and pepper
  1. Debeared and wash (cold water) your mussels
  2. Add the oil, thyme, garlic, pepper then the wine and tomato to a big pan and reduce for about 10 minutes
  3. During that time cook your pasta
  4. Add the mussels to the cava-tomato sauce, cover it up, let cook about 4 minutes until the mussels open up
  5. Add the parsley and chives
  6. Serve the sauce and mussels on the pasta with an extra sprinkle of parsley, salt and pepper

Serve with the leftover of bubbly Cava. Enjoy!