We journalists do not usually write articles in the first person, but in this case I think it is justified because in the first two editions of the Palencia Brava I went to cover the contest to write here the article about its winners and their recipes, respectively; and in this third edition I have had the honor of being invited as a member of the jury.
At the table, I was accompanied by other gastronomes such as Edu González, the influencer bravas hunter from @bravasbarcelona; Carlos Maldonado, distinguished chef with a Michelin Star in his Roots Restaurant, in Talavera la Reina, Toledo; Ricardo Temiño, owner and chef of The Factory Restaurant in Burgos, revelation chef from Spain at Madrid Fusión; and Noelia López, a young chef from Palencia from the recessthird prize of “Una de Bravas 2021”.
For all these reasons, I have privileged information to share with the readers of elDiario.es because not only was I able to test the 22 finalists for this September 2022, but I was also able to compare them with the dozens of previous candidates from all over Spain. On this occasion, in addition, even a chef from Ireland and another from Andorra participated.
In this report I give you my opinion about the winners, who deservedly took the prizes authorized by the organization, with Javier San Segundo at the helm. But also some that, for my palate, deserved to be on the podium, although they were discarded, simply because for some reason you have to discriminate.
The five winners
1.grandma bravas. When Isaac Montoya presented his crochet-lined bowl to justify his grandma bravas, we all knew that he was a great contender for the winner. The potato confit and fried to leave it soft inside and crispy on the outside, bathed in abundant liquid sauce, is to be eaten by the spoonful.
But, in addition, it has small pieces of torreznos and piparra, to administer yourself if you want more or less spicy. I literally had to beg them to take them off the table because I wanted to eat them all and I had more than a dozen left to try.
The secret? They carry some goat cheese. If you want to try the best bravas in the world in 2022, you have them in Paquita Marivi, in the center of Burgos. King’s Garden Street, 8.
Can a chef from the Philippines make the second best bravas in the world? Yes, his name is Philip Alinsunurin and he has been making them for years in Le Qualité Tascain Madrid.
In the bowl, four perfectly candied diced potatoes, to be soaked in the classic maragata sauce made with smoked sweet and sour paprika from Vallelongo and, on top, to add an innovative touch to the traditional Madrid recipe, a veil of acorn-fed Iberian pork jowls. A round mouthful of truth. Ponzano Street, 48, Madrid.
And third place goes to Javier García Albuger, from Martin’s restaurantin Albacete, whose bravas plated in a precious pepper created for the occasion by the ceramic potter Fran De Juan, are baptized as ‘Bravas Martina 3.0’ because, in previous years, the chef also won an award.
These battered potato balls are given another distinctive touch by the Manchego cheese that has been cured for more than 12 months, which blends with the rest of the sauces, enhancing the flavors and causing ecstasy in your mouth. Spain Avenue, 9, Albacete.
The trompe l’oeil by “Txingurri Bravo” rightfully won the award for the most innovative proposal. The supposed potato was so successful that I squeezed it to check its tenderness and it exploded like an eggshell, so I had to rescue the ingredients from my fingers to taste it…
And the taste was pure patata brava! Because Mitxel Suárez fills it with a creamy purée, with a smoked brava sauce and a roasted garlic alioli that you can try at the Borda Berri Grill located in Hueto Arriba, Alava. Calle Hueto Arriba-Oto Goien, 5.
The Special Mention of the jury and the award for aesthetics have gone to the young chef Pablo Hernández, cook of the Juan Luna Restaurant, in Ávila, with its ‘Brarvol, the tree of the bravas’. Why do we give you two awards?
Well, because, when the little tree arrived at the table, we suspected that this was not bravas but a display for a contest. But as I took down the chili-shaped and colored trompe l’oeil from the branches and walked it through the brava tomato sauce and kimchi aioli, located at the front of the tree, I closed my eyes and it tasted like manual brava, perfect, with the ideal texture and well balanced spiciness. A 2 for 1 in Palacio Street, 3, Muñogalindo, Ávila.
Víctor López won the Alimentos de Palencia award with his ‘Bravas La Chuleta’ because they are classic manual bravas with spicy brava sauce, without mayonnaise or aioli which, yes, personally, I missed it.
But we recognized the value that this young chef has maintained a traditional recipe of more than 40 years, remarkable for its flavor and because it is made with potatoes from Boedo-Ojeda. Meson La Chuleta. Union Street, 6, Guardo, Palencia.
My unclassified favorites
For the third consecutive year, presented TC28 Drink and Eat and, in two cans, he brought us the ‘Bravefingers’ which I loved because you could take the stick of crispy battered mashed potato with your fingers and dip it in an exquisite mixture of two sauces: the first, an onion base, gochujang, spicy paprika from La Vera and tomato; and the second, a chipotle chili emulsion.
I begged Mario Fernández Argüelles to keep them in his restaurant located in Mieres (Asturias) so that others can try them. Teodoro Cuesta Street, 28.
Another year, Alberto Villegas, from the restaurant sanremo in Palenciamade me fall in love with its forceful sauce based on paprika, various spices, Riojan joy, mascarpone, soy, rice vinegar and Sherry, among other ingredients.
A tasty and liquid base, to scoop up that crunchy potato ball by spoonfuls, suitable for coeliacs, with a dot of Jack Daniels aioli on top. Brasilia Avenue, 2.
The trompe l’oeil of churros by José Antonio Guerrero Juan, from the Gastrobar Flavorsof Valladolidbecause they spread the fried potato churros in their cup of ‘coffee’, where the brava sauce and the black garlic mayonnaise are hidden, very thick, with their fake sugar sprinkled on top, which is the chili pepper. Sidewalk Street of Recoletos s/n.
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