If you’re looking for things to do in Madrid you won’t be easily disappointed. But if you fancy getting out of the city for the day or even couple of hours you can escape to one of the small nearby villages to experience local Spanish food in an authentic environment. We were invited to go to one of these unassuming villages to experience a “locally sourced” restaurant and the regional wines. I said, “wine?” Wine not?!
So we went to Casa Elena in the small village called Cabanas de la Sagra. It’s set neatly on the way to Toledo from Madrid making it great spot to stop and impress visiting friends and family.
Small town charm
Cabanas de la Sagra is that type of quiet, small village that makes you wonder whether you’ve taken the wrong highway exit. Out of seemingly nowhere you’ll find yourself in an enclosed terrace big enough for a party but small enough to be intimate and warm. It boasts a small herb garden in the entrance and lush green vines. The welcoming environment suggests that you are about to have a gastro experience.
Casa Elena greets visitors with charm. Every detail is carefully curated to make patrons feel warm and familiar with a touch of sophistication. The ambiance resonates intimacy and finesse. They even have a special “blind dining” experience in which guests reserve a group to dine in absolute darkness while servers lay out the courses with night vision goggles. Casa Elena is so confident in the quality and taste of their dishes that they are willing to remove the visual enticement.
The philosophy of the Food
Casa Elena’s philosophy is even more impressive than its ambiance. Casa Elena believes in making delicious traditional Spanish dishes with locally sourced ingredients. They follow the Slow Food philosophy, which carries a triple bottom line:
- Good food
- Environmentally clean production
- Fair prices to you and fair prices to producers. You can find out more about the Slow Food philosophy and Manifesto of Quality here.
While many restaurants claim to be about the local fare, Casa Elena showcased their local wine suppliers from the Toledo region. While Spain has world-class wine namely from the northern region La Rioja, many smaller wineries or “bodegas” are overlooked. Of all the things to do in Madrid, the region is not where you would expect to find a winery experience. At Casa Elena you have the opportunity to try wines with such a limited production you’ll never see it in the grocery stores in Madrid. These wineries uncover the local craftsmanship and passion for wine that is an essence of Spanish culture.
These small wineries play extra attention to details such as creative packaging. You don’t have to be an expert in wine or fein pretentious wine vocuabulary to enjoy it. Our favorite was a white wine simply called: Blanco. It was crisp, clean, fruity and so refreshing. It’s best served extremely cold. These wine distributors have a special relationship with Casa Elena as they share the same regional roots both literally and figuratively.
The attention to detail trickles down from owner Cesar Martin’s commitment to consumer experience. Everything about Casa Elena resonates the warmth of a loving Spanish home with the promise of a thoughtful gastro experience.
Of all the things to do in Madrid, this one is worth stepping out for. It’s a great place for a special occasion, an escape from the city, and a place to fall in love with Spain…again.
This is a short wine list of some of the local wine you can try at Casa Elena:
Cuevas de Santoyo (de Villanueva de Alcardete, Toledo)
Finca Las Caraballas (bodega ecológica en Medina del Campo, Valladolid)
Bodegas Muñoz (de Noblejas, Toledo)
Alonso Cuesta (Torre de Esteban Hambra, Toledo)
Vinos ¡Ea! de Manuel Manzaneque (Albacete)
Bodegas Canopy (Toledo)
Vallegarcia (Retuerta de Bullaque, Ciudad Real)
Bodegas Mano a Mano (Alhambra, Ciudad Real)
Bodega Dehesa de Carrizal (Retuerta de Bullaque, Ciudad Real)
Bodegas Más que Vinos (Cabañas de Yepes, Toledo
Owner Cesar throwing up the M with me for MuchBites Madrid!
Calle Nueva 15
Cabanas de la Sagra, Toledo
925 35 54 07