Once upon a time in a far away land, a family sat down for dinner.
“Father,” cried the son, “I have worked hard in the fields all day and I am thirsty.”
“Father,” cried the daughter, “I have looked after the animals all day and I have helped prepare our meals. I am thirsty too.”
“Husband,” cried the wife, “l have been up since dawn supervising our lazy servant and making sure our household runs properly. I am extremely thirsty.”
The husband and father looked down the table at his family. He knew they had worked hard and that they deserved to taste some of the delicious wine he had just bought. He pulled out his porron and doled out the wine, pouring the appropriate amount directly into the mouth of each person.
Yes, I made this short story up. But the fact is that situations like the ones in this fable happened for centuries in Catalunya and the device referred to as the porron is still around and being used today. In fact, on my recent trip to Spain, my travelling partners and I were given one to use in a local restaurant in Penedès (a Spanish wine region located not far out of Barcelona).
You might be asking yourself, what is a porron anyway?
A porron is a drinking vessel for wine. It is such a lovely instrument that you really have to experience to believe it! This wine vessel has a bulb-like body with a handle and a long slender neck from which the wine pours out directly into ones mouth. It’s not used very much anymore, and the first time I saw one was at Bodegas Abadal where my team and I were shown the winery’s historical collection. It was there that I had the chance to try a wine porron for the first time – it’s an art to get that stream of wine into your mouth but with a few tries I managed!
You can imagine my surprise and delight when on another trip to Spain about six months later, I sat down at a local restaurant, ordered some wine and homemade food and a porron appeared on the table.
I couldn’t believe my eyes – I didn’t know until that time that porrons were still in use. I had assumed that they were relics of an age gone by because at that time the examples I had seen were in museums and in a few boutique wineries.
At this particular meal we of course all tried it – and yes, it takes a bit of practice but it makes for a fun way to drink wine (and for great conversation starter!) The wine you order goes into the porron and each person in the party takes turns directing the stream into their mouth. And if you really want to, you can use it as a decanter bottle and pour the wine into your glass, but where’s the fun with that?
I’ll never forget that lunch – the food was mouth-watering, the local residents came streaming in around 1:30 and everyone was using a Spanish wine porron.
What better way to create a lasting memory?