We’ve all got a drink that still makes us wince with the memory of an awful hangover – I’ve actually got several, and tequila is one of them. So when I was invited to a tequila-focused event at Bodega in Birmingham – on a Monday night – I was in two minds whether to go. It was the venue that swung it, not the tequila, I have to say. I’ve only been to Bodega once (travesty, I know), many years ago, and have been meaning to go back for ages but you know, life gets in the way and all that. So this would finally get me there. And, as it turned out, change my mind about tequila.
Wrath: Feel The Heat was the second of a series of events for bloggers organised by fellow blogger Brumderland at Bitters ‘n’ Twisted venues around the city. The first was Greed: Pure Ginious at the Jekyll and Hyde, and a stunning success, so this had a lot to live up to.
On Bennett’s Hill, Bodega has actually just celebrated its fifth birthday. Mention its name to most food or drink fans in Brum and they’ll say good stuff. It’s vibrant, fun and cool, offering South American food and drink. Oh, and 50 different types of tequila!
We headed downstairs to our little shindig, where we were greeted by a Margarita (always welcome on a Monday night) and Bodega’s manager who talked us through some of its great dishes before we tucked into them. First up were some vegetable tacos, light and tasty, with sweet potato, black beans and avocado. We also tried a mango salad. Sounds strange, yes, but the sweet mango fitted right in, along with a fruity yet piquant raspberry vinaigrette.
My favourite though, was the Xim Xim. I actually chose this dish in a restaurant a few months ago and was left sorely disappointed, but am pleased to say this was fab. Xim Xim originated in Africa, but a combination of Brazilian flavours and more sophistication over time has created the silky smooth, coconutty, spicy dish packed with peanuts, prawns and chicken. It came with Bodega’s dirty rice, dirty thanks to the addition of smoked paprika. The only problem with a buffet – feeling like you’ve got to be polite. I could seriously have eaten a bucket of this stuff.
It didn’t end there. For dessert we tried two of Bodega’s faves. Pastel de chocolate Pegajoso – an intense, rich, yet gluten free, piece of chocolate heaven. Its partner in dessert crime was white chocolate and mojito cheesecake. I’m sure each spoon of it took me one step closer to clogged arteries and an early death, but it was worth it.
After the food came the education part – not only were we fed several more cocktails, including a Caipirinha and a Mojito, but were given a handy run-through of the history of Tequila and its relative Mezcal – products of the distillation of the juice from the agave plant. While for most of us tequila is about salt, lemon, and a quick shot, there’s actually quite a bit more to it – demonstrated by the 50-strong selection of the stuff that Bodega offers.
We were encouraged to try to actually taste the tequila, something I have to confess I’ve never actually done, and was pleasantly surprised. As well as this, we learned a bit about Cachaca – Brazil’s national spirit made by distilling the fermented juice of the sugar cane. Both spirits date back hundreds of years, and I guess are as much a UK thing as anywhere else when you look at the popularity of Margaritas and Mojitos.
Best fact of the night? If you drink good quality enough tequila all night long, you won’t get a hangover. No, I didn’t test it, but it gives me an excuse to go back to Bodega and carry out an experiment. Watch this space….
I was invited to a bloggers’ evening at Bodega in Birmingham. The food and drink was complimentary.