The Spanish Pavilion greeted visitors with a structure inspired by a greenhouse concept, with a double nave evoking the equilibrium between innovation and tradition. The spaces were welcoming and offered some open-air sections, porticos lined with cork and detailing in esparto (a Mediterranean grass) and wood. On ground level, a floor made of dekton (an innovative surfacing), bearing an illustration of the tomato genome, greeted visitors at the beginning of their journey.
A chef’s suitcase filled up with Spain’s top quality products
The journey through the Pavilion began with a visual installation conceived by Antoni Miralda, representing the start of an imaginary chef’s journey as he selected the key ingredients of Spain’s culinary culture. The screen showed a wealth of the country’s gastronomic excellences, including olive oil, Iberian cured ham and fish, selected to represent a vast range of products. In order to stimulate reflection on the journeys which food makes before reaching the table, in the Language of Taste Room visitors began to follow the imaginary journey of a cook and his notebook. This journey outlined the food pyramid, the two Seas embracing the country, and a waterfall of olive oil, symbolizing the key food of the Mediterranean Diet, of which Spain is the world’s biggest producer and exporter. The itinerary continued by showing the health advantages of various Spanish food products, and the impact technological innovation is making on agriculture, such as the GPS systems used to control grazing herds. The Room devoted to distribution showed vivid images of the main markets in Madrid and Barcelona, and led on to the heart of the visit.
A culinary competition between mothers and star chefs
In a digital depiction of the equilibrium between the twin motors of Spanish cooking – the traditional family cooking performed by mothers and the innovation spearheaded by the new generation of prizewinning chefs – the next room contained an extremely large interactive table. The screens showed various typical Spanish recipes, such as bacalao (salted cod) or tortilla, cooked in quite different ways by a mother and by a young chef. Top Spanish chefs in the last few decades have contributed to a dramatic evolution of traditional Iberian cooking, not least through the use of new instruments in the kitchen, such as the Siphon. Tradition was also narrated by a presentation of the wines produced in 12 different regions, and their best combinations with Spanish dishes. The visit concluded with a room devoted to many different dishes on many different screens, and lyrical praise for the time spent on the ritual of eating together. Various recipes had their ingredients analyzed, and the journey ended with the chef’s suitcase being closed, with all his notes carefully stored inside.