'Koozies for Cava' by Kirstin Massmann

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This past week Chef Adam and I had the pleasure to be at The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Napa Valley for the annual Worlds of Flavor conference.  I have a feeling Adam and I will be writing blogs and sharing stories from this 5 day adventure for quite some time, but the first story is one of a cultural experience.
 After three days of traveling, lots of hard work, and a few late nights, I finally needed some caffeine on the morning of day four.  Because I don’t really drink coffee, I resorted to the refreshing taste of Diet Dr. Pepper to perk me up.  My hands were cold from the can, so in true southern-girl fashion I threw on a Koozie that I happened to find in my purse.
While trying out knives in the CIA gift shop, I noticed two gentlemen came over and picked up my Koozie-covered soda.  I began apologizing for leaving it on the counter until I realized they didn’t care about the drink but about the Koozie.  Arnau, a Raventos i Blanc wine rep from Barcelona, had never seen anything like a Koozie before.  I explained to him that Koozies keep your drink cold but your hand warm and that several companies use them for marketing.  He was so interested that I ended up letting him keep my Pioneer Plenish Koozie.
Later that afternoon, Arnau found our booth in the CIA and shared a part of his Spanish culture.  As a ‘thank you for the Koozie’ he brought me a glass of Raventos i Blanc Cava.  He explained to me that the founder of Raventos i Blanc was the man who officially differentiated Cava from other sparkling wines, just as Champagne is special to a specific region of France.  Needless to say it was well balanced and very refreshing!   
I still think I got the better end of the deal, but who’s to tell how much Arnau will use his new Koozie in Spain.  Either way, it was very neat to be able to share customs and cultures with someone else, even if it was something as simple as a Koozie.

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