09 Jul Interview with Emiliano García, owner of the tavern “Casa Montaña” from Valencia
Emiliano García Domene runs one of the most emblematic establishments in the city of Valencia: Casa Montaña.
Original from 1836, it is an internationally recognized establishment by critics, and it is included in the best worldwide gastronomy, wine and travel guides.
Its merits: an excellent product, meticulous cooking and an outpouring of professionalism and history deep inside.
Your career is closely linked to Hotel Industry. What other experiences did you have in this area before taking the reins of Casa Montaña and converting it into the most traditional establishment in the city?
I started my adulthood by setting up a leisure place with three friends in El Carmen, a legendary neighborhood in the historical center of Valencia.
The success of that first experience encouraged me, once I finished my military, to start another hospitality business. This time it was in a cooperative system specialized in meats and it became the first restaurant in the city qualified as “two forks”.
After other establishments such as El Cresol or Barocco, both near the soccer stadium, I obtained, by public contest the exploitation of the cafeterias and the catering of different spaces among which was the Auditorio Municipal de Riba-Roja, the Casa de Cultura de la Eliana and even the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias de Valencia.
On the last stage before acquiring Casa Montaña I took care of the concerts bar tops of groups such as Mecano, Alejandro Sanz and El Último de la Fila …
And finally, the time comes when address all your energy, charisma and good work towards Casa Montaña, a historic winery that you managed to “update” with great respect for its uniqueness and the values of the Canyamelar neighborhood where it is located.
In addition to the excellent raw material, what are the ingredients that have turned it into a gastronomic temple?
Counting on a full of history 1836 space, the fact of living reconciled with the environment so that tradition and modernity coexist in perfect harmony, a great respect for the product and the producers, the professionalism and the hospitality provided by our human team…
But, above all, we are a space full of content that offers much more than good food: we hold seminars, tastings and meetings in which we launch a specific product joined by the producer as well so that an interesting dialogue is established that finalizes with a dinner around the mentioned product.
We also organize bimonthly gatherings on social interest topics such as universal justice with prominent national figures from all areas. Meetings that were born to defend the neighborhood and that have also served to return free speech to taverns.
And always all this with a good pairing (we have more than 500 references from around the world) because tavern and wine are fundamental in any good forum.
Undoubtedly, wine holds a privileged place in Casa Montaña but tell us where your passion for wines is born…
You are a very committed man. A rebel – but “with a cause” – who has actively participated in business associations, both local and national: member of the Executive Committee of the Hotel Business Federation of Valencia and President of Cafeterias and Bars, Vice-president of the Spanish Hospitality Federation, President of the Association of Maritime Merchants, Vice-president of Cepymev, supporter and member of the Étnor Foundation for ethics in businesses and in organizations and many more … Is spreading the culture of wine another of your motivations?
That’s right, one of my goals is to make wines around the world well known, with special attention to National and Valencian wines.
I try to contribute to the fact that wine starts to be considered as part of our culture and I understand that offering it by the glass at an affordable price is a way to “democratize” great wines.
On the other hand, I try to bring Casa Montaña closer to the sea day by day and not only do I refer to the products of our menu but also to enhance the maritime character of the neighborhood.
I intend that Casa Montaña is not an isolated event when it comes to combating the degradation that the Canyamelar area was suffering. Of course, all this without falling into gentrification.
In fact, your latest business adventure is also in this neighborhood that you love so much. Tell us, what is Barracart?
Barracart is the name of my last project through which, and with enormous respect for the neighborhood and for our culture, we have rehabilitated a building from the last century to offer a different touristic accommodation.
So, together with my partner, Olga Juhasz, we launched this initiative last year. Its name is made of the street where it is located, Calle de la Barraca and the term “Art”.
The brick walls, the mosaics, the wall paintings, the staircase and part of the furniture belong to the original house, so it recalls a large part of its essence.
Together with these, a library -with works in several languages- and a selection of photographs and paintings allow the guest to immerse themselves in our culture.
But what I really love is being able to offer the visitor a complete experience with tastings, guided tours, cooking workshops, theater … Activities that are concentrated both in the neighborhood and throughout the Valencian Community.
Casa Montaña has been one of the participating establishments “Valencia Culinary Meeting” last edition, a gastronomic festival in which nine well-known restaurants of the city prepared a menu proposal inviting different international chefs to share their cooking space.
In the case of the emblematic winery, the main course was a Corvina REX Stew with Aromatic Herbs and Leeks designed by Emiliano García in collaboration with the Lithuanian chefs Ernestas Viršilas and Tadas Eidukevičius.