At El Diset (formerly Disset 17 Graus) smooth Mallorcan sobrasada sausage meets honey and goat cheese atop a round of crunchy bread; baby arugula and pine nuts are sprinkled over the top in a combination of flavors and textures worthy of its own post. The marriage between honey’s natural, floral sweetness and paprika’s herbal depth and heat is truly divine; the ingredients complement and bring out the best in one another. Instead of masking any of its unique spice or zest, the honey fuses with the sobrasada and becomes the sweet, fresh accent in the flavor profile of the sausage. The honey’s thick, dense texture also adds a firm, glossy finish to each bite of loose, creamy meat. Tangy, cool goat cheese melts into this unison from above, adding a pungent kick to the thing. No fusion here. The cheese stands out in stark contrast to the rest of the flavors, balancing the deep, sticky, herbal qualities of the honey-sweetened sausage with its own tart, cool funk. The dry, peppery heat from the arugula and the toasty comfort of the pine nuts round everything out beautifully.
A rich, rustic, full-bodied Garnacha from Priorat is the perfect pairing, one that stands its ground against this crazy burst of flavors.
Lots of other things happen at El Diset, though; it’s not all about spicy sausage spreads, sticky honey and chèvre. It’s where I first met my boyfriend, where I brought both my mother and father (separately) when they visited Barcelona, where I once had a seemingly meaningful Christmas dinner with my old colleagues and an ex boss. The place is principally a Catalan wine bar, hosting weekly tastings with winemakers from the region. The selection is one of the most unique in the city, even boasting a wide range of the good stuff from Priorat, especially near and dear to my heart. That said, they stir up a mean gin and tonic, too. The menu consists of small plates to share, though the portions are quite generous, so 3 or 4 dishes is plenty for a couple. Each dish is as carefully assembled and creative as the sobrasada. There’s a roasted eggplant sandie and one with crumbly blood sausage. There’s also a perfectly juicy and smooth tenderloin (solomillo), one of my favorite preparations in Barcelona. The decor is warm and chic, the service efficient and friendly (especially for Barcelona). Located on a cozy side street off Passeig del Born, Diset is a bit removed from the craziness of that main thoroughfare, but close enough to stay relevant as an el Born institution. An awesome neighbourhood spot for a peaceful dinner, great food and the perfect glass of wine to match.