Ventosilla is rightly one of Spain’s most famous shoots. The Palace was built in the 15th century by the wealthily and powerful cardinals of Toledo as their private hunting estate, and their descendants own and run the estate to this day.
The team at Ventosilla hosts numerous days each year, with 50 drives that offer a wide selection of shooting from the more hectic Spanish style to the more towering English style of shooting. In 1884 Venosilla held Spain’s first ever driven partridge shoot in Spain, organised by the great-grandfather of Antonio Cavero who, like his father and grandfather in turn, now runs the shooting on the estate.
What’s the best – and worst – game dish you’ve ever eaten?
The best a raw buffalo heart, and the worst by far, a fox stew… Is there any game you don’t – or wouldn’t – eat? Probably not!
Spain has a long tradition of hunting and cooking with game. What’s your favourite traditional Spanish game dish?
Perdiz a la Toledana: Toledan style Partridge. Or the barbecue partridge which the brilliant Ant Brown of Allenhead’s has shared here, often served as elevenses on the moor.
And do you experiment in cooking with game?
I don’t, thank God. But we have a wonderful chef here at Ventosilla who produces many amazing partridge recipes throughout the year.
Name the best shooting property you’ve stayed in, and why.
In the UK, East Allenheads; and in Spain, El Lobillo, where the shooting and hospitality are both the best!
Tell us about your most memorable – not necessarily the best – day’s shooting.
My first driven partridge when I was 7 years old in Ventosilla.
You run a shoot. How do you ensure as much of your bag as possible enters the food chain?
We take very seriously the use and maximising of the bag, selling it to local game buyers. A different buyer every day of the week: 7 days, 7 different game buyers. Our partridges also go to restaurants and local markets. We guarantee the sale of all our partridges.
You are given a day’s shooting absolutely anywhere in the world, all expenses paid for you and seven guests. Where would you choose, with whom, and what would you eat and drink for lunch and dinner?
Ventosilla with my closest friends, having for lunch paella and oxtail ‘rabo de toro’ with Vega Sicilia Unico 81. For dinner, ‘angulas’ and turbot with Chateau Latour ’82.