Olga Kotnowska — Barbecues are the kings of summer. As soon as temperatures rise, the dusty grills call like sirens on an island; their songs filled with the promise of endless get-togethers, cold drinks and mouth-watering aromas. Once again in Madrid, we met Elena and Ana Arce along with their friends, andblueyellow founders, Caroline Heredia Abernethy and Luis Montenegro. On a summer afternoon, they taught us that a barbecue is about patience and quality products. “The most important thing is to make sure the charcoal is well-heated, and for that you need three things: a few pieces of newspaper, time, and a dedicated cook!” Caroline explained, smiling at Luis, our appointed barbecue expert,“someone who is dedicated enough to their art to withstand Madrid’s 40°C temperatures in front of the sizzling coal!”

Summer Afternoon #2: Grilled Vegetables, Sausages and a Special Herb Sauce

Olga Kotnowska — We filled this summer afternoon with the kinds of pleasures a Sunday should be filled with: laughs, music, chit-chat, the smell of burning charcoal from the barbecue slowly crackling away out on the terrace, and creating recipes made of beautiful ingredients while learning the stories behind them. Together with previous FvF guests Elena and Ana – the authors of the Hermanas Arcë blog – we spent a lazy summer Sunday in the the kitchen of Caroline Heredia Abernethy and Luis Montenegro, the creators behind blueyellow, a food brand dedicated to a selection of exquisite herbs. Up to her usual experimental antics in the kitchen, Ana whipped out her own evolution of what was once a raspberry crostata while Caroline and Luis charmed us with the protagonists of their recipes and many of our conversations that afternoon: their herbs.

Summer Afternoon #1: Ginger Beer Mojitos with Floral Ice Cubes and Mascarpone Cream Berry Tart

Olga Kotnowska — From their beloved Madrid, the city that has witnessed them grow from girls into women, Elena and Ana tell a story that’s as much about sisterhood, friendship and love of cooking as it is about the intrinsic relationship between humans and food.

But most of all, they tell a story about cultivating a curiosity for one’s city. It is not too often that a grandparent’s piece of advice, however persisting, sticks. Elena and Ana’s grandparents lucked out, or perhaps they were especially convincing, for their mantra of “you should always stay together” has metamorphosed into the unique friendship that binds the two sisters. Elena and Ana – authors of the hermanas arcë blog– share clothes, jewelry and had their shoe sizes matched, their communal wardrobe would have extended to footwear. They have never lived apart. They agree on almost everything, and whenever there is any kind of dispute, fives minutes apart is enough time to smooth it all over.

The girls share many friends in common and by virtue of their culinary endeavors they are part of a large, international community. However, when the girls interact with one another, it is obvious that a silent yet strong peace exists between them; a profound understanding that comes only with those rare, life-long friendships.