As a Brit I recently revisited Spain after an absence of 24 years and I rediscovered the Spanish fare and must tell you I loved all I tried.
These are lovely little pastries and can contain a variety of bakery custards or creams. For the English speaker though it is an unfortunate name though as I didn’t find any wind problems as a result (well no more than is usual for me!)
Entrepans (between breads) a perfectly logical name for a sandwich! The English relates to some old Lord which really is not so logical!
In Tarragona I actually had a Patapans – this includes some potatoes between the bread hence ( I assume) the name from patates (potaoes). The one I had was delicious with peppers as well as patates.
Of course everywhere you go there are olives in all shapes, sizes and flavours – too many to count really but all “delicioso”. Go to the central food market in the town you stay in to get a huge choice – you can taste them before you buy too!
Each town (or areas in larger towns) has its central market that sells fresh food – Carne (meat) and Charuteria (Cooked meats) Pescaderos (fish) Verduras (green things = fruit and veg) and all these markets should be visited for the colour and life and buzz there. Why would you buy these things in a supermarket when you can get to choose from so many stall holders here. Oh and occasionally there are also places there selling pastries. But it seems that for bread people still prefer the panaderia in the locales as there were a few pastelerias (cake shops) in the market but I saw no bread sold in the one in Alicante (unless I missed it as there are SO MANY stalls there over 2 floors!).
For the sweet=toothed, there is a franchise/chain of cafes in Spain called Valor and they are CHOCOLATE heavens for those who love chocolate. Everything they sell is to do with chocolate.
I had my choice of hot or cold chocolate, flavoured chocolate (all in cups) with churros or without. Also they offered a range of other chocolatey sweets and ice-creams – dangerous if you are a chocoholic of course.
On the subject of food and eating – for a full meal the menu del Dia or del Plata (depending on whether Spanish or Castellan it seems) really cannot be beat. We could do with this more in the UK in healthy form. For a sum ranging from 6 Euros to 25 Euros, often depending on the area you select to eat in, you can usually get 2 or 3 courses with bread and a drink. Sometimes they offer coffee instead of desert but it is your choice and there is always a choice of at least 2 dishes per course – in Tarragona I actually had a varied choice of about 6 per course!
This is truly value for money and the best way to take a lunch or dinner unless you really only want a snack of course. Therefore now it is better value to go for a meal when hungry, particularly when on a budget as you can have enough in one meal so that you do not need to eat too often.
One thing to be aware of though – the SAME Menu del Dia offered in the evening can be more expensive than the daytime menu – I found this in Tarragona certainly. It probably is as a result of the preference of people to prefer to eat a main meal at dinner in Spain (whether on holiday or just the Spanish way I cannot say!)
Tapas of course used to be the small dish they gave you whenever you ordered a drink in a bar in Spain. Nothing major but when I first lived in the Andalucian area I spent many nights with a friend in a bar having drinks with no need to ever order food. Those days are gone but still the tapas live on with prices ranging from 3-4 Euros upwards – although the more expensive tapas do tend to be proportionally larger portions now. When I was in La Palma my friend and I ordered a dish of Pulpo (octopus) and the portion size was enough for 2 people really!! THAT was value for money I can tell you!
After a meal you will want a coffee many times and the regular expresso is only one of a choice. I love the Cafe Bob-bon (also called “cafe condensado” in other parts of Spain. It is an Expresso shot with condensed milk (so there is no need for sugar with this one!). In La Palma I had Baratitto which is the same thing again but you can order it either “con” (with\) or “sin” (without) a brandy (which they put into the coffee!). Yummy but dangerously addictive! LOL.
When it comes to alcohol Spain offers some great cocktails, as well as lovely wines and also beers at good prices but my drink of choice is a nice dry (Brut) Cava and you really cannot beat this if you like a bubbly drink. It is a great substitute for Prosecco or Champagne (obviously it is not wither of these but neither is it Asti Spumante (which to my mind is always too sweet). Just go easy on the amount and drink after you have eaten (or at the same time) as the heat will cause it to affect you faster than it does in colder climes. Oh and in Tarragona they reckon that Vermuth was invented there so I had one to remember my mum who use to love a “gin and It” – I had it without gin and it came with orange slice instead of lemon – lovely.
And as a side-line on restaurants and food/eating places, I still find it a brilliant idea to have paper tablecloths replenished each time a new customer takes over. Why we can’t do this more in the UK beats me.
Firstly, it is more hygienic and considering how “Elf & Safe Tea” conscious we are you would think it was established in law by now! LOL.
Secondly, we would then also be keeping more businesses going as the manufacturers of the paper tablecloths would benefit also. Mind you then we have the problem of recycling and do we really want to be wasting paper etc??
Maybe plastic tablecloths are preferable after all but the type they have in France or Spain that can be bought in the market from a roll in a variety of patterns and colours are far superior and classier than the tacky things we tend to stick on the tables in cafes in the UK.
But then again, maybe we really are not that classy a nation anymore with our reputation for lager louts, football hooligans and slappers!
One English couple I met in Alicante actually told me that they love Benidorm as it has something for everyone. According to them in Benidorm the Spanish use the classy part of the beach where obviously the better food will also be found. The other side of the beach with it Maccy D’s, KFC, etc was for the Brits! And that’s a Brit talking!