(This post is long because it has lots of photos, lots of food — so if you’re busy right now, wait to read it till later, and then dive in!)
In Spain, people don’t even THINK about sitting down to eat until after 9 pm. Restaurants don’t begin to fill up until 10 and 11 in the evening. I would perish of hunger if I did that —
Actually Spanish people get hungry earlier too. They just don’t have dinner until really late. In the meantime they go out to their favorite bars for wine and tapas. What are tapas? They’re what we’d call snacks, or finger food, or canapés, little tidbits ranging from the simple, olives and almonds, to elaborate concoctions of meats and vegetables and sauces, but always in small raciones, or portions. Don’t want to spoil the appetite for the big dinner! At lunchtime also people often take the opportunity to check in at a favorite tapas bar for a few bites to tide them over until the midday meal.
(Which won’t prevent them from doing tapas again later. What is perhaps the most amazing thing about this glorious festival of eating is that Spanish people in general are not only not fat, they are lean and fit. It must be genetics. Or something in the water.)
One of the best restaurants in Northampton is — you were waiting for this, weren’t you? — is the tapas wine bar called Ibiza. We just discovered it last month and have been there twice since:
We went with granddaughter and boyfriend, a good thing to do, not just because the young people are fun to be with, but with four people you can order twice as many tapas and get to taste them all! Tapas are for sharing. So I’d like to share these with you:
Jamon Serrano: Imported Serrano Ham from Spain
Tortilla de Patatas y Chorizo: Spanish potato and onion omelette with chorizo sausage
Esparragos a la Plancha: grilled green asparagus with a Cabrales blue cheese sauce
Albondigas de la Abuela: Spanish veal and pork meatballs with potato, pepper, white wine and saffron broth
Lomo de Cerdo Embuchado: Marinated and grilled pork loin with Tetilla cheese, black olive, scallion, tomato and smoked Spanish paprika oil over Galician toast
Pimientos del Piquillo: Wood roasted piquillo peppers stuffed with oxtail
Costilla: Braised short ribs in a caramelized garlic and oatmeal beer sauce with smoked bacon potato purèe
Paquetitos de Callos con Chorizo y Garbanzos: Raviolis of chorizo, chickpeas, and tripe, with roasted red dry bell pepper sauce
Croquetas de Chocolate: Chocolate and almond croquettes with coconut foam and lemon gelatin
Torrija de Queso: Bread pudding with fresh cheese, dulce de leche ice cream and sweet and sour strawberry sauce
Frankly just looking at the photos makes me feel calories settling in on my hips but it was WONDERFUL. And if any of you are ever in Northampton, besides parking in the unique parking garage, and visiting the Forbes Library, and strolling through Look Park (see lots of previous posts), we can go together to Ibiza and pig out on tapas.
Let’s toast to the possibility with a favorite Spanish toast: Salud y pesetas y amor, y el tiempo para gustarlos!
And if your Spanish is a little rusty: Good health and money and love, and plenty of time to enjoy them!