The best spanish food ever has to be Paella! The crispy golden base accompanied by the soft creamy middle is a combination of textures that I can’t get enough of. In Barcelona my Dad and I went on a hunt for a traditional Paella. After hunting through little spanish restaurants in a variety of side streets, we came across a bar that looked promising. But, it too didn’t make Paella. Much to our surprise, however, the chef ran out of his own restaurant and led us down another street to an old looking bar. And it was in that bar that Dad and I had our first experience of the famous Paella. From that moment onwards we were addicted!
Prosciutto with its soft chewy texture and its rich meaty flavour is one of my favourite things to eat. In a random market in Barcelona, just off La Rumbla, I found many of what I thought was my beloved prosciutto, hanging from the ceilings of delicatessens. But my ignorance was quickly uncovered when I discovered that it wasn’t prosciutto, it was Jamón, much the same as my beloved meat, but also very different. Its rich meaty flavour offered a sense of familiarity, but its firm and dense texture was something other than what I had known. It was even better than the glorious prosciutto! Yes, I said it! It was everything that I had secretly wished prosciutto to be – almost a jerky, but much tastier and much more delicate.
Almost every country is home to the American hot chips or fries, from Mcdonalds stores to local fried food stores, but Spain houses their own, unique version of the hot chip – Patatas Braves. This is a hot chip on steroids! Potato cut into rough shapes and deep fried until crisp and golden. They are then lathered with mayonnaise and hot chilli sauce – Heaven! every Tapas Bar in Spain will offer their own version of Bravas, from potatoes in almost a tomato soup, to crisp potatoes with the sauces drizzled on top. But either way, this tapas dish is so good!
These little jewels were to die for! Essentially it was a moist meatball coated in smooth mashed potato and then fried till crispy and golden. It was topped with the most creamy mayonnaise and spicy chilli sauce. Being brought up in a world where more ingredients meant more flavour, this spanish delicacy was far from familiar. But it was also a way of cooking that I aspire to follow. To be honest, a huge bowl of these babies in front of the telly on a friday night would be glorious! But, served in small portions as they were, I walked away with meatballs on my mind and a wonderful eating experience that I so want to re-create at home in Sydney.
Tapas 24 was not just amazing because of the food served, but it served up the best sangria I have come accross. Deep wide-mouthed glasses filled with cold, sweetened wine is my idea of a heavenly drink. It was my first experience of Sangria, and it was the best.
Sangria – My take on it:
1 bottle red wine
350 ml cranberry juice
The juice of two oranges
1/4 cup brandy
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Add all ingredients to a big jug and refrigerate for 24 hrs. Serve with ice cubes and orange slices.
Spain to me was a sort of bliss or haven, a paradise in amongst a European winter. Stepping off the plane, wrapped up like a bandage and expecting a hit of icy air perhaps displayed my ignorance to spain’s climate. An immense feeling of relief struck me when I realised that there was no icy air and no grey skies. In fact I quickly started to panic as I realised I had far to may layers of clothing on and I was beginning to sweat. But the longing to simply wear a t-shirt and jeans, the feeling that I had felt while stuck in my London hotel room, had become a reality. After checking into our hotel along La Rumbla, Barcelona, I quickly threw off the ridiculous amount of layers I had on and put on my new ‘I love Paris’ t-shirt and my recently-purchased blue jeans. I was ready to embrace this vibrant city and its warm air. But it wasn’t just the air that was warm, it was the people too. Walking the streets, smiles were passed on to us by strangers and children ran the streets of the city safely and parent-free. It truly was a haven. The first Tapas bar we went to was called Tapas 24 http://www.carlesabellan.es/ It embodied all the class of Spanish Tapas as well as the flavour. It is fair to say that it was of the best food experiences that I have ever had. It was a dining experience that would ignite our taste buds for the food journey they were about to endure.