Food is at the very heart of San Sebastian, and nowhere is that more evident than in its Old Town. Littered with tiny Basque restaurants, it’s one of the very best places to enjoy the region’s famous pintxos washed down with a glass of extravagantly poured txakoli.
Tinto de Verano
There’s an awful lot of red wine in Spain. That may be an obvious statement – one that didn’t really need saying – but combined with the burning heat of the Iberian Peninsula it does at least explain why the Spanish do so many different things with the stuff. A glass of good-quality Rioja always goes down a treat, but under the oppressive sun a few drops of sangria or Tinto de Verano can go a long way.
Spicy Chorizo and Tomato Pasta
Here we are again, yet another delicious recipe inspired by my trip to Spain. As you can tell, I have an exceptional capacity for eating anything remotely Iberian. Happily, this dish, like Patatas Revolconas, reminds one immediately of Spanish cuisine; the culprit in both recipes being paprika. I’m sure that I’ll eventually emerge, with my skin coloured a perfect shade of red and my aura pervaded by a spicy scent, from my love affair with paprika, but today is not that day.
One of the finest things about holidaying in Spain is the fact that tapas is served, free of charge, with almost any drink you buy. The larger and more expensive the drink, the better the tapas will be. Buy a couple of beers (cervezas) for €3 and you may find yourself with a small plate of jamón ibérico. However, indulge in a gin-tonic or slightly larger cerveza and a plate of paella or patatas revolconas may be discovered beside one’s chosen beverage. For a food-blogger, the prospect of being given free food with an already inexpensive drink is almost overwhelming, the only down side being that one may end up consuming a little too much alcohol… but who cares? It’s a holiday! So, if you wish to recreate the Spanish ideal of relaxing in the sun, drinking a little more than usual and eating delicious food, which for some inexplicable reason was free, it’s probably best that you make this. Though I refuse to be blamed for any side-effects that may arise as a result of such indulgence… you acted of your own volition.
There are a few stark differences between residing in Britain and living in Spain; the language isn’t the same; the summer in Spain is guaranteed (so much so that you could probably return your holiday to the Spanish government if it rained for more than a day); and the fresh produce is far cheaper, yet far better. To be fair that final point is tantamount to a sweeping generalisation, but unless one is actively willing to seek out superb tomatoes, fruits and vegetables in Britain one is likely to be disappointed. However, in Spain it is difficult not to stumble upon magnificent beef tomatoes the way they ought to be – large, colourful and ever so slightly cracked or split. To me there is little doubt that the reason behind this is the preposterous idea the supermarkets have that only food that looks and feels good is worthy of their shelves, despite the fact that these often haven’t finished growing or ripening. I say we do away with the waste and welcome what may not be considered first class produce into our supermarkets.