CULTURE IN ANDALUCÍA
& COOKING ARTICLE
from the beautiful and varied landscape, the heat of
the andalucian sunshine and the passion of the people,
Andalucia is well known throughout the world as a very
social and friendly place especially when it comes to
enjoying food. Andalucia, the largest and southernmost
region of Spain is famous for its gastronomic culture
which involves long lazy lunches and many hours socialising
over a tapa.
is said that the andalucians and indeed the Spanish
eat more food than their European counterparts. This
may be true, but it is the manner in which the local
people approach their meals that is so special.
breakfast . . .
up is of course breakfast. However unlike the British
where breakfast traditionally involves a large fry up
or cereal topped with fruit followed by toast, the Spanish
breakfast is the smallest of the day. Usually the day
begins with a cup of tea or coffee or a glass of milk
or a batido (chocolate milk drink). This is often accompanied
by biscuits of some sort. In the 'desayuno' or breakfast
section of the supermarket you will find all manner
of biscuits from the healthy high in fibre ones to the
kid's varieties packed with calcium and chocolate for
true Spanish breakfast however is usually between 10
and 11am. Bars suddenly become full of people enjoying
a 'bocadillo' which is a large sandwich made with French
style bread. This is usually served with coffee, often
with a drop of the local liqueur or even a beer. It
is not uncommon, as you drive through the villages,
to see workers sitting around with their sarnies and
a communal bottle of beer which is passed round for
all to share.
from the bocadillo at mid morning, other traditional
Spanish breakfasts include bread or toast rubbed with
garlic or tomato a sprinkle of salt and olive oil. Then
there is the 'pan con tomate y jamon' which is bread
rubbed with a ripe tomato, thin slices of Serrano ham
and a drizzle of olive oil. As the Spanish don't usually
break for lunch until at least 2pm, this hearty mid
morning snack is essential to keep them going.
lunch . . .
Lunch is typically between 2 and 3pm but can go on until
at least 4 or 5pm. This is especially true in Andalucia
during the summer months as it really is too hot to
do anything much and lunch time is an opportunity to
have a good meal, get out of the sun and enjoy a siesta.
a Spaniard says 'medio dia' he is referring to midday
but here in Spain midday is not 12 o'clock but rather
2 o'clock as that is the midday break for lunch. Lunch
is the largest meal of the day and can involve many
courses, and not just for special occasions. There is
usually a salad, followed by a starter. Then comes the
main course with accompanying vegetables served separately.
Then you will have dessert, coffee and sometimes liqueurs.
Not surprising then that a long lunch break is required
and a siesta a necessity after all that eating. The
Spanish do enjoy a long walk after lunch and in cooler
weather you will see families and friends out for an
afternoon stroll to work off their large lunch.
lunch however, comes the famous 'tapa' tradition. Workers
on their way home will often stop off in a bar to enjoy
a drink and a chat with friends. This is the time when
the tapas are usually at their best and you can get
a little free sample of what is on offer for lunch in
the bar that day.
lunch and a siesta or a stroll, the working day usually
begins again at four or five depending on the type of
business. In some places shops don't open again until
at least six or even seven pm in the summer months.
It is not surprising then that dinner is a very late
affair. There are, however, plenty of opportunities
in between lunch and dinner to take advantage of a 'snack
break' to keep you going. After children finish school,
they often enjoy 'merienda' which is just a drink and
a biscuit. Then there is 'la hora del aperetivo' round
about 7 or 8pm and pre dinner tapas anytime between
7 and 9 pm.
dinner . . .
Due to the late lunch and seemingly constant snacking
in between, dinner doesn't usually happen before 9pm.
Although smaller than lunch, the Spanish evening meal
is still a social affair with the family sitting down
together. Dinner can consist of two or three courses,
or a bbq in the summer but sometimes it is just a yoghurt
and fruit or something light such as a bowl of rice
with vegetables or a bowl of soup. A light evening meal
or supper is often the case during the winter months
when children and parents have to get up early for school
and fiestas however can often mean dinner at 10 or 11
pm and that is just the start of the evening. The Spanish
are apparent night owls and young and old can be seen
taking to the streets well after midnight enjoying the
festivities or just frequenting the bars to chat and
be social with friends over a drink and a tapa of course!
mustn't forget of course the constant slicing of and
nibbling on the famous Serrano or Iberico ham throughout
the day whenever the mood takes you!
do wonder then, after so much food and drink is put
away each day, how the Spanish are not as big as houses.
The Spanish are very social people and enjoy a taste
of something here and a nibble there with friends and
family. Plus there is the healthy Mediterranean diet
of fresh fruit and vegetables with local fish and meat
produce accompanied by plenty of olive oil. It is the
quality of the food along with the social way in which
it is eaten that makes the gastronomic culture here
and written by Gayle Hartley
Copyright 2007 Orce Serrano Hams - www.orceserranohams.com
04 May 2007
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