I have had two more Spanish food culture experiences in the last 24 hours.
As I wrote yesterday just before leaving home, as part of the local neighbourhood fiestas, there was a Paella Party – and competition, as it turned out. My friends who were competing won Third Prize for Presentation – it was classic Paella, with large, juicy prawns, plump mussels and an abundance of squid and small cockles. The judges must have felt they had over-salted it, but I would rather have slightly too salty than bland – and it was, as my grandfather used to say, very tasty. (Actually my father has inherited that expression and I must confess to it slipping out occasionally too; then again I was always a bit of a ‘young fogey’ and I’m beginning to grow into the mould!)The best part of it, though was the whole ambience. It was another example of the joys of fully integrating into the local culture. I was one of a limited group of people allowed to actually eat the Paella – sitting cramped inside two long rows of tables in the street under the stars (well the few brighter ones visible within the city). Perfect temperature, perfect temperament, good company – and a couple of bottles of my favourite, artisan-made Cava (a bargain at €2.99 from my local deli).