Spaniards are people who love to enjoy themselves, as all of us do! But, the Spaniards appear to eat and drink more than we do...mainly because the institution of the bar in SPAIN is closer to being a meeting hall than a gin mill! Spaniards meet each other, men, women, children, their friends, and their relatives all in the local bars.
In small towns in Spain, the only place to have coffee is at a bar. In others, the only place that sells ice cream cones is the bar in the central square. Hard liquor is available, but it is not drunk by most Spaniards. The bar in the central square of a small town will serve much more coffee than it does liquor... but surely more wine...vino...than anything.
The wine and beer that is served at a bar is usually accompanied by some bit of food, a small snack, a tapa. It even used to be a law in Spain that the barman was obliged to serve a tapa with each drink.
MAKE YOUR OWN TAPAS AND HAVE A WONDERFUL NIGHT AT HOME, SPANISH STYLE!
Start with the basic tapa like the following, skewered by a toothpick:
- Olive, cheese cube, chorizo, sausage, cucumber, hard-boiled egg slice
- Folded slice ham pierced by skewer along with a cube of cheese
- Cooked, breaded or fried shrimp, scallop or squid, or steamed mussel
- Half hard-boiled egg with olive and/or mayonnaise
Full dish items:
- Paella or rice with anything
- Russian salad (potato salad adding peas and carrots)
- Chicken wings, gizzards or hearts in sauce
- Salad of tomato, cucumber, green pepper, onion, in olive oil and vinegar
- Almost any leftovers in small quantities in pretty dishes
- Potato chips, salted nuts and pork rinds solo or with anchovies
- A chunk of "Tortilla Espanola"
And of course, there is SANGRIA... for a pleasant variation on wine. The recipe was given to us by a friend, an Augustinian monk in El Escorial, and it is still the best we've found so far.
- 4 cups Spanish red wine
- 3/4 cup Spanish brandy
- 1/2 cup Cointreau
- Juice of 3 lemons plus one sliced lemon with rind
- 2 oranges cut in thin slices with rind
- 3/4 cup pitted cherries (fresh or canned)
- 1 can orange soda pop
As the Spaniards say...BUENPROVECHO!!!
(Enjoy and digest well!!!)
(Look for our next FREE RECIPE!)