I have always wanted to go to Spain ever since I could remember. There’s something so fascinating about the people, their culture and the place itself. Something so unique and yet also so familiar. After all, we Filipinos got so much of our history from them — our food, words, religion, and (for some) even mestizo features! They seeped right into our blood and lifestyles. I mean how could they not, they were here for 300 years…
Or maybe, I just really got influenced to love them Espanol because I grew up being such a huge fan of Marimar and Thalia. I was probably seven years old and shaking my hips copying the way Marimar danced (sexily) during the opening credits. Oh my. How inappropriate for kindergarten me.
But really, this post is about authentic food! I got the chance to go to Spain last year for the World Youth Day and it was one of the most unforgettable experiences ever. One thing crossed out of my bucket list. So let me take a stroll down memory lane while you have a scroll on my blog page!
You know the weekend markets we have here in Manila? The ones in Salcedo and Legazpi Villages? Yes, this is basically that. Stalls were lined with fresh food like fruits, vegetables, ham, etc. The sight was even more adorable because it was mostly the old townspeople selling. Cute grandpas and grandmas. (Europe really does have an ageing population…)
These pictures were taken in a town in Caceres, a province in the southern part of Spain. Our group was hosted by this community. Really, I left a part of my heart here. The people were like the fruits in the picture below, bursting with energy and color! And so, so generous.
If I’m not mistaken, I bought and ate my first persimmon from that pile. (To be honest, I’m not sure of the name of the fruit I ate! My bad.) Eating it was probably like how Snow White felt when she took a bite from the apple… So delicate and tempting. It was a huge, dark in color and very sweet. I held my fruit in a thin, clear plastic and its juices dripped into my arms and the plastic. I think it stained my fingers a darker shade of pink for a bit.
Meet Padre Jesus, one of the most endearing priests I have met in my life. He also looks SO much like Robbin Williams — only Spanish version. Up until now he messages me on Facebook and asks me how I am. He is really sweet and thoughtful.
So excited and hungry while waiting for the paella to finish cooking! It’s the REAL thing! Judging from the size of the paellera (and there’s two of them!) you can tell how many people it was going to feed. A fiesta indeed.
Delicious! Look at that, so moist. The ingredients weren’t scrimped on too which makes it all the more flavorful. This wasn’t my only serving, by the way. Had at least another!
In Spain, drinking is a regular activity for practically all of them. At night when we would go out after dinner, we’d see them in town bars — even the old people — talking and bonding over a few drinks and this would last till after midnight. Their lifestyle/schedule is very different from ours. Breakfast is 10, lunch at 2, siesta, dinner at 10.
On one of our World Youth Day activities where we camped out and waited for Pope Benedict, we were each given our own “foodie pack.” This is what it contained. This is food for an overnight and I swear, we couldn’t go hungry. It was so amazingly complete and the snacks were all yummy. See those cold cuts, that’s my favorite!! The saltiest jamon in the world and I didn’t get sick of it even if we ate it almost everyday there.
These random snapshots of the food I ate in Spain does not encapsulate at all what their food is really about. I am one day going back there primarily as a food trip. Literally. 🙂