Pa amb tomàquet tonight

This evening my eldest son surprised me by making his version of pa amb tomàquet (bread with tomato rubbed onto it, an olive oil drizzle, then seasoned) on the eve of the highly-charged and contentious Catalunyan referendum. He was hungry. We enjoyed this in Cambrils in the summer, but first tasted it Andalucían-style (tostada con tomate y … More Pa amb tomàquet tonight

Lovely Luffa

Last year my naive experiment of growing a luffa plant (in the relative cool of Kent) from a seed shaped in the sunshine of sub-Saharan Africa, came to a leaf-withered, sorry-looking nothing (despite having survived a nasty accident with a bike). I was sad. After receiving a lesson in luffas from Bettie in Malawi, I had planted … More Lovely Luffa

No Pizza in Tivissa

A perilously narrow road wraps its way tightly round steep mountain curves. Our car breathes with relief at every turn taken, then we brace ourselves for the next one. Higher and deeper inland we go, into the countryside behind Catalunya’s Costa Daurada. It’s a beautiful drive on this hot summer’s day. But it’s (Spanish) lunchtime … More No Pizza in Tivissa

Aliens Take on (Spanish) Wine

Wine Tourism Spain’s brief: to explore the possible relationship between wine and extraterrestrial life. How would aliens react to wine? Would wine play a role in the way that aliens perceive Earth?  It’s tricky, a little off-piste for me (with a 500 word limit), but here you go … Aliens Take on (Spanish) Wine Two aliens observe the Salamanca scene – … More Aliens Take on (Spanish) Wine

Music in Málaga

This was not my small child, but every passerby was charmed by her (and the music). She refused to leave the busker, who played beautifully and almost tenderly for his new biggest fan. Soon they both had an audience. Her parents beckoned her onwards in vain – so eventually her father returned to grab her hand, tugging it … More Music in Málaga

No Paella in Valencia

It’s not all about paella in Valencia – arroz (rice) can be rustled up a hundred different ways. And Paella Valenciana will be adapted to suit the season and region – and kitchen. But we eat none of it, much to our surprise. Because we stop in these places instead: Bodega Casa Montaña (for the ultimate classic tapas) Ubik Café (for a bit of … More No Paella in Valencia

Café Sant Jaume

It’s a good feeling when you stumble upon a travel gem without even trying. Café Sant Jaume is our small find in the old quarter of El Carmen – only later do I read of its enviable reputation as one of Valencia’s best bars. On the café terrace in the late winter evening, people sip cocktails, cervezas and wine. We step … More Café Sant Jaume

Bodega Casa Montaña

Bodega Casa Montaña has achieved legendary status in legion guides and little black books. Many proclaim it to be Valencia’s top tapas bar, and it’s certainly one of the oldest. It opened its doors as a grocery store in 1836, establishing itself by selling wine and oil to merchant ships moored in the nearby port. The bodega’s reputation for keeping an excellent and extensive wine cellar endures today. And the food is … More Bodega Casa Montaña

Horchatería de Santa Catalina

Horchata de chufa or Orxata (in Valencian) is an unmissable ice-cold treat in Valencia. Cafés that specialise in serving it (Horchaterías) are everywhere, but we head straight for one of the oldest and best-known in town, the Horchatería de Santa Catalina. It’s bustling, and prettily-tiled in a traditional style. Eventually we bag a seat, and order the sugary beverage that … More Horchatería de Santa Catalina