Ventas in Spain
A “venta” is a road side cafeteria, bar and restaurant and you should look out for them on the larger country roads between towns and villages. Visiting a venta in Spain is an excellent way to see and sample the local, traditional gastronomy and way of life in Spain. These Ventas in Spain almost always have a friendly, family atmosphere and some even have hostel or hotel type accomodation.
The simplest ventas consist of a bar and tables in one room. The larger ones have a separate dining room away from the noise of the bar and perhaps an outdoor terrace. Often on display is a selection of local produce and crafts to admire and, of course, to buy.
Non smoking laws are enforced in Spain in public areas. Smoking is not allowed inside and the owner of the establishment will be fined if people are caught breaking this law.
An excellent example of a traditional venta (in Andalucia) is “Venta El Tropezon“. Situated on the main road between Ronda and Arcos de la Frontera, at the junction to a village named Montecorto. The word “tropezon” describes a nice, unexpected surprise. For example, if you trip over but on the floor you find a coin or something else valuable.
You can follow the facebook page of El Tropezon here.
Continue reading Ventas in Spain – El Tropezon in the village of Montecorto
The origins of gazpacho andaluz are mysterious, and like most things from our past have never been truly documented. What writing does exist is filled with inaccuracies, but the general consensus is that the pre-Roman Andalucians (Ibericelts) were making something akin to Gazpacho in Phoenician (and Carthiginian) times. Although, to really confuse matters so were pre-Roman Italian peninsula peoples.
In fact, a cold meal of stale bread, vinegar, olive oil, garlic, and water is common in the bread eating cultures surrounding the Mediterranean, the concept is even alluded to in the Old Testament book of Ruth (2.14) “’Come thou hither, and eat of the bread, and dip thy morsel in the vinegar.”
To confuse matters even more, the tomato plant is from South America and didn’t get to Europe until after the Spanish Conquest of the Americas from 1492 onwards… Ummm… anyway, less about that and more about the recipe :)
If you would like to practice your Spanish reading skills then you can see this article translated here…
Continue reading Traditional Spanish Gazpacho Andaluz Recipe
In the South of Spain in the summer people make delicious cold soups, the most famous being gazpacho. Another is porra, and this recipe for traditional Antequera porra is super simple to make.
This soup is softer in taste than the gazpacho and offers a thicker substance. Ask for it in restaurants and be pleasantly surprised, unless you accidentally ask for “Porro Porra”, in which case you might receive a rather incredulous stare and the comment that in Spain joints (ahem, a soft smokable drug) aren’t normally served… Continue reading Traditional Antequera Porra (Southern Spain)
Christmas in Spain is a time of different traditions from England or America, and one of the traditions most loved by Spaniards at Christmas time is the joy of eating Turron after dinner.
Turron, which is pronounced Too-Rron, is bought and sliced into cubes and served on plates along with coffee or brandy, and typically given as a gift when visiting friends and family. In Ronda most supermarkets sell dozens of varieties of Turron, though the best quality Turron can be bought from the Campinas store in Plaza Socorro. Continue reading Spanish Turron at Christmas
Every Easter, known as Semana Santa in Spain, local bakeries and patisseries will make up special Easter desserts, and in Ronda the pick of the bunch is called Torrijas, a sweet treat made with bread as the base, filled with custard, and drowned in honey or sugar and served on a plate to be eaten with a knife and fork.
Of course as is typical of the Spanish, every region will have their own variation, so the recipe I’m going to share with you may not be exactly how your Spanish friends would make it, so be careful you don’t offend them by saying this recipe is the best, instead nod knowingly when they tell you what is missing, or how they’d make it, and then when their back is turned choose the recipe you prefer. Continue reading Recipe for Torrijas, an Easter Treat in Spain