As a British child, I was dragged to Spain a lot as a kid. So much so, that I thought I had a pretty good idea about what I did and didn’t like about the country. And if you read my posts leading up to my arrival in Madrid last year, they’re more on the ‘didn’t like’ side of things. However, Spain has pleasantly surprised me and I figured it deserved a positive post for a change, so here are my five favourite things about living in Spain. And surprisingly, they’re all food related. Vegetariansaywhaaaaaat?
1. Tostada con Tomate:
Before I moved here, my biggest worry was how I’d survive as a vegetarian. And even though it’s still a constant struggle with jamón and chorizo lurking around every corner, there are some foods I’ve sort of fallen in love with. Mainly tostada con tomate. Technically speaking, before my Barcelonés boyfriend complains, this is a Catalan dish. But political stance aside, I love this thing. Never would I have thought I’d want to eat tomatoes for breakfast if it wasn’t somehow related to baked beans, but I am smitten. It’s made even better by always being less than 3€ including a drink, speaking of…
2. Café con Leche:
I’d heard so much about Spanish coffee, and was honestly expecting something amazing. However, my first experiences with coffee in Madrid just left me feeling underwhelmed. Tiny sizes and the seemingly nonexistent iced variety left me resorting to Starbucks more than I’d care to admit. But now I am one with the café con leches. Sure, they may not all be winners, but they’re cheap and easily accessible. And after twentyone years of living in my English hometown, I never found a coffee I liked within walking distance to my house. So I’m pretty content with the two minute walk to my preferred coffee shop nowadays. I’m almost over the fact that I can’t get a decent iced latte. Almost.
3. Just General Eating And Drinking Outside:
This is a bit of a stretch on my food topic, but hear me out ‘cause I think it’s important. In the two weeks of summer we get in the UK, everyone runs to the nearest beer garden. But beer gardens are meh, because there’s not much that can compare to the joy of sitting outside in the sun with a good coffee and an even better book. I know it’s a weather thing, but come on, get on this one, UK.
4. Sweet Things For Breakfast:
Back in the UK, I was strictly a banana or Special K kinda girl. Chocolate for breakfast? Eww. Gross. Blehhh. But what started with a bowl of my flatmate’s Coco Pops led to me possibly having a napolitana from every bakery in Madrid. Croissants just don’t do it for me anymore. Sleepy Saturday mornings at my local brunch haunt, chocolate muesli bars on the bus to work, or Coco Pops in bed. I am a convert. Well done, Spain. Give me that sugar.
I have never been one for ice cream. It melts too quickly and it makes my teeth cold. Out of tradition, I’ll have a little pot of vanilla at the theatre, but I’m more likely to be found racing to finish a Mr Freeze before it melts into nothingness. But one fateful night in August, hungry and a little day-drunk, I stumbled onto my first froyo shop of Madrid. Magical. Now I’m just counting down the days until it reaches 20 degrees again so I can justify walking along with my yoghurt and my fruit. And not having it melt all over me because it’s not EVIL and TERRIBLE like ice cream is. Two words, guys: banana froyo. You’re welcome.
I think it’s safe the say… the vegetarian has been appeased.