28 november 2011

Spanish eating habits

After a week in Madrid, we’ve gained a little more insight into the eating habits of the Spaniards.

Lesson 1: Lunchtime. We were running a workshop with Spanish participants in the subject of value communication. As workshop leaders, we are responsible for telling participants when coffee and lunch breaks will occur. Our suggestion in Spain was to take lunch at 12.30, which we thought was rather late. ‘Not possible’ we were told. ‘Not possible to eat lunch before 1pm. The restaurant might be open but the kitchen certainly won’t be’. Compare this to lunch time in Sweden which is usually 11.30 and can be even as early as 10.30! There are probably a lot of hungry Swedes in Spain.

Lesson 2: Dinner time. If you suffer from late night indigestion, Madrid is probably not the city for  you. Turning up to eat at restaurants at 9pm, which we thought was late, we were the only guests there. The food was rolled out half an hour later and lots of it! We needed to take a couple of tummy-soothing tablets when we returned to the hotel.

Lesson 3: Tapas time. Many people are familiar with tapas. But do you know where the word comes from? We didn’t either until we were told by a Spanish person one lunch time. Firstly, Spaniards usually don’t eat tapas at home unless they are having a party. Tapas are reserved for bars and restaurants. Tapas originated from patrons standing by a bar and having a drink. Because of the heat, the practice was to put a small saucer (tapas) on the top of the glass to act as a lid and keep the flies out of the precious liquid. Then some smart Alec, or maybe an Alfonso, saw a business opportunity and put a small bite to eat on the saucer. And the tapas was born!

Neil and Lynn

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