Every time I say where I am from, I’m asked the same question: What are you doing here? I am however starting to understand what they mean. Why the hell did I leave behind the sun and hot weather of Spain to come to a country where it’s cloudy and rains almost all of the year?!
In nearly five years that I’ve been living in England, I’ve come across a lot of odd questions and many misconceptions about my hometown, Barcelona. Then, I have to clarify that those clichés are totally wrong, such as:
- The weather is nice and warm but not during the whole year. We do need coats, scarves and gloves in the winter. And yes, sometimes it snows.
- It’s so hot and muggy in the summer that immediately after you've had a shower you are sticky and incredibly hot again.
- We don’t sunbath in the beach every day.
- We don’t spend all of our time partying and going on a pub crawl drinking sangria and dancing flamenco. Nope. We wouldn’t have time to do that as we work!
- We don’t go to the office wearing shorts and flip-flops
- Companies don’t have some kind of “siesta” room where their employees can have their naps.
- And above all, we do not eat paella every day. (This stereotype is a classic) In fact, paella is very common in Valencia however you can find different specialities depending on the region you are in Spain.
Now, I'd love to take you (virtually, obvs.) to Cadiz, in southwest Spain, so you can live the authentic Spanish lifestyle and see with your own eyes that the above stereotypes are not true.
It's damn hot, nearly 40 degrees Celsius but we are cheerful and really enjoying the day. We've been sunbathing in a beautiful beach and going on a bar crawl, drinking sangria and having just a few tapas as we're meeting my lovely friend Patry, blogger of Sabores y Momentos, at her house to have lunch together.
Patry is from Cadiz and is a fantastic cook. We don't only have in common our passion for cooking and photography but she also moved abroad, to Scotland, to study her degree. She probably came across more false Spanish stereotypes.
When we get to her house, she welcomes us and offers us a glass of sangria. As soon as we walk in to the kitchen, I can smell a lovely paella cooking on the stove. She asks us if we would like Gazpacho to refresh up. I answer with a clear yes, but your face seems slightly hesitant which makes me think you have never heard about this dish.
No worries. I will explain to you. Gazpacho is a refreshing and cool tomato-based soup and raw vegetables and it originates from where we are now, in the region of Andalusia.
After our incredibly lunch, more sangria glasses and lots of laughs, we decide to carry the party on by going to a flamenco venue. After all, this is what Spaniards do. Sunbath, sangria, paella and flamenco.! ;)
Refreshing and cool tomato-based soup and raw vegetables originating in Southern of Spain.
1 kg washed ripe tomatoes (for a best taste mix with plum tomatoes)
1/2 green pepper
A bit of red pepper
1/2 cucumber, peeled
1 small garlic clove
Salt to taste
2 tablespoon of wine vinegar
4 full tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
100 ml of water (optional, depending on how thick you desire the gazpacho)
A handful of finely diced tomato, cucumber and onion as a garnish. You can also eat the gazpacho with croutons of toasted bread on top.
Fresh oregano to decorate
Puree washed tomatoes, green pepper, red pepper, cucumber and onion in a food processor until very smooth.
Push purée through a coarse sieve with the back of a wooden spoon. Gazpacho should be fairly thin. Season to taste with salt.
Add salt and vinegar and mix. Then pour in the olive oil and mix again. Olive oil will give the smoothness to the gazpacho, improving its texture. Season to taste with salt. If it's to thick, add in a little bit of water.
Chill gazpacho in refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Serve in individual glasses, or in soup bowls with garnishes on the side or croutons. Top with some fresh oregano and enjoy!