Wednesday, August 7, 2013

A La Casa






So much time has passed and I still have not even shared one bit of my travels in Spain! I mainly went to Spain as a monumental birthday gift to myself. My birthday is in December so I decided to go in the early Spring when the weather is not as harsh.

My idea of traveling is that I try to travel as local as possible wherever I go. In this case, I stayed with a wonderful family outside of Barcelona in Terrassa. They reminded me of my close friend's family in Germany. Their genuine hospitality, the more than authentic foods, the local surroundings, I cannot get enough of it and I never will.

The best introduction I could ever have to Spanish cuisine, apart from my day job of course, was to be a guest of this wonderful house. I did not get to have the restful 3 hour nap that I usually get upon arrival in Germany, but I did get to enjoy a 1.5 power nap instead to get myself back on my feet and more importantly, ready to eat my heart away. I ate every day in Spain as if it was Thanksgiving, and I feel like that is how it is like no matter where you go in the country. I left with an overall impression that everyone eats and drinks all day long. Rather, I felt their whole day is around eating and drinking. Despite our terribly high rates of obesity in this country, I feel like our whole day is surrounded by work rather than food, but that is another conversation for another time. 

What better way to start off your first trip to Spain than having paella? Even though I have no photos, I still remember the taste in my mouth as if it happened yesterday: fresh mussels, chicken and vegetables as if they came straight from the backyard. No matter how much I ate, there was still more for some reason, as if it was a dream. We washed the deliciousness with a local American white wine I brought from home as a gift. Despite the dense language barrier, my new friends understood every expression I had as I enjoyed their simple but yet masterpiece of a lunch they specially made for me. 


After a marathon day of traveling in the city, I returned home to, you guessed it, more food. What fascinated me the most out of this meal was the beberichos, otherwise known as cockles. I think I have tried this simple treasure once before when I was a child at a Spanish restaurant in Germany, but it was such a vague memory that I would not even consider it valid anymore.  I asked my friends at least twice what these were as I could not imagine the idea of the insides of mini seashells. Salty but sweet, briny and so simple, I could eat those little guys all day long with some bread, olives and  wine. For what I thought was it for the evening, we then feasted on lightly fried merluza, or hake as we call it. I think I ate a whole foot long fish. We finished with some light cookies and fresh fruit. It could not have been a more perfect start to my trip, even though my head was struggling to stay up at this point. 

Out of all of these wonderful items I tried at my friends' home, I immediately went searching for cockles once I returned from my trip. I had a terrible time finding them in DC, but I did manage to discover them in New York during one visit. They costed me a fat $17, but I was so happy that I finally discovered them that I did not care how much they cost me to enjoy them again. Will I think again the next time I see them? Yes, even though I would rather enjoy them anytime, all the time. 

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