Browsing Tag

Spain

Food and drink

Mixing it up

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It is the trademark dish of the Spanish cuisine, but what characterises good paella? 

Spain’s perhaps most famous dish was created by poor labourers in Valencian rice fields. So, at least, goes the story. At lunchtime they would cook rice in large pans over fire. They would eat it straight from the pan using wooden spoons. The ingredients? Whatever was available: tomatoes, onions, vegetables, snails, beans and rabbits. “It’s a peasant’s dish; an everyman’s dish. It came about as a result of needing to work in the fields,” says Nick Blythe of Paella Fella, a Spanish food caterer. “It was backbreaking work.”

Others tales go differently. In the time of the Moorish kings, another story says, servants would make rice dishes by using leftovers from royal banquets. They gathered the food in large pots and took it home. The theory also says the word ‘paella’ derives from the Arabic word for ‘leftovers’. Continue Reading…

Europe

Made of stone

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In the quiet Andalucían town of Setenil de las Bodegas, a series of houses are built into large rock caves along a river gorge. It’s a stunning sight, but one that tourists are yet to discover.

 

Not many people know about Setenil de las Bodegas. Even fewer visit it. In the province of Cádiz, near the Spanish south coast, the town’s inhabitants have for centuries lived quiet, agricultural lives, liberated from the relentless tourism drive in nearby cities. Instead of showing off their houses, built into rock overhangs along the Trejo River, which runs through the city, the 3,200 inhabitants – or ‘Setenilenos’ – thrive off wineries, fruit, vegetables and meat production, which is sold to nearby villages. Strangers make a rare sight. In fact, throughout the entire town, there are only two hotels. Continue Reading…

City guides

Green city guide: Bilbao

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If Bilbao’s ecological progress had equalled that of its economic, cultural and aesthetic revitalisation in recent years, it would probably be among the world’s greenest cities. After the Guggenheim Museum opened in 1997, new buildings and infrastructure projects fronted by star architects have transformed what was a declining industrial city into a vibrant economic and cultural hub. Continue Reading…