My post “Hot Potato!” discussed one of the most important sneaky nut hide outs that I discovered during my stay in Spain. But this wasn’t the only one. Those sneaky buggers.
The BF and I conquered Barcelona in a week. We walked more than I think I have ever walked before. Each step was a challenge for my no-idea-what-had-hit-them feet, decked out in my new white leather Chucks. We had seen, eaten and done all that Barcelona had to offer. Then came the much slower-paced Valencia, complete with a 5-hour siesta (which we of course chose not to take part in), some incredible authentic Spanish dancing and of course, more food.
We were ready. It was time. Ibiza. Ibiza was actually a late addition to our itinerary. Disappointed that we were only catching the end of the Greek island party season, we had squeezed in a (highly expensive) stopover in Ibiza. 2 nights, 2 parties and endless hours in the sun. I know that I previously mentioned that Ibiza isn’t about the food, and it definitely isn’t. Unfortunately my stomach didn’t know that when in Ibiza, one would be preoccupied with soaking up the sun on a beach chair and partying it up at Ushuaia. Alas, I still needed to eat. But whilst my stomach had become accustomed to the Spanish diet, the food offered in Ibiza is by no means authentic Spanish food. It is (for the most part) exactly what you would expect from a place like Ibiza – fast, greasy, delicious.
In between eating a burger, chips or the worst fast food chicken nuggets of my life, I ordered a plate of penne bolognese. When in Australia, I would never normally ask whether bolognese contains nuts, unless I was at some quirky restaurant. But given the different culture, I thought it best to give my nut allergy sign JIC. Who knows what the Spanish might put in their bolognese sauce? Luckily I checked. The waiter came out a few moments later telling me that their bolognese sauce is made with pesto sauce. They kindly made me a special batch of bolognese which, fortunately, lacked pesto but, unfortunately, also lacked flavour. In case there wasn’t already enough, I have now added spaghetti bolognese to my list of always-check-whether-it-contains-nuts meal list. Sighs.
Now some might be wondering the reason for the title of this post, for spaghetti bolognese certainly has nothing to do with tigers OR nuts. [And for those that haven’t yet noticed, each title on my blog refer to a movie or song name.]
The Spanish are rather fond of their liquid delicacies. Horchata (or Orxata as it is called in Valencia) is one such delicacy; a traditional Spanish drink. It is an interesting delicacy, not that I am one to judge – it is typically made from tiger nuts, water and sugar. It looks like milk and it can be found spinning in slushie-like vessels on the side of the road and served straight in a glass. Now when I discovered this drink, I was not sure whether or not this was a delicacy that I could dabble in. I certainly hadn’t ever heard of tiger nuts. Since I had never heard of them, it seemed unlikely that these nuts were related to the nuts I was allergic to, but I couldn’t be sure. I was definitely not going to take the chance when in a foreign country.
But in preparation for writing this blog, I thought it important to actually research this issue [isn’t the internet wonderful?]. I have come to the conclusion, but this is obviously third-hand knowledge, that tiger nuts are not nuts at all. Tiger nuts are part of the sedge family, but do actually share some chemical compositions with nuts. Personally, this neurotic Allergian still wouldn’t risk eating them. If any experienced readers out there have any knowledge on the issue, please speak up!
Most importantly, occasionally horchata is made with ground almonds, so while tiger nuts may not be nuts, still make sure that you check.
In case, like me, you are unwilling to take the risk with the horchata, do not fear… You can still enjoy the other liquid delicacies of Spain, of which there are many:-
Sangria is always a safe, highly delicious option; served in a giant glass or a jug to be shared amongst a group. Sangria is available at every restaurant and bar in Spain, and is always made to perfection. Unfortunately, sangria isn’t one to be enjoyed by the fructards! For the rest of us, enjoy a jug of sangria with your friends and avoid knocking over and smashing your glass, like I did. Muchas gracias!
- Agua de Valencia AKA “Valencian water”
A cocktail of cava (sparkling wine) or champagne, OJ, good ol’ vodka, and gin. Ahh I remember sitting at a café in the bustling Plaza de la Virgen in Valencia in the peak heat, mid-siesta hours of the day drinking a jug of agua de Valencia thinking “oh what a life”.
- Fruit Juices
As I mentioned in my post here, the fruit juices at La Boqueria markets in Barcelona are to die for. They have almost any flavour combination you could wish for! Don’t pass this one up!!
- Orange Juice
You might be thinking – well just how good could OJ be? Freshly squeezed orange juice is freshly squeezed orange juice right? Wrong. The orange juice in Valencia is beyond what I ever thought orange juice could be. Such a strong rich flavour. Famous for its orange juice, the streets in Valencia are lined with rows of orange trees. Make sure you don’t miss out on this specialty!
- Espit Chupitos
No this isn’t a delicacy per se. Espit Chupitos (I went to the one on Carrer d’Aribau in Barcelona which I think [but definitely may be mistaken] is the original) is a famous shot bar with hundreds of unique and delicious 2 euro shots. From cooking your own marshmallow on a shot lit on fire, to drinking the beverage of the green fairy, to the infamous ‘Monica Lewinsky’ shot, this shot bar has it all.
Clearly the Spanish have a thing for liquid delicacies. I’ll cheers to that!
Until next time… ¡salud!