The first time I visited Spain was on an exchange program in high school. I stayed with a family in the small coastal town of Burriana in the state of Valencia, and after nearly three whirlwind weeks, I left thinking one thing: I have to go back. Fast forward four years, and I returned to Spain for study abroad in Barcelona. I was exploring, blissful and blogging.
My love affair with the country continues even on American soil, something my parents (as well as probably anyone I’ve ever met) know well, which is why they saved on DVR episodes from the PBS documentary series Spain…on the road again. Quick premise: Actress Gwenyth Paltrow, famed chef Mario Batali, New York Times food columnist Mark Bittman and Spanish actress Claudia Bassols criss-cross Spain on a road trip to eat, drink, sightsee and take in its culture. (Funny, sounds exactly like what Tara and I want to do!)
The other night I watched one of the Barcelona episodes, in which the crew visits Bar Inopia. The wife of Ferran Adria (of El Bulli/molecular gastronomy/one of the world’s most renowned chefs acclaim) joins them for a traditional tapas dinner and essentially, the whole episode is a documentary of their meal. It’s a simple episode, but it captures what I loved about eating in Spain. Meals are unrushed, shared experiences focused on appreciating good food and company, where sometimes all you can say in response to your last bite is “Oh my gosh, this is delicious. You have to try it!”
In between bites of tuna tapas slicked in olive oil and sips of full-bodied Spanish wine, someone at the table asked Mario Batali what he wanted to “take back from Barcelona.” “Everything that’s not nailed down!” was his response. Yes, Mario Batali, yes. I know exactly what you mean.
Oh, and, if you’re reading this, Mario, I’d love to join you on the road in Spain…yet again. I’m sure you’ll be back.
The series actually has a great multimedia site — which you know Tara and I appreciate — with galleries, blogs, videos and links. Above is a Barcelona teaser excerpt video, courtesy of the show.
-Karina for TKGO