The 5 Top Reasons to Visit Spain:

I have lived in Spain over half of my life. I would not be there if I didn’t love it.

Spain is a vast country, and very varied in its culture and climate. From the far flung north with its mountainous winter snow. To the sun baked beaches of the south. My favourite region? Honestly, Catalunia. Barcelona being its capital city. But hey that’s just me, I lived in the south for more moons than I care to share. Its where I fell in love with my now fiancé, and were we started our business, and so much more ….

Anyway, you want to know why I consider Spain to be one of the best countries to visit, well here are my top 5 reasons:

My favourite Scottish Chef – Mr Graham Campbell

I Love a fine dining experience that is beautifully balanced. One that elates my taste buds with flavours and textures, to the point that my every sense is scintillating.

A delicious meal does that to me. Its more than just eating. So much more than just sustenance and nourishment. Fine dining to me is a sensory extravaganza. My whole being seems to get involved, from first reading the description of the dish on the menu, to the sight and scent of its arrival, and then finally, to the taste and texture of that exquisitely delivered dish …. Heaven ….

One of my fondest memories of such a meal was a good few years back on the Isle of Skye. My fiancé and I were on an adventure type holiday, and decided to stay at the Duisdale House Hotel. I didn’t know it then, but I had just booked my very first Michelin starred experience.

It wasn’t until we had returned home, that I discovered that the Dusidales head chef at the time was no other than Scotland’s very own (any youngest) Michelin Starred Chef – Graham Campbell.

All I knew, when seated in that dining room on the western Isles, was that the meals we were being served were far, far superior to anything we had tasted before … and very few since have lived up to!

The Waterboys, Madrid and the Opera Hotel

So the Waterboys were playing Madrid … Don’t Bang The Drum – Lets just go, that’s what I said to my man ! ….. So we did.

Got the pets all organised with sitters, and me & my Fabulous Fiancé drove our Beautiful BMW up to the very center of Spain ….

I had booked the Hotel Opera specifically …. for its bath. This bath was basically on the balcony of the room, but situated within a glass enclosure. It was a double Jacuzzi Bath … (the kind that makes you rather cautious with bubble bath) … And, it was directly opposite the Opera House. But no one could see in. We however, could see the stars as we soaked …

This magnificent bath was put to use as soon as we arrived. (All in all I think I had 4 baths in 24 hours !!!) Now this was winter, and Madrid can get cold. So cold in fact this particular December there was actually snow on the streets! Yes it can snow in Spain! But the freezing weather just made the whole Jacuzzi experience all the better. There I was, completely immersed in a very large bath of hot water and bubbles. And, just on the other side of the glass which was above, and all round me, there was ice and a very cold breeze. Fantastic!

Restaurant Cortijo La Herradura – Mijas Costa

What a night … Fabulous food, Brilliant service, and music that my feet just couldn’t stop tapping to.

Where you ask ? – Cortijo La Herradura on the “Camino de Coin” (Opposite the garden centers)

So, last Friday night we needed to get out of the office/house for a bit. The rain had started, which I love, but we were beginning to feel a tad confined, after almost a full week of downpours. A good meal and glass of wine (or three) seemed to be in order.

You know when you get that feeling that you just can’t put your finger on – as if someone is whispering – “Put on your dancing shoes, it is going to be one of these nights” … it was almost as if the rain was singing to me …

Anyway – Our local haunt, surprisingly was closed. So we decided on the Steak House slightly further down the road – Namely –  Cortijo La Herradura !

It changed hands just this month (Nov 2016). And you can sense the difference straight away. There is a much more elegant air about the place, more confident. And the aroma from the kitchen was simply mouth-watering. The young waiter who received us was much more diligent than is normal for this part of Spain too. The delightful young chap informed us that there was to be Live Jazz tonight …… Now we Love Jazz ….

All things were pointing towards a Very attractive evening …

What happens when a film crew need fed ?

Ever wondered how a vast cast and crew are fed? Well I have to confess it’s not something I pondered on either. But I recently found out when I accidently strolled straight into a film set and tried to order a cup of coffee from some film caterers in London! Interestingly enough I was served and not charged.

It was in Kensington park. Somehow I had unwittingly walked right through the security lines past where they were actually filming, and up to what I thought was a kinda “Pop up” food truck.

It was not !

The cuisine of Spain at its finest

I have lived and worked in Spain for quarter of a century now ! And having traveled through most of Europe I can quite honestly tell you that the Spanish cuisine is not only one of the healthiest, it is most definitely one of the tastiest.

Spain didn’t really catch on to the mass marketed processed food until quite recently. And even today if you look in the shopping carts going around a super market you will see much more fresh produce than processed. The restaurants too, seem to focus mainly on fresh produce. I used to say that every “Venta” (roadside country restaurant) had the families’ granny in the kitchen.

So on the whole the Spanish are a healthy eating lot that take fresh produce for granted, and don’t mind spending time preparing fresh meals at home.

Let me introduce you to some of my favourite Spanish delights …

Tortilla:

This is the omelette to match all omelettes. Usually 2 – 3 inches thick and a dinner plate of circumference. Made with potatoes, onion & egg. Sometime stuffed, my mum for example used to put red roasted peppers in the middle …. Mouth watering. And quite often served with homemade garlic mayonnaise ….