WORTH TOASTING: CULTURALLY, THE CATALANS CONSIDER THAT TO DRINK, YOU MUST HAVE FOOD
When I worked in the Languedoc-Roussillon region, which borders Spain, we prepared straight-bat Spanish tapas into the early hours for throngs of hungry and thirsty tourists. Anchovies grilled over wood embers; octopus braised in smoked paprika; small, scorched green peppers; shaved iberico de bellota; fried goats cheese; and crispy croquetas. While these traditional bites aren’t at the vanguard of cuisine they are bold, savoury, salty, spicy and textural. Guests would mooch from bar to bar, becoming pleasantly replete. Not only did the tapas taste great, they reduced the effects of the wine, sherry and spirits imbibed.