A Span­ish wed­ding is food nir­vana

Costa del Sol News - - FRONT PAGE -

FOR A skinny lad, I can cer­tainly pack away a lot of food with­out putting on an ounce of fat. Whether it's be­cause of my DNA, reg­u­lar walk­ing, or just plain luck there’s slim chance of my waist­line ex­pand­ing. I could eat a whole cow in one sit­ting and still not trou­ble the scales. Con­sid­er­ing food is my one, true love this is just as well.

So when an in­vi­ta­tion to a wed­ding dropped into my post box I was more ex­cited than a child at Christ­mas be­cause I knew there would be ex­cel­lent food in abun­dance.

Yes, it would be great to see my friends get hitched but as Span­ish wed­dings are no place for di­eters there would be an eye-popping ban­quet to savour. A cou­ple of years ago I went to the First Holy Com­mu­nion of this cou­ple’s son which in­volved seven hours of non-stop eat­ing and drink­ing at a fancy ho­tel, so I had very high hopes for the nup­tials. I was not dis­ap­pointed.

The cer­e­mony and re­cep­tion took place in the huge grounds of a cor­tijo. We ar­rived, watched them say “I do” and then the first lot of food rolled out. Wait­ers and wait­resses scur­ried back and forth with plat­ters filled with tapas.

There were mar­i­nated an­chovies, mus­sels, siz­zling pork skew­ers and colour­ful cre­ations that gave no clues as to what they were.

As I can eat pretty much any­thing there was no point in ask­ing what they con­tained and so ev­ery­thing went down the hatch.

At wed­dings, it is ex­pected that you cir­cu­late and make small talk with com­plete strangers, which is fine to a point. I re­ally did try to give peo­ple my full at­ten­tion when they were talk­ing but in the same way that most of us with a Y chro­mo­some turn our heads when a pretty girl walks by so my eyes kept drift­ing away from con­ver­sa­tions when fresh plat­ters were be­ing brought out.

Af­ter about an hour and a half, it was time to go in for the kill, the sit-down meal in­side the gi­ant mar­quee. Now the feast­ing could re­ally be­gin. Nice rab­bit food to start with, then prawns fol­lowed by an inches thick slab of the ten­der­est steak I’ve had for years, fit for Fred Flint­stone. The fi­nal course was a trio of pud­dings. Oh, Span­ish wed­dings I do love thee.

Judg­ing by the empty plates be­ing car­ried away to the kitchen area it seemed that every­one else had also eaten prodi­gious amounts. Now, I could have quite eas­ily had a siesta there and then but ap­par­ently it was time for danc­ing. I’ve no idea how any­one with a full stom­ach can throw en­er­getic shapes on the dance floor but many of the women were giv­ing it their all.

Some peo­ple say they feel sexy, en­er­getic, pas­sion­ate and alive when they’re danc­ing. Me? I loathe it more than I know how to ex­press. I’d rather have my neck shaved by Ste­vie Won­der than get up and boo­gie. When I hear mu­sic, I want to en­joy the melodies and sing along (qui­etly as I’m rea­son­ably tone deaf and con­sid­er­ate of oth­ers). I don’t see it as an ex­cuse for some non-rhyth­mic ca­vort­ing, hands whirling around like a he­li­copter with twisted blades. I can’t dance. I won’t dance. For­tu­nately, I wasn’t alone in this and so many of us gents sloped off for a short walk.

By this point in the pro­ceed­ings, I had al­ready put away enough food to sat­isfy an army squadron on ma­noeu­vres. But there was still more to come. Like hunter-gath­ers with nos­trils flared to sniff the air for sweet and de­li­cious scents our walk led us to one of the bar ar­eas where we stood around ta­bles to eat and drink some more.

What fol­lowed was three con­tin­u­ous hours of tuck­ing into ser­rano ham which is like the crack co­caine or Hari­bos of the meat world. Once I've had one slice I can't stop, nei­ther could any­one else. As soon as we wolfed down one plate some­body went up to get an­other. And so it went on un­til al­most mid­night.

I left the wed­ding fully sa­ti­ated and en­joyed a very, very com­fort­able night’s sleep. But the next day was a new one and I still got up early and tod­dled off to a lo­cal bar for my reg­u­lar Sun­day morn­ing full English break­fast – with ex­tra ba­con! Paul Arnold is a for­mer BBC pro­ducer who worked on science, news and mag­a­zine pro­grammes, trav­el­ling the world to in­ter­view No­bel Prize win­ners, politi­cians and celebri­ties. Af­ter 16 years he left the cor­po­ra­tion and moved to Spain where he writes for pub­li­ca­tions across the USA, Canada and Europe.

Once I've had one slice of ser­rano ham I can't stop

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