Culinary Anthropologist

Slow food

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smsnailtoothpick0001.JPGCatalunyans seem to be good at slow food.  There are lots of rich savoury stews, traditionally cooked in wide, shallow earthenware ‘cazuelas’ over a low flame, slowly.  And people know how to take their time over a good meal together.

Mercè Brunés i Marquès’ two long dining tables were regularly filled with a mix of family, friends and guests, all taking their time over the array of salads, stews, fruits and cheeses and exchanging kind words.  And when we weren’t there we were down at the festa major (with largely the same crowd of food- and fun-loving people) enjoying more of the same.  

The festa’s opening night featured a celebration of perhaps the ultimate in ‘slow food’ – caracoles – the common snail.  Snails are loved all over northern Spain, and particularly ethusiastically here in the village of Tagamanent it seems.  Mercè and mates each brought their own version of snail stew to share with the table.  

So, having been taught exactly how they should be eaten (gently eased out with a toothpick while leaving behind their not-so-nice-to-eat belly section) we ate a tonne of them.  Especially delicious were the ones in a rich, savoury super-reduced goo of chilli, spices, bacon bits, onion and garlic.  I believe there are snails in our minute ‘garden’ in north London…

Read about other tastes of Spain

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