Breakfast in Spain—El Desayuno
I, like many other foreigners living in Spain, have spent a fair amount of time dealing with Spanish bureaucracy. Notoriously slow and unclear, applying for my residency has been much like a very long scavenger hunt—utilizing resources, people and getting new, contradicting clues every couple of weeks. Between lost paperwork, unnecessary stamps in Madrid and my mom’s whirlwind 18 hour trip to LA to obtain some documents for me, it’s been—not fun.
I got an email, albeit the first electronic form of communication used this far, last week saying my visa had been approved. DELIGHTED, I made the trip to Torre del Mar to have my fingerprints taken and a travel document created to ease my upcoming trip to the States… I wanted to be sure that I could, after all, get back into SPAIN after my vacation… they let me know that I can pick up the travel document the very next day in the morning. Now, I have been around this block a few times and know that morning is a very loose word here. Thinking I was so clever, I showed up the next day at noon only to find out that the people who were working on my document were having “desayuno,” or breakfast. “Vale,” I respond with a tinge of frustration… here I am waiting in the foreigners office for the officials to come back from BREAKFAST. Such as Spain, I mean I can’t blame them too much—the lure of a breakfast at that time for me was understandable, too.
Actually, it’s quite normal for many office workers to take a breakfast break in the morning—a tradition that although a little irritating on the customer side, I imagine has some serious interoffice relationship value. Whether they are a coworkers, friends, or family, you’ll see groups of people filling cafes or “cafeterias” in Spanish—spilling out onto the sunny sidewalks, talking enthusiastically about the unusual summer heat, latest deals at the supermarket, and political happenings (always entertaining).
So, what to order? The most typical Spanish breakfast by and large toast topped with grated tomato and olive oil. Simple and delicious—the Mediterranean style. To order this, simply say, “Quiero un pitufo con tomate y aceite,” or I want tomato toast with olive oil! A bit strange to translate because pitufo literally means smurf—yep, I want a smurf with tomato and olive oil! Haha—the origin of “pitufo” comes from the bread size I assume—a little smaller than a traditional tostada.
And actually, speaking of smurfs, there is a smurf town here in Andalucia called Juzcar. Sony proposed the idea of painting all the houses in the sleepy village of Juzcar smurf-blue for a promotional event of the movie release. The bright blue village saw tourism sky rocket and kept the new look. So if you’re really ambitious, take a trip to smurf village, Juzcar, and order a smurf toast for breakfast.
This tomato toast breakfast is really a staple here in Andalucia and pairs well with a hot or iced café con leche. It’s also something you can easily introduce into your home’s breakfast lineup. The best way to make it is with an immersion blender, but a simple cheese grater works, too.
Using an immersion blender, combine 1 clove of garlic and 1-2 chopped up tomatoes. Toast whatever bread you want and drizzle with olive oil and your tomato garlic mix! Alternatively, grate 1-2 tomatoes with a cheese grater. Wipe a clove of garlic over your toasted bread, drizzle with olive oil and top with grated tomato. A pinch of sea salt makes everything better, too viagra 50mg.
Another breakfast treasure found in Spain are CHURROS. Yes, you can have delicious, fresh churros for BREAKFAST here! I was always under the impression that they were a dessert thing, but was delighted to see them mostly served only for breakfast. I have to say that churros are much different in Spain than what you will find in the United States or Mexico—there, the churros are coated in cinnamon and sugar and typically served solo, but here they’re served plain with dipping chocolate on the side.
While this is a decadent breakfast, it’s quite popular especially on the weekends—instead of brunch, we have churros! Churros are usually ordered by the quantity—I suggest about two per person as they’re quite large and usually one portion of chocolate can be shared between two people. While they’re a posh item in the United States, they are extremely affordable and quite popular all over Spain! If you find yourself in Malaga, I highly recommend Casa Aranda for churros—it’s near the public market in the city center and is one of the oldest and most traditional “churrerias” around. It’s tucked away in an alley with cobbled streets—great to enjoy on a brisk morning with good company.
In sum, breakfast here is much like the rest of Spain—relaxed, charming and best enjoyed with good company. I hope you get an opportunity to eat like a local and if you find yourself buried in bureaucracy, order yourself a plate of hot churros with chocolate and a dash of no-shame attitude and you might find yourself with a bit more patience.