You wouldn’t be on your own if you thought that Spanish street food consisted mainly of Churros and paella but I recently had the opportunity to spend a week in Los Alcazares, in Murcia just in time for the annual 3 day Medieval Festival.
With over 50 street food vendors and 20 pop up restaurants the festival proved to be anything other than just paella and churros. In total there were over 300 themed stalls selling all sorts of goods from spices to olives to cocktails and just about every food combination imaginable. On Friday night we tried a couple of margaritas on one of the cocktail stalls to work up an appetite and then set about sampling some of the food delights.
Being a true carnivore the meat on the swing grill I had been standing next to for over 20 minutes (the time it took for the two margaritas to do their stuff) had to come first. 10 Euros bought a huge meat platter for two which consisted of ribs, wings, chorizo and ham boiled and baked on site along with bread, baked in a wood fired oven.
They were possibly the best crepes I have ever eaten and I trust me I have eaten more than my fair share over the last 20 years.
By this time even my capacity for food was drying up and what I really needed was some locally produced vino tinto, but the following day we did walk the whole festival to look at every food stall and pop up restaurant, to my surprise paella was the hardest to find. We did find plenty of variety and sampled some amazing North African specialities served from a Bedouin tent!
In hindsight my preconceptions regarding Spanish street food were similar to expecting only jellied eels or fish and chips at a british event. In a country where food is such an integral part of the culture, especially the melting pot that is Southern Spain with Spanish, Moorish and other European influences the quality of the food and passion of the caterers should never have been in doubt, the immense variety was still incredible.
My impression – UK has still got a long way to go on the street/artisan food scene, but we are getting there. We just need event organisers to realise what a crowd pleaser good food can be.
Article written by Bob Fox