I LOVE Spain. And yes, mostly for the food. What can I say, I'm a woman with limited interests. While in Paris, I was attending a conference for work but now I'm on holiday - a cheap one because work paid for the pricey flight, can you say bonus?
So I'm staying with a friend in Barcelona, whose flatmate is apparently an amature chef and made us an amazing dinner that I can't even begin to explain...if he spoke English or I Spanish, I'd ask him to explain. Tomorrow, I'm going to cook for them and after the fantastic dinner tonight, I'm a bit concerned. Will let you know how it goes...not even sure what I'm going to make....
Tonight, I was also treated to one of my favorite Spanish foods - chorizo. Chorizo is a Spanish type of sausage that isn't spicy but has something of a zip to it and can be sliced and eaten as an appetizer or cooked lightly as part of a main dish. It's tasty in omelets, pasta dishes and as a starter. Chorizo is just one of the many delightful pork products in Spain. Actually, if you aren't a pork-eater, probably not the best place for you to visit.
The flatmate of my friend is actually Catalan (Barcelona is in Catalonia) and when he heard me expounding on the delights of chorizo after my friend and I came back from the grocery story, promptly produced not only a Spanish chorizo but the regional Catalan version called fuet. I think I actually like the fuet better! If that's possible.
It is possible to purchase chorizo in the United States also, though it's much more expensive. I purchased a "good" (according to my friend) one at a local store in Barcelona for about 2 Euro ($3), which is significantly less that what I'd pay in the US for one of similar quality. Additionally, the ones in the US tend to taste a bit different because the regulations on processing meats are different and don't always allow for some of the traditional methods used for certain foods in Europe. (Look for an upcoming post on cheeses in France.)
There is also a wide range of Latin American varieties of chorizo available in the US at ethnic markets, though to be honest I haven't tried any of them. Anyone have any recommendations there? I imagine they are more economical. The Washington Post food section recently had an article on chorizo, see it here. It doesn't even mention chorizo from Spain really, something I considered to be an oversight considering Spain is the origin of chorizo, and focuses on Latin American varieties.
Ok, I'm off to bed, I have eating to do tomorrow.