Sunday, September 29, 2013

los pimientos de Padròn

A little plate of peppers, grilled quickly in olive oil and liberally seasoned with coarse sea salt. That's all it took to send this wino into hysterics, all red-faced and panting about the find. Coming here, I was looking forward to the clams, the shrimp, the fish, the ham ... all those wonderful things that make this country a gastronomic paradise. But we've all heard of berberechos, gambas, langostines, jamón ibérico ... the excitement is more in the anticipation of actually eating them, rather than the discovery. These though, these were totally unexpected. Innocuous little green peppers, reminding me why, as in wine, the simple, humble things sometimes bring us the greatest pleasure and excitement.

I've had them in restaurants, I've cooked them at the flat, I've pretty much tried to eat my body weight in them. They come from the village of Padròn, in Galicia, and only about 15,000 kilograms are harvested every year from June to September. There's a famous saying - Os pementos de Padrón, uns pican e outros non (Galician for 'Padròn peppers, some are hot and some are not'). Most tend to be sweeter, and depending on your tastes, even the spicy ones aren't that spicy. But they have all that fragrant pepper aroma, that wonderful texture, that indescribably delicious taste that the coarse flakes of salt bring out. The best thing I've found in Barcelona thus far, and that's taking into account wine as well. Well, this and gin tonics.

Friday night, we had a school event. Each team had to dress up according to a theme and do a pubcrawl - 4 bars, each with a different drinking game that we had to complete. Our theme was 'bands you no longer listen to', so we went the obvious route - KISS - facepaint and all. A fun night, and needless to say, things got debauched and out of hand real fast. Real fast. But it was great to bond with the team, relax after a stressful first week of classes. And let's just say that after Friday night, I'm on a new level of familiarity with Avinguda Diagonal ...


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