The Essential Guide to Easter in Spain -

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The Essential Guide to Easter in Spain

March 27, 2018

Let’s start from the beginning, the Spanish word for Easter is Pascua.
If you are looking for some colorful eggs and bunnies, you are in the wrong place! Easter celebrations in Spain are no joke.

With more than 70% of Spain’s population identifying themselves as Catholic, Pascua is Spain’s most celebrated holiday. Almost every spaniard will take part in the festivities in some way.
Some curiosities to introduce you the Pascua:
– The fasting period of forty days that leads up to Easter is called Lent. Lent is called La Cuaresma in Spanish.
– The seven days leading up to Easter Sunday are called Holy Week, or La Semana Santa in Spanish.
– The first day of La Semana Santa is Palm Sunday (Domingo de Ramos).The word ramos means ‘bouquets’ and ‘branches.’ and in Spain, when you go to church on Palm Sunday you carry a palm
branch or an olive branch. Boys carry a plain branch and girls carry one that has been decorated with ribbons and sweets.
– Semana Santa in Spain dates back to at least the 16th century when the Church wanted to
present the story of the Passion of the Christ in a way that the average person could understand.
During Semana Santa people all over the country come together for religious ceremonies, honoring the Passion of Jesus Christ.

Now the question is, ¿How and where? Because even if its true that the Holy Week is a national bank holiday, this celebration is much more important in the south of Spain, because the religious tradition is more deeply rooted in this part of the country. So if you want to really feel the ceremony you need to know what city to visit.

Semana Santa in Andalucía.
The most magnificent and unforgettable Semana Santa celebrations in Andalucia take place in Sevilla and Málaga where the streets are taken over by extravagant parades and elaborated religious displays
depicting biblical scenes.
In Sevilla, you can not miss La Madrugà, a series of processions that take place during the night/dawn of
Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. Listen to saetas or outbreaking flamenco from people on balconies, so moved by the spactacle showing their real lament.
Women often wear the mantilla, a black lace veil worn high on the back of the head, and made it clear
red lipsitck and skirts above the knee were definitely not allowed.
Now we only need to arrange a couple of things before leaving, some suggestions to keep in mind before
you arrive and during your stay.

Tips for Traveling to Spain During Easter
Arrange your accommodation well in advance, the most important is to come with calm.

Be respectful, dress for the occasion. If you want to blend in and show respect to their traditions, dress as
if you are going to a Sunday mass. Understand that Pascua is a highly revered holiday and that people take their traditions seriously. Remember, despite the heat women usually dress modestly.

The number of visitors considerably increases during these festivities,in crowded situations it never hurts to take caution of your pertinences. Once again, the most important is enjoying your holidays.

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Five Great Snacks with Olives

April 4, 2018

Olives can be enjoyed with endless possibilities. They are great alone but sometimes even greater in recipes. This is why we have collected 5 recipes we think is worth knowing.

Some of them are typical Spanish and will possibly taste like vacation, no matter your location.

And even better, all these recipes are fast and easy to make and of course without compromising with taste.

Heated olives

Our first suggestion is close to be eating the olives as they are. You will only need the olives, lemon, olive oil and a bit of fennel seeds. Mix everything and heat it in a pan or the micro wave and eat it when it is still warm. This is perfect as a snack and together with a couple of drinks.

When heating the olives, they can take up more taste compared to when they are cold. By knowing that, you can fast and easy create a delicious snack that probably will impress your friends (unless you eat all of them before they get to taste it.)

 

Deep fried stuffed olives

The olives are eaten as snacks and together with garlic mayo.

If you prefer your olives stuffed, we can recommend cheese, chorizo or anchovies. These should be cut into pieces that fit to the olive.

To fry the olives, you will have to roll the olives in flour, then in eggs and at last in breadcrumbs. Be sure that the breadcrumbs stay by rolling them twice.

Put olive oil in the frying pan and when it’s hot enough, put in the olives until they are golden. Dry them in a kitchen towel when they get off the pan. Now they are ready to serve!

 

Orange salad with red onions and olives from Spain

This is a light salad that is easily made and has a lot of taste.

Take some oranges and cut them into thin slices and place them on a plate. Pour a bit of olive oil over them and add sunflower seeds . The final touch, black olives together with red onions and dinner is served.

Here below we leave you with this delicious and simple recipe of orange salad with red onion and olives from Spain, but although it is so versatile that you can try to change the sunflower seeds for toasted pine nuts or to give a refreshing touch with mint leaves or peppermint. Fresh !

 

Banderilla

As the name indicates, this recipe origins from Spain and it is often an opportunity on the tapas menu. You can more or less pick whatever you want to be in your banderillas by yourself.

The procedure is simple: just take your ingredients and put them on a toothpick. The original stuffing is pickle, olive, onion and tuna. Mix exactly as you want and in no time you will have an easy-made and well-tasting snack.

From the same family in a different way we have the “gilda” an unforgettable classic of the easy tasty snacks. An olive, a chilli pepper from Ibarra and an anchovy all together joined with a toothpick.

*Curious fact: The name was given in reference to the main character of the film “Gilda”, played by Rita Hayworth in 1946, because as the actress, the tapa is “salty, green and a bit spicy.”

 

Tapenade

Tapenade is a snack that is suitable for many occasions.

The main ingredient is olives and the other ingredients can be chosen after what you prefer. Typically, the ingredients are capers, anchovies, garlic, olive oil, and lemon. Blend everything together and serve.

The advantage of making your own tapenade is that you can control what is in it and you can try different versions to find your own special favourite.

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Experiencing Spain from the eyes of a foreigner

April 10, 2018

It is always exciting to experience a culture that is different from the culture you are used to.

Language barrier could always be an issue at the very first moment, same as getting used to the new lifestyle schedules.

Furthermore, from the moment of arrival to Spain it will never be in doubt the remarkable improvement of the weather conditions. About the first impressions of the Spanish people, are a warm and welcoming people that do everything they can to help.

The food is a central thing in social activities and it is scheduled several times a day; 5-6 to be exact.

The hour of the day, tendencies and local specialties can differ from region to region, but the passion and proudness is a common thing.

Desayuno (breakfast) from 7-9

The typical Spanish breakfast is usually very light. It can consist of a cup of coffee and a small snack, normally, a toast with olive oil, crushed tomatoes or a toast with oil and ham.

Almuerzo (mid-morning snack) 10.30 – 11

Now it is time for the mid-morning snack, second breakfast or “almuerzo”. It is time for more coffee and a more consistent snack; this could be sweet pastries or Spanish tortilla (an Spanish omelet)

La comida (lunch) 14-15.30

At this time of the day people got an appetite for a two – three dishes menu. A lot of restaurants are offering “menu del

día” (the menu of the day). The starter is usually a choice between salads and afterwards a fish or a meat dish. If there is room for more food, there are plenty of local desserts, such as flan, fresh fruit or rice puddings.

This is a time the Spanish people really socialise, which is a very important aspect in their culture.

Merienda (afternoon snack) 17.30-19.30

Just as the lunch, the social aspect is an important factor in the afternoon snack; actually, it is possibly the most important aspect in this part of the day.

This is the time to get a cup of coffee or a snack. Sandwiches are the most popular snack for children after school, and even the adults take it as a moment to relax and disconnect from work for a little while. In summer time, an ice cream or some fresh fruit are preferred.

La hora del aperitivo (snacks/tapas) 20.30-22

This is the second big meal of the day. It is around that time the tapas bars are opening. Tapas are a great opportunity for tasting as many things as possible, because that is exactly what you will need when being in Spain. The selection of tapas can vary from place to place, but you can be sure that it would be possible to order olives as one of the dishes.

Red wine and cold beers are usually enjoyed together with the tapas.

La cena (dinner) 21.30 +

If you still are hungry after the aperitivo, you can always order a dish for yourself or keep going with the shared tapas with the rest of the crew. If not, mediterranean people is not used to eat large portions of food in this time of the day.

Salads, or a bit of cold meat are welcomed.

Drinks from 23

If you aren’t ready to go home, this is the time to replace the wine with cocktails. It is common to enjoy snacks like nuts or olives while socialising at the bars.

It takes a bit of time to get used to the late time for eating, but it is worth waiting for.

Food is a good place to start when you want to discover the culture of Spain and you will soon realise that the Spaniards are appreciating good, local food and even more important, they love to be social among friends.

The most remarkable thing about the Spanish people is their openness and their eager to show and tell about their favourite places. This is a great place to be. Don’t miss it !

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Vegan Cuisine with Olives

April 18, 2018

Nowadays, more and more often, our lifestyle and different possibilities let us choose between including or not including food of animal origin in our diet. If you are preparing a dinner for many people and would like to satisfy all palates, why not include a couple of vegan recipes? Here below some ideas.

Citrus tandoori marinated with olives from Spain.

Level of difficulty: Easy Servings: 4-5 people Preparation time: 13 m

First of all, the marinade: garam masala, lemon zest, chilli powder, salt, pepper and mint mixed together.

Second, add the yoghurt, taste and adjust salt if necessary. Mix the olives with the marinade and transfer the blend to a baking dish.

Bake in the oven for 6 to 8 minutes until the olives are tender.

Magic touch: remove from the oven and spray a bit of lemon to taste; garnish with chopped fresh coriander and a pinch of tandoori powder. Ready to serve !

 

Vegetable soccattata.

Level of difficulty: Moderate Servings: 3-4 people Preparation time: 40-50 m

If you want to surprise your guests try with this popular street food from the south of France.

A fabulous and different vegan option to the also french “galette sarrasin” made of chickpea flour instead of buckwheat as the classical one.

The socca, made simple and plain is perfectly delicious in its own way, but as usual, life it’s always better with olives.

What we need : chickpeas, red onions, oil cured olives, sun-dried tomatoes, spinaches and olive oil.

The “pancake” is made in a small bowl, mixing together the flour, water, salt and oil. Let it sit for a few hours or overnight (no need to refrigerate).

Now we only need to cook the rest of the ingredients. Red onion until it’s caramelized, the olives, the dry tomatoes and the spinaches in a pan. Once ready, blend it with the galette mix and put it in the oven to bake for 20 minutes (until it slightly browns around the edges).

Surprisingly easy, surprisingly tasty !

 

Spicy Peanuts with pimiento olives from Spain

Level of difficulty: easy Servings: 3-4 people Preparation time: 30 m

Fresh, easy and very tasty. Toasted peanuts, red chili, black pepper, a bit of garlic and pimiento olives from Spain.

Now, let’s prepare it.

First, Crush the roast fennel seeds, ajwain and black pepper seeds.

Chop fresh oregano finely and put into the bowl. Finally add the olives and peanuts.

Second round, crush the garlic cloves and add, crush the red chillies and dried mixed herbs and mix all together.

Heat extra virgin olive oil, add sea salt to the olives and mix well. Pour the warm olive oil over the blend and mix them up.

How to marinate: Transfer the mixture into a bottle for 3-4 days before serving.

If any doubt, watch the video below !

 

Pasta with roasted tomatoes, chickpeas and olives.

Level of difficulty: Moderate Servings: 2-3 people Preparation time: 40-50 m

This dish came together from a mishmash of what you would perfectly had on your fridge. Pasta, chikpeas, cherry tomatoes, olive oil or vegan butter, dried basil, and of course, black olives.

Chickpeas add a richness, creaminess and a different touch from the classic pasta, oil, basil and cherry tomatoes one.

How we do: Roast the tomatoes, roast the chickpeas, add the blend of coconut cream, vegan butter and olive oil and lemon as a sauce, add the olives and the most important, the presentation.

To serve distribute pasta between two bowls. Top with the tomatoes, chickpeas, olives, fresh parsley, spray the rest of the lemon zest and serve immediately.

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Mediterranean Lifestyle is not only a Diet

April 24, 2018

We are tired of hearing about the Mediterranean diet. We promise one last time, but a different one.
The Mediterranean diet is based on the eating patterns in the Mediterranean region and focuses on fruits, vegetables, fish, whole grains and healthy fats. A diet not invented, but discovered, is now recognized as one of the healthiest dietary patterns. The difference, it is not limited to number of days, or any other typical diet schedule, it’s a forever kind of thing. To get the health benefits associated with the Mediterranean diet, you need to embrace the lifestyle.

More important than the food, the company.
There are no food restrictions in the Mediterranean diet. Everything is pretty much allowed. It focuses on grains and vegetables, fiber and lean proteins from nuts and seafood, and far less on fatty meats. But beyond sharing a meal, the Mediterranean culture cultivates a balanced social life and a certain connectedness to the people who matter. Meals are not rushed in front of the computer and shoved down as quickly as possible. Lunch can be a 1 ½ to 2-hour event. And
yes, we get a daily glass of red wine, to help the socializing 😉 That’s the life!

Healthy in an intrinsic way
Classified it as “heart healthy” due to its likelihood to reduce the risk for heart diseases. A recent study published in the New England Journey of Medicine found that incorporating more olives and nuts may help reduce the risk of heart disease by about 30% in who are at high risk.

Skip the gym. Just move, naturally.
Mediterranean people do not specifically spend two hours a day for heavy lifting at the gym. But, that doesn’t make them inactive.
Mediterranean people are not definitely gym-lovers. The 80% of the people who newly joined the gym on January will drop off by mid February, already done.
Supporting the natural movement, a moderate exercise like a daily walk, is an effective and sustainable healthy habit.
Nothing is too convenient, so moving is a natural practice for people of the Mediterranean. Walking as a mean of transport is very common if not necessary, offering an efficient form of daily exercise. An early morning run on the beach or a walk after dinner is common practice. And when they want to do something leisurely, they go out for a walk. Less stress, more living outdoors.

Don’t give up with munchies, make them healthier.
Getting obsessed with over eating low-fat here, low-fat there makes no sense in the Mediterranean area.
Meals are centered round seasonal, locally grown fruits and vegetables. Condiments, cookies, and crackers, if they exist are reduced to be enjoyed sparingly.
We would be lying if we said chocolate, cakes and pastries never made an appearance, but a piece of fresh fruit or dried fruit was a more regular dessert choice.

And the most important, fresh.
This area is rich in olive groves, offering a plentiful supply of fresh olive products. The sea offers fresh fish, shellfish and other seafood, while local markets sell fresh fruits and vegetables. Fresh and homemade are the two words that best describe home cooking near the Mediterranean.
Mediterranean people don’t buy too much of any one ingredient. The whole concept of buying in bulk remains foreign to them. Eating freshly matters, and they don’t mind making multiple trips to the market, on foot, mostly.
The Mediterranean Diet is not an effort, rather a daily practice for many Europeans. An ever-present reminder of how
life should be: healthier, more relaxed, and more balanced between work and play.

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Six Fresh Salads Made with Olives from Spain

May 4, 2018

Fresh summery vibes with olives, can you feel it?
The perfect excuse to add some color to your almost-summer days beyond the standard bowl of lettuce and salad
dressing.
Here is a couple of delicious summer salads, light and fresh made for perfect side dishes and ideal for summer picnics
and snacks. Let’s begin by the classics:

Cobb Salad
Made with a perfect combination of lettuce, hard-boiled eggs, cooked and diced chicken, sliced bacon, avocado, blue
cheese, cherry tomatoes, red sweet onion and manzanilla olives as the final touch.
For the dressing blend together vinegar, dijon mustard, olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Level of difficulty, no difficulty and amazing taste.

Mediterranean Tuna Salad
Do you think there’s any other salad in the world that combines better with hojiblanca Spanish olives? We don’t. As
simple as tasty, the mediterranean tuna salad is a fresh classic in any mediterranean table.
Amazing big red tomatoes, sliced cucumber, tuna, onion, hojiblanca olives and a dash of olive oil. Simple is better !
Now let’s increase a bit the imagination power and the difficulty.

Summer Salad with nectarines and olives from Spain
If you are one of those who don’t get enough with a lettuce-salad type, let us introduce you this fruity salad. Fresh as the
usual salads but a bit more consistent. Mixed with slices of sweet nectarine, peach or the fruit you like best, crunchy
toasted almonds and pitted hojiblanca olives from Spain. The combination of textures, flavours and colors makes it
delicious. So fresh so filling.


Slaw, Mint, Lime, Roasted Peanutsans and Olives from Spain.
Crunchy salad on the way. In a large bowl, whisk together the 7 ingredients (fresh ginger, fresh lime juice, cherry
tomatoes, a couple of scallions, fresh mint, queen pitted olives from Spain and chopped small green cabbage) except for
peanuts and the dressing. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 4 hours. After, sprinkle with peanuts before
serving and ready to eat !

And the final stars,
Strawberries Salad with Warm Cheese Croutons and olives from Spain.
If you really want to surprise your guests, try with something new. What would surprise more than strawberries in a
salad? Strawberries with warm cheese croutons, bingo !
This salad begins with simple mixed baby greens, sliced fresh strawberries, fresh cucumber and the rounds of breaded
and fried goat cheese together with the chopped olives, queen and hijoblanca to give the perfect salty combination. You
will be surprised that the olives combine with everything, even in this strawberry salad! De-li-cious.

Quinoa Berry Slaw Salad
We go further changing the main ingredient of any mediterranean salad, lettuce, cabbage or coleslaw for quinoa. Also
surprising, add berries. Blueberries and raspberries, a perfect combination with salty manzanillla olives from Spain. A
mix of flavors, all together with quinoa and red cabbage, radishes and carrots. The final trick, a dressing made of
buttermilk.


This summer, olives from Spain are the answer.