Monday 17 February 2014

Fideuà on the Beach.

It was the last day of our Spanish holidays. We checked into our room at the Hotel Mediterrani in Calella de Palafrugell. The woman behind the desk was one of those efficient but cold types. Luckily Lluis stepped in. We'd had an email chat whilst booking. I'd mentioned that I was looking for a sea view as it was our anniversary (well it was the same month anyway) and it transpired that he'd got married in the same year. He remembered us and stepped in to take over the booking. I could tell that she was going to put us in the basement. (We're as obsessed with hotel rooms as we are restaurant tables/seats).
I opened the blinds of our room on the top floor and was greeted with the view, the glittering sea and the beach below us. Perfect! 
We changed into our swimmers in super quick time. Come on, no time to waste, we have to get on the beach before all the Spanish get there and bag all the best spots. We hurried down and then spent the next 10 hours at the waters edge, sitting, reading and swimming with the fish. Instead of the little boquerones you usually get, these were big 10 inch silver fish, it was like swimming in an aquarium. People threw bread in to watch them thrash about.
Later, I asked Lluis where's good for Fideuà? On the last day of our holidays, we traditionally have a paella, but we'd had memories of this dish several years ago when we were in Catalonia last time. It's similar but instead of rice, they use thin noodles like vermicelli. He pointed us to the restaurant below on the beach, The Fiego. Every table was taken but they told us to come back at 10.
There's something so very Spanish about eating dinner at 10 with your feet in the sand, something that's just not possible in the UK. The Fideuà was brought over to us and like a paella, it's so big, it gets its own table. I love the theatrics of this. The waiters always make a big thing of serving it with giant silver spoons. We dug in. I was disappointed. It wasn't like I remembered at all. This was way too bland, it needed more stock, more flavour. Still we made the best of it and peeled the giant prawns, licking our fingers on the juices.
So perhaps this wasn't a totally perfect day, but it's as close as we got.

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