Ode to Spain- Foodie Style

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It has been a total of 2 days since returning off my holiday to Salou with my friend Amy, and I am already distraught. I am distraught that I can no longer wake up in the middle of Spain, with the notion of a banquet of breakfast foods just downstairs, distraught because I can’t just go for a pleasant stroll down the beach, distraught that I’ll never taste the sweet taste of Radison diet biscuits ever again (unless I go back, of course). I don’t know when I’ll get back into the routine of walking to work and enduring hours of crap day time television with the soundtrack of rain battering against my window, but I must go on.

I’m writing this post today mostly so I can relive my 11 days of bliss, and remember some of the best (and fattening) food days I have encountered so far. I have honestly never eaten so much in all my 21 years, and for someone that is quite regimented with their food, I sure as hell put it all away. There was no way on this planet I was going to give up the opportunity to stuff my face 24/7. I was on holiday, of course.

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When we arrived on afternoon of Friday 2 May, we were both starving hungry and after discovering dinner wasn’t being served until 8pm, we ransacked the supermarket. Or the supermercat, as the Spanish would call it. I love browsing foreign food shops, and you can’t go on your hols and not eat an entire bag of Walker rip-offs ‘Lays’ which is what we did, along with the most delicious and fresh platter of fruit. This included melons of all kinds, orange segments and grapes. You’re probably thinking we’re crazy for gorging on fruit the second we get off the plane, we even got laughed at by the locals (fruit?!), but alas the healthy treat soon turned into mountains of ice cream. Don’t you worry.

We were staying in the H10 Vintage hotel right in the heart of Salou, and I can honestly say it was beautiful. It was jam-packed full of arm chairs and sofa’s to die for, oversized lighting, geometric tiled floors and the bars were rammed with the biggest coffee, tea and liqueur collection you’ve seen. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to try any of the hotel’s alcoholic beverages whilst we were there, but the morning freshly ground coffee and peppermint tea was exactly what was needed.

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We were on a half board package, and I can honestly say that this hotel had the best food for choice and quality, in both breakfast and dinner. Breakfasts included a choice of either grilled sandwiches, crepes, or churros from the live-cooking station, which alternated each day, alongside an entire bench of fresh baked bread and pastries, a good selection of cheeses and ham, cooked choices such as beans, fresh tomatoes, eggs cooked 4 ways and meats, and also a good variety of fresh and dried fruit, cereals and even a diet section. I mentioned earlier the diet biscuits which became mine and Amy’s food love over the holiday, like little squares of wholegrain goodness that we couldn’t, for our lives, find in the shops. I miss them greatly.

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The choice at dinner was equally, if not better, as breakfast time. I regularly dined on massive plates of fresh salad, with a different pasta dish each day. They also served big steaks of tuna dowsed in tomato sauce, steamed and buttered vegetables and also a good selection for those less adventurous in food like frites and fish nuggets (these were all prepared freshly and weren’t the slightest bit greasy or processed!) The live-cooking station also put on a selection of juicy burgers, paella, and couscous with salmon flakes.

And then their was dessert. Despite my love of baking, I don’t often have dessert at the end of my meal as I tend to keep my sweet treats for breakfast (those of you that know me personally, know my love of peanut butter). However, I wasn’t going to pass the dessert table like it didn’t exist, especially when they bought out the chocolate fondue. My favourites included rice pudding with cinnamon, baked apples, cheesecake, chocolate fondant and the almond and jam sponge. Amy and I got quite good at negotiating the pudding pond, and managed to spilt all the cakes in half so we could have a bite of everything. WE’RE ON HOLIDAY, REMEMBER?

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Now, the breakfast and dinner service at the hotel were served 12 hours apart and I cannot go for this long without food. I get hangry, a whole wave of grouchiness crashes over me and I start thinking irrationally about ways I could murder those around me. However, knowing that I was definitely eating twice the amount in just breakfast and dinner than I usually do, I either snacked on an ice cream (giant ice creams), sweets, or I enjoyed a cocktail in the sun, and I found this kind-of sufficed until our evening meal.

I’m not a big drinker, in fact I don’t drink at all at home except for very special occasions, but we found some really exciting ones to try so I didn’t want to give them a miss. My first one was a dark rum, amaretto and orange juice concoction which produced that beautiful sunset colour up there, and Amy enjoyed an extremely minty mojito.

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We also found the best cocktail and cabaret bar called Chaplin’s whilst we were trying to find one of our listed attractions. They’re known for their amazing fresh fruit cocktails and live entertainment so if you’re in the area then I would definitely recommend! We tried their most popular drink ‘Madame JoJo’s’ , which included strawberries and strawberry liquer and lots of ice, and also a raspberry & coconut cocktail and, my personal favourite, the lemon meringue pie which tasted exactly like it’s description.

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You can’t go on holiday and not have an ice cream, so ice cream we ate. And a lot of it. On our second day, we went straight in with the giant sundae of hazelnut, strawberry cheesecake, cake batter, and coconut flavours, topped off with a strawberry, caramel sauce and a wafer. On our 4th day, after a 20 mile walk and some majorly burnt toes, we treated ourselves to these badboy’s (modelled by our beautiful Amy). We bought them off the sweetest old Spanish lady, and I chose banana and creme brulee, whilst Amy had ferrero rocher and coconut. The waffle cones were almost as good as the ice cream. Promise.

Ice cream adventures didn’t end there though. Our hotel did a good selection of their own, and I tested the melon and the cinnamon infused lemon scoop which were both extremely fresh.

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We ate out a couple of times too, on the days where we were enjoying excursions and simply couldn’t wait any longer for the hotel dinner service. We first time, we chose a pizzeria on the beach front where we got served crusty bread and garlic infused olive oil before our pizzas came out. I got the vegetarian one which was crammed full of green peppers and mushrooms. I even finished off Amy’s, because I am one fat lady.

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Barcelona also held a lot of treats for us, and we were confronted with almost too much choice. We wondered around for a good while before we found a very-posh looking restaurant over looking the harbour. For those of you that have visited a Pizza Hut, you will probably have heard their amazing backing music playlist of The Bill and Coronation Street theme tunes, with some Destiny Child thrown in the mix too. I can safely say that this place topped it with Ghostbusters and then, inappropriately, the Titanic soundtrack which is something I don’t want to be serenaded with whilst hanging over the ocean.

However, despite this the food was very lovely. I ordered a confit of cod with chargrilled vegetables and Amy went with the panko and coconut crusted chicken and chips. I honestly haven’t tasted cod so nicely seasoned before, and it went perfectly with the vegetables as it wasn’t very heavy and was exactly what my poor tummy needed after everything I had put it through that week. This was then reverted back after I purchased the biggest bag of pick n’ mix and tea to munch on whilst watching the beautiful fountain display.

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I could literally sit here all day and write about all of the glorious food and drink we consumed, and also the sights that we saw but we’d be here for a very long time and my wrists are getting sore. For those that are planning or have booked a holiday in Salou, or surrounding areas then I definitely recommend it, and I hope you’ll have a lovely time as Amy and I did! I’ll be taking away some of the best memories with me, and I’ll definitely be sharing an ode to Spain recipe tomorrow but you’ll just have to bare with me whilst I grieve for sun, sea and sandy beaches.

Happy Holidays 🙂

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