The problem with having a holiday early in the year is that by the time everyone else is having theirs, you feel ready for another one. I’m currently craving the warm sun and gentle breeze of Ibiza in May, together with copious amounts of tapas and maybe a glass or two of sangria (I say sangria but I’ve also been known to mix my red wine with coke). And when you can’t fulfil your holiday cravings properly, you have to do the next best thing: recreate that holiday feeling at home for a fraction of the price.
So, in order to make this happen, I went to check out the pork lovers tour (yes, that’s really a thing and it even has its own hashtag #porkloverstour2018) when they were winding their way round the UK celebrating Spanish pork and ham, healthy eating, and balanced diets.
Look out for the absolutely unmissable pink tour bus bringing cooking workshops and demos to a town near you. The tour is supported by the EU to promote the benefits of Spanish pork produce, its sustainability and welfare.
There I learned to tell my Serrano from my Iberico and my Chorizo from my Salchichón, ready to give my staycation a taste of summer.
Holidaying at Home
The key to a good staycation is to take time off work and forget your household chores, wear your holiday clothes, and to have a theme – including food and music. Enjoy a chilled out Café del Mar style sunset soiree on the patio, a family gathering with the Gypsy Kings on Spotify or cocktails in the paddling pool with the latest Balearic beats. String up some fairy lights, use some Mediterranean terracotta style earthenware or find the biggest wooden chopping board you’ve got, and be grateful you’re not waiting in airport queues!
Of course the most obvious and easy way to add a taste of summer to a Spanish style staycation is tapas. Most supermarkets do their own ranges of Spanish inspired tapas which makes life easier and I’m all about that. Occasionally though, on those super hot days when you can’t be bothered to put the oven on (and let’s face it – there’s nothing very holidayish about cooking) you can do a decent sharing board with cold meats, breads, and nibbles.
I had a go at creating a mediterranean taste of summer with finely carved serrano ham, Salchichón (similar to salami), manchego cheese, rotillos of cheese wrapped in Spanish ham, mixed olives with feta, rustic bread, sun blushed tomatoes, fresh gigs, chargrilled artichokes, stuffed peppadew peppers, with cheese and tomato pastries. I’ve got about a million ramekins left over from pâté, mousses, and other bits and bobs which are perfect for putting little nibbles in – and it never matters if they don’t match because that adds to the charm. If you haven’t got anything like that then you can place them all on a wooden board, and it’ll look great and be perfect for grazing.
With the perfect combination of sunshine, music, and the key ingredients of Spanish ham and tapas nibbles, I’m beginning to think that I could have a mini holiday at home every weekend.
Gracias to the guys from Spain at non-profit organisation Interporc who were good enough to sponsor me to eat tapas and feel summery.