An excerpt from the newly published Made in Spain: Recipes and stories from my country and beyond, by Miriam Gonzalez Durantez makes an excellent whistle stop tour of Spain, it’s distinct regions and the food, culture and geography which characterises them.
To the outsider Spain appears all Tapas, Sangria and sunshine. Many a British buyer has decided to make a permanent home here purely on this basis, and does not regret their choice. If however, you are more discerning about where and how to make your Spanish home, greater consideration of each region, its politics, religious influences, social habits, many and varied dishes and, of course the suitability of its living accommodation is in order.
This is why we think Gonzalez Durantez makes such a worthwhile read. She evokes the colourful pageantry of Andalusia, the orange-groves of touristy Levante and the sophisticated French-influenced Catalonia - to name just three - perfectly. You can't talk about Spain without touching on food, as she goes on to explain food-centred customs such as tapas and sobremesas properly, both so central to the lively debate and sociability that permeates Spanish life.
Of course being transported by words on a page is still no substitute for immersing yourself in the place itself. So once you have your shortlist, arrange a viewing at one of the many properties for sale in Spain to discover where in this diverse country you belong.
Spanish towns have many terraces. But those of us from villages have our own version of the terraces, too. My childhood memories are full of images of my family taking a few chairs outside the main door of my grandparents’ house in the afternoons. My grandma would prepare the beans for lunch the following day and my grandfather would tell us stories about the past while we all ate sunflower seeds.