Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Oranges, tapas and flamenco

There is a bit more to Seville than just the historical monuments described in my last post. Among other things, Seville is also a city of orange trees, tapas and flamenco.

In Seville -- as in other Spanish cities, but Seville is where I really noticed it -- ornamental orange trees line the streets, plazas and courtyards, their ripening fruit hanging like living Christmas decorations. Orange trees are everywhere. Apparently the ornamental fruits are not edible, but edible varieties must be grown elsewhere, for freshly squeezed orange juice is available everywhere as well. They have these amazing juicing contraptions, where you feed in whole oranges, peel on, and out rushes the delicious de-pipped juice.

Tapas bars are also prevalent in Seville. We ate in several, ordering dishes to share such as:
- sauteed spinach and chickpeas
- tomato and fetta salad
- fried chicken with 3-cheese sauce
- spicy potatoes
- fried goats' cheese with blackcurrent sauce
- pigs' cheeks
- mushroom/asparagus omelettes
- potato tortillas (aka Spanish omelette)
These are traditionally eaten by friends standing around bar tables with fork in one hand, drink in the other... Everyone eats from the shared plate. The drink here, incidentally, seems to be 'summer wine', which is red wine mixed wiht lemonade. Yum!

Seville/Andulucia is the home of flamenco, and we attended a performance, which was amazing. There were three performers: a flamenco guitarist (I could have listened to and watched him for hours), a singer (the gutteral/nasal flamenco style takes a bit of getting used to, but I loved the passion and ultimately the sound as well), and a single female dancer. The dancer was a visual focal point when she was on stage, and the sheer energy and passion she put into the dance was incredible. It's a strange style of music and dance, and I felt I wanted to understand it more. Evidently there are about six different styles of flamenco, and I have no idea which ones we saw... Nor do I have any idea what the songs were about. The hour went very quickly indeed.

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