‘I’m in heaven!’ Joe crowed. ‘Do you realise that on my birthday, it’s the British Grand Prix, Moto GP…AND…the World Cup final? Wall-to-wall sport! Now, if you were to serve me tapas in the nude, it would be the best birthday ever!’
I snorted. As if! I was busy scraping away at two scratch-cards that Carrefour had given us on our last shopping trip.
‘Joe? Have a look at this! I think this means that if Spain win the World Cup, we win 130 euros!’
It was Joe’s turn to snort. ‘Huh! There’ll be a catch to it. Read the small print.’
I put the scratch-card away; Spain had to win the final before we could even think about claiming the prize.You’d think that the Spanish passion for sport wouldn’t touch us here in El Hoyo, but you’d be wrong. And the faster and louder the sport is, the more the Spanish adore it. Small boys on miniature motor bikes career around the village, imitating their Moto GP heroes, Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa. Likewise, most men in the village watch the Formula 1, rooting for their idol, Fernando Alonso. But these exciting sports pale into insignificance compared with every red-blooded Spaniard’s first love, FOOTBALL!
Joe’s birthday, July the 11th, arrived. It was a hot and sticky day, full of promise. Hurrah! Lorenzo won the Moto GP and Lewis Hamilton came second in the Formula 1. Unfortunately, Alonso wasn’t placed. But now the World Cup final approached, Spain versus Holland…
We’d noticed that the villagers had very little interest in Wimbledon, even though the winner was Nadal, a Spaniard. But football was a very different matter. All day, the excitement mounted. Crates of beer were chilled, tapas prepared, Spanish flags hoisted and by evening, every child and male was wearing a red David Villa shirt.
Televisions, three-piece suites and extra chairs were hauled out into the streets. El Hoyo was ready, Spain was ready, the starting whistle shrilled. The match began…
Roars of approval, advice and abuse were hurled at the Spanish players. An exciting game. The village groaned with one voice when Holland nearly scored. Then Spain missed a goal. More groans. Half-time and still no score. Full-time, and the score remained at 0-0. Extra-time…. Then finally – ‘GOOOOOOAL!!!!’ Spain had won the 2010 World Cup! Spain were the champions of the world!
Grown men wept, women clung to each other and people danced in the street. Fireworks whizzed into the night sky, accompanied by roars of elation. In the square, car horns blasted, guns were fired into the air and children screamed with excitement. The valley was an explosion of sound.
At three o’clock in the morning, Joe and I finally dropped into bed.
‘Next time we go shopping, we must remember to take those scratch-cards with us,’ I said, but Joe was already asleep.
Did Joe enjoy his birthday? YES! Did he enjoy the F1, the Moto GP and the football? Oh, yes! Did I serve him tapas? Yes, I did.
We haven’t been down the mountain on a shopping trip yet, so we don’t know if we really won 130 euros on those scratch-cards.
Oh, and I know what you’re thinking, did I serve him naked? No way, Jose…
My recipe of the month – Chorizo Stuffed Mushrooms Tapas
(Recipe courtesy of www.OrceSerranoHams.com)
These simple stuffed mushrooms with chorizo are one of the easiest hot Spanish tapas to make and taste delicious. For this recipe we used sweet chorizo or chorizo “dulce”. However, if you like your tapas spicy, use the hot chorizo or “picante” version. Both work well and make a tremendous display for any Spanish table.
You will need:
12 medium mushrooms
1 chorizo sausage
• Remove the stalks from the mushrooms then place the mushroom caps on a baking tray.
• Cut the chorizo into 12 thin slices and place one slice into each mushroom cap.
• Grate around 50g of Manchego cheese and sprinkle on top of the chorizo.
• Drizzle olive oil over the mushrooms.
• Bake in the oven on a medium heat for 20 minutes.
“a charming and funny expat tale” The Telegraph (UK)
“Weeks later you will be doing the dishes and recall some fleeting scene with chickens or mules or two old fools and laugh out loud all over again.” The Catalunya Chronicle