Kimchi back-blast, Hunting Elephants and thinking of Don Quixote
Meanwhile, another of the world’s dynamic leaders, King Juan Carlos of Spain, is doing his bit for Spanish moral and opted for the most sensible strategy on the country’s economic and social problems by putting the sign up on the front door of the Royal Palace in Madrid - "Gone Hunting".
It’s somewhat curious though, in this day and age, that a monarch would go shooting elephants, showing a disturbing lack of empathy towards animal ecology and the plight of the most majestic, intelligent and largest mammal on the planet. Is it just me, or does this seem completely out of synch with our current century?
Perhaps the king's hunting advisors chose elephants because of his failing eyessight with instructions that when the telescopic sight turns grey, pull the trigger. And yet I am still trying to picture the challenge in hunting elephants, driving up to a game reserve, in one's Land Rover, pulling the trigger then heading back to camp presumably with a set of tusks as a trophy.
As fate would have it, and it seems serendipitously just, the king got a bad case of Botswana belly and was seen moving at greater speed than ever heading towards the camp abolition block but slipped over on some elephant dung, falling and breaking his hip. How ironic indeed.
Meanwhile back in Spain, youth unemployment and economic misery continue, even if the Barcelona tapas bars are still full and the sherry flowing.
What someone should do is point out to King Juan Carlos that what Spain could do with is more tourism to help boost its ailing economy and perhaps when he recovers he could start conducting Royal Safaris of some of the more remote parts of Spain and hunt pig, that you can eat. And someone should send him a copy of Don Quixote, which I am sure he has a copy, but it might at the least prompt a bit of chivalry.
Meanwhile, I am quite serious about tourism in Spain, which has to be one of the fascinating destinations in the world with vast regions of countryside to explore, amazing history, rich culture and gastronomy.
I was recently inspired by a brilliant article at the hand of Paul Richardson in the Financial Times, “Pork on the wild side - A gastronomic tour devoted to ibérico ham includes watching a traditional pig-slaughtering fiesta” http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/2/4f171866-4359-11e1-8489-00144feab49a.html
So captivated by this tour of the Extremadura and Andalusia, the Wandering Palate and a gaggle of friends are taking a similar trip in October, my thoughts already preoccupied with ‘Nose to Tail Eating’.
As it happens, the company that runs the Pig Tour, A Taste of Spain, have also put together “The Ultimate Foodie Tour of Spain”, described as an “once-in-a-lifetime culinary tour through Madrid, La Rioja, the Basque Country and Catalonia”. 2012 departures are schedule for May 27 and September 30.
Some of the highlights are:
Savor the great food which Spain is famous for: from Tapas and Paella to Basque Gastronomic Societies and avant-garde cuisine
Immerse yourself in the vibrant culinary and cultural scene of Madrid, San Sebastian and Barcelona - with accommodation at 4 centrally located hotels
Visit the colourful Boqueria food market with our local expert chef and join him in a hands-on Mediterranean cooking class
Enjoy a second - truly unique - cooking class – this time at the famous members-only Gastronomic Society in San Sebastian
Taste and learn about extraordinary Rioja wines and Spanish Olive oils through private visits to traditional producers
Discover the fascinating world of Ibérico and Sherry wines on a special meal themed around these extraordinary products
Experience the diverse cultures, landscapes and foods of Spain by the hand of our local culinary guide
For a detailed itinerary and more on, A Taste of Spain, visit http://www.atasteofspain.com
There is also an amazing magazine called “Spain Gourmet Tour”, www.foodsfromspain.com Aside from the extraordinary content on the produce, food, cooking, wine, culture, history and travel in Spain, it is the classiest production I have encountered and remains so to this day, more on this at http://www.thewanderingpalate.com/produce/spain-gourmet-tour-%E2%80%93-an-unparalleled-magazine/
And I reckon we could all do with a good dose of the Quixotic, — “adj preoccupied with an unrealistically optimistic or chivalrous approach to life; impractically idealistic”