For those loyal customers, it will be no surprise that when you visit our humble shop you are greeted with not only a warm hello, but some freshly cooked chips; yes, you’re worth it. (Sometimes when the boss isn’t watching we also let you sample some of our fresh fruit based curry, yum!) But did you know that a little nibble is nothing new. We decided to take a look at nibbles and then see where our chips stack up with the rest.
Ok, so the Tarvin scenery is somewhat different to the capital of the basque region of Spain and we aren’t denying that on a day like today, our weather isn’t as great as the coastal city. Boasting a world famous football, handball and basketball team the city of Barcelona is also renowned for its nibble culture; tapas.
Ok, so Tapas is a meal in itself but its very nature is all about light bites. In fact we discovered that, the tapas “was born due to an illness, the Spanish king Alfonso the 10th, had to take small bites of food with some wine between meals. Once recovered from the disease, the wise king decreed that no wine was to be served in any of the inns in the land of Castile , unless accompanied by something to eat. This was a wise precaution to counteract the adverse effects of alcohol on those people who, through lack of money to buy a nourishing meal drank alcohol on an empty stomach.”
We’re pretty sure our chips have a very similar effect.
Filled with canals, churches and gondolas the north eastern city of Venice is a romantic getaway, Bond mystery location and where every February you get to wear a mask without looking out of place. (The festivity is called “carnevale” and is world famous for its flamboyance).
But the city of Venice is also famous for something called, Cicchetti. Available in little stores known as Bacari something like a wine bar but a little smaller and certainly more cosy and friendlier, Cicchetti have been keeping the people of Venice fed and happy for nearly 500 years. Italian food blog, Dellalo described the culture of Cicchetti as such; “years ago, a typical cicheto would have consisted of half a boiled egg with an anchovy on top, a stuffed olive or the classic slice of soppressa (a large cured Venetian salami) on a slice of grilled polenta, all held in place with a toothpick. As Italy and Venice became more affluent, the bàcari started to offer a wider choice of typical Venetian and regional appetizers. Today a whole range of tempting dishes will be laid out in a beautiful display, around which everyone gathers – sipping their wine and enjoying the delicacies while standing, which is the custom in most bàcari.”
Well, we’ve all watched a good western haven’t we. Clint Eastwood drops into a saloon and gives that stare that could scare a thousand men. Sitting at the bar, a well dressed, ageing and wise waiter would ask “what can I get you?”. Clint, being Clint, a shot of something, a nibble on something and then proceed to leave, having scared the world’s scariest of men.
But even today, in the Mexican capital you can still visit a traditional Cantina. Ageing chairs, flaky paint and, unsurprisingly, an ageing barista you can feel like Clint Eastwood himself, without having to scare anyone.
Serving small drinks, the nibbles available range from, botanas, (a little bowl of shrimp soup, as shellfish is believed to be good for hangovers), but the lunch menu extends to such staples as sopa Azteca (chicken, chilli, cheese, corn tortillas and avocado), a few tacos filled with cochinita pibil (pork cooked with bitter oranges and chilli), birria de chivo (spicy goat kid stew) or torta de pavo (turkey slathered with nutty, hot and often chocolaty mole sauce between two large bits of bread.)
So there you go, three cities across the world known for their traditions in the art of nibbles. Yes, they won’t lift your spirit like a golden, crispy, soft on the inside, crunchy on the outside chip; but at least they have the weather, right?
Whilst we’re based in Tarvin we like to think that we’re bringing the best of British to all of our customers, but if you want to call us your bacari or cantina, we won’t be offended; here’s to the art of the nibble, we indeed, salute thee!