In the nicest possible sense, I’ve been around a bit. I’ve travelled far more than I ever dreamed would have been possible as a young kid and I’ve seen some incredible things over the years.
One thing that I really should have learned by now though is that local, regional food and drink, whilst fantastic in the place where you taste them, never seem to be quite the same once you get back home.
Only recently I was in Jerez de la Frontera, a jewel of an Andulucian city, and in the morning I tucked into a traditional breakfast. Molletto and coffee, served all the way through the morning is such a lovely thing, sat in the warm December sunshine, sucking in the atmosphere of the old town.
Its a simple thing, a Molletto. Bread, ham, tomato and olive oil. What could be difficult.
I told my friend how much I enjoyed it, and so, on the walk back home, we stopped in front of the café and he told me I could buy the proper Molletto bread. I bought a few and took them home with me.
Two days later, in my Breton kitchen, looking through the windows at low cloud and rain, with my freshly warmed Molletto bread, cerrano ham, freshly pressed olive oil and crushed tomato, explaining to the laydee of the house how fantastic these things are, the smell of toasted bread wafting round the kitchen, hot coffee on the wooden farmhouse table, and ……. it was alright.
That was it. Alright. Its like these crazy drinks, Brandy Sours in Cyprus for example, even a bottle of Pandemonium wine (or St Pantelemon as I believe the locals call it) somehow tastes subtly different if you drink it back home.
I know this of course, the breakfast “alright” fiasco wasn’t the first thing I’d tried, but the sense of disappointment was as strong as the very first time I tried to reproduce a travel memory, and every time since.
Only one thing for it, back to Jerez I must go and take the laydee of the house this time, so she can admire it in its proper surrounds.