If you have been following this blog/newsletter, by now you have probably figured out that food in Pamplona is a major thing. And here is another food post. This time I am going to talk about “Almuerzos” in the street, you would call it an informal brunch.
The almuerzo is normally a little snack that we eat between breakfast and lunch. In Italy they call it an espresso, in Sweden is fica, here we call it pincho. But during the week of San Fermín everything changes and a small snack becomes into yet another meal. This time it is a very social event.
If you belong to a society you go there around 10 o’clock in the morning with your wife and kids. You meet your friends and their families there. Some of the men go to the kitchen to cook and the rest set the tables, if the weather is good, in the street, and if the weather doesn’t help you do it inside. The basic almuerzo is made of fried eggs with French fries, some Spanish ham cooked in home made tomato sauce, maybe red peppers and most of the times we have some “txistorra”. “Txistorra” is a kind of local chorizo, we can say that it is in the middle between what you know as chorizo and a sausage. You have to fry it and it is really tasty.
Of course it is all eaten accompanied with a lot of French bread. As it is 10:00 o`clock in the morning wine and beer is not normally on the table so you eat this with “café con leche” or at least the first part of it because by the time the almuerzo is ready it is going to be around 12:00 and it is time to start preparing lunch and when you are cooking you can start drinking wine. Of course, this wine theory is just a theory, and in most of the tables you will find wine….
But what about if you do not belong to a society? Well, what you do is to set a long table in the street right in front of your doorway of your apartment building, and all your neighbors will join together for almuerzo. You have heard right, your neighbors, the ones that you hate during the year, you love them during this week. When with neighbors, each one brings down something to share. I am still amazed how we do it, because everybody brings different things without saying what each one is bringing.
In either of the 2 situations (society or neighbors) the almuerzo starts when it starts, but ends when it ends, and trust me, it is normally late at night.