Monday, April 25, 2005

In a surprise move, the President of the Galician government has brought forward the provincial elections by several months. A number of astute political reasons have been adduced for this but it seems to me that, when you're pushing 83 and seeking re-election for another 5 years, every day counts.

The new Pope’s first press conference has not gone down too well in Spain as he spoke only in German, English and French. But you can hardly fault this sense of grievance when over half the world’s Catholics have Spanish as their first language.

It’s unlikely that Spanish cuisine will ever be much of a threat to that of its northern neighbour but this is not to say there’s an absence of culinary passion. At dinner last night, I was advised that there are 16 key criteria for the preparation of perfect octopus. These include the copper cooking pot, the wooden serving tray and the precise angle of tentacle slice. Even more surprising was the assertion that the best octopus in Galicia is not to be found along the coast but in a town way up in the mountains, a full hour inland. I can’t help wondering whether this is due to its proximity to a village which is said to have become fabulously wealthy on the back of the prostitution trade in Argentina. I must go up and ask.

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