It would seem that everyone has a food allergy or intolerance nowadays, except it would seem to bad taste. According to a report by the EAE Business School, Expenditure on Fast Food 2015, fast food revenues are on the increase.
In Spain, where the least amount of fast food is consumed in Europe after Italy, fast food revenues have increased by 6% year on year, since 2013. It would seem that the Mediterranean diet is under threat. However, before we start tutting over the Spaniard's imminent topple from grace let's look a little closer at the figures and where exactly the money on fast food is being spent...
The regions that spent the most on fast food in 2014 were the Balearic Islands, the Canary Islands and Madrid. Of those, the Balearic Islands of Mallorca, Menorca and Ibiza are recorded as having spent more than double the Spanish average (€98 compared to €43). What do these places have in common? They're big tourist hot-spots.I would hazard a guess that, whilst the Spanish are not avoiding Mucky D's and KFCs like the plague, a good percentage of the revenue is from tourists. So why are people scoffing burgers and fried chicken rather than savouring the delights of fresh fish and seafood, paella or any of the myriad of delicious local dishes that can be bought inexpensively, and in far nicer surroundings, than a fast food joint?
|this - estofado tapas?|
|This, a McD burger,|
Having accosted numerous people outside a Spanish McDonald's the answers were invariably along the lines of: 'It's cheap', 'I know what everything is', 'I can understand the menu' and 'It's quick'. Uh-hello! The Spanish are brilliant at quick and cheap - tapas! As for 'I know what everything is', dear god, where is your sense of adventure? It didn't help that I was hormonal on the day I confronted these people but, by golly, I wanted to bash their brains out with my notebook for being so fucking unadventurous. As it was, feeling thoroughly dejected, I stomped off in search of said tapas, and for the princely sum of €1,50 had a glass of ice-cold beer, a basket of bread and a generous helping of estofado (very yummy stew).
It was lovely and not only did I get good food at a good price, I got to savour the atmosphere of a Spanish bar at lunchtime with the cacophony of conversation from casually smart businessmen to the old man who'd been propping up the corner of the bar since his first manzanilla at 10 that morning.
Of course, tapas is not the only solution and Spain offers meals for all palettes and purses - from Michelin-starred restaurants to beach chiringuitos or the road-side ventas. By stepping outside of your comfort zone you can discover, and yes - enjoy, new dishes and by doing so understand the Spanish culture a little more. It will also greatly increase your chances of NOT being bashed about the head by an irate, notebook-bearing red-head.