Blogs in this series

Life in Culebrón is a disconnected series of pieces about the banal and ordinary of everyday life in an inland Alicante village seen from my very British perspective.

Saturday, November 05, 2016

Mossets it is

Mossets is, apparently, the Valencian language equivalent of tapa, or, in the plural, tapas. I presume that you know about tapas, it's one of those words that is now as English as coup or zeigeist. Tapas are little snacks.

Normally, around these parts we're not big on free tapas. You often get a handful of crisps, a few olives, or some nuts with your beer but it's an optional extra. It's not the same in Andalucia. The last time I was in Guadix I forgot that we had crossed a frontier and I made the typical foreigner abroad mistake of telling the waiter that I hadn't ordered the mini hamburger that he had just put down in front of me. In Andalucia substantial tapas alongside your drink are still dead common.

I think of the town I pay my rates to as being called Pinoso but, just to continue the Valenciano lesson, lots of people refer to it by its Valencian name of el Pinós. And the publicity says El Pinós a Mossets or something like Pinoso out for a bite to eat.

Tapas trails are a bit old hat nowadays. They've been around for ages. A bunch of bars and restaurants sign up to produce a tapa or two for the trail during a set period. Some organisation, like the local town hall or the chamber of trade, puts together a little leaflet or booklet which lists the participating establishments and what they have on offer. Usually it's a set price offer for a drink and a tapa. People do some or all of the route and usually vote for their favourite tapa with a prize draw included.

In my opinion Pinoso has never quite got this right. The first year of the route participants had to go to every bar if they wanted to vote and enter the prize draw. Not only did this make full participation relatively expensive and time consuming but it also meant that there was no real incentive for a bar to be innovative. Good for you if, as a bar, you mixed tastes and traditions in your tapa but punters still had to go to the bar offering a bit of ham on bread if they wanted to vote. It also took no account of personal likes and dislikes - you don't eat fish - tough luck, you're a vegetarian - forget it. A couple of the participating eateries were also out of town which was a bit of a snag if you didn't have transport. Actually living away from town is a disadvantage too. The set price is 2€ and includes a beer or a wine. If you want a soft drink it costs more. I'm sure though that the town hall has no interest in incentivizing drinking  and driving.

Despite my moaning we've been out of course. We've been to half a dozen places so far and one of the major improvements this time is that you "only" need to go to a dozen of the seventeen places participating. It's still too many but it is a step in the right direction.

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