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Tonight’s dinner:  Valdeón blue cheese, Serrano ham and fresh bread.  In my glass:  2010 Quinta de Gomariz Alvarinho, a Portuguese version of the Spanish Albariño wine.  Rich, fresh, utterly delicious.

When I first studied in Spain, I remember feeling somewhat perplexed with the idea of dinner at 10 pm.  On top of that, “dinner” was almost nothing, no series of meat/potato/vegetable.   In stark contrast, I had no trouble adjusting to the heavy midday meal, served around 2 pm.  Fresh soups, fresh cooked french fries, meat and bread from the bakery that morning.  That was pretty cool.

The adjustment did not take long.  Now, when I am faced with a light dinner, like tonight with a mixture of strong flavors, tempered by the bright wine and fresh bread, well, it is a psychic delirium.

I am in Philadelphia for a convention.  When in Philly, one must visit the establishments of the José Garcés empire.  Tonight’s dinner comes from his Garcés Trading Company.

Yum.  Heaven on Earth.


About Claire Ziamandanis

Claire Ziamandanis is Professor of Spanish at The College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY. Over her 20 years at the college, she has been a champion for study abroad, establishing the first affiliation for Spanish students, and then working with the Study Abroad office to open the doors to students from other majors. Claire loves travel, food, wine and Spanish but not necessarily in that order!


  1. When did you leave for Philly? Who is home with our kids?

  2. I used to horde food in my room when I lived in Spain for the same reason; the late night dinner killed me.

  3. I’m starting to wear a bib around my neck whenever I read your postings…

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