Never satisfied by doing anything that might be conventional or obvious, our 2015 Christmas party took place in 2016. January 2016 to be precise.
We eschewed the typical party hats, turkey and crackers and instead decided that as die-hard foodies we ought to make our evening one of culinary adventure and discovery. With that in mind, we boarded the train and headed for Covent Garden and the little corner that after dark offers hungry Londoners a slice of Catalonia.
Barrafina on Adelaide Street ushered us downstairs to their private dining room which is lined on all sides with dusty bottles of Spanish wine, sherry and ports. To help us thaw out we were poured a schooner of Manzanilla upon arrival, and this dangerous precedent continued for an hour or so as the kitchen staff peered through the door at the worrying numbers of hungrey people they were soon required to feed.
As the sherry worked its magic we lined up the first playlist of the evenining, a mix of ‘Hispanic, Funk, Soul and Dub’, possibily the only people on planet earth to be pairing those styles at that time. As the soundscapes of Barcelona and Kingston Town blended, we were then presented with a blur of starters – from chilli scallops, roasted peppers, soft shell crab, roasted artichokes and many many more – all of which were picked clean within minutes of reaching the table.
And if the free-flowing alcohol wasn’t enough to encourage embarrassment amongst us all, then the party games were sure to do that. If it wasn’t a dance off competition, it was picking up Maltesers through a straw – I think there was a drawing competition also, but to be honest the evening is something of a blur to me at this point. I know there was laughter, excellent tunes (can you tell it was me that did the playlist?) and a lot of very fine food.
So, some knowledge. Where do we get ‘tapas’ from? Well I’m glad you asked. Because I’ve literally just looked it up on Wikipedia. Tapas comes from the Spanish word ‘tapa’ meaning ‘cover’ or ‘lid’ – this was because in times gone by, customers in Spanish ‘bodegas’ would ‘cover’ their glasses of sherry with chorizo or bread to prevent those pesky fruit flies from getting at the good stuff.
So now you know. Thank you Barrafina for some very fine lids.