Is It Breakfast?

24 Jul

This is a “taste” of what’s to come in my next novel, tentatively titled Sacrifice.

In her first breakfast in Spain, Nara Blake enjoys a chocolate croissant and café con leche for breakfast. Maybe not what super health conscious people would consider a good breakfast, but she is on vacation. Sort of. That’s about the only time I eat chocolate croissants. And meals in Spain are very different from what we are accustomed to in the United States.

Breakfast, or “desayuno,” is usually just as I described, a pastry of some sort, and coffee.

Croissants, which originated in Austria but achieved huge popularity in France, are popular in Spain as well. They are made of a light, flaky dough into which butter has been folded, something like a puff pastry.

You wonder why I am telling you all this, when croissants are quite common in the United States. Even Burger King makes a croissant sandwich. At least I think so. I haven’t been to a Burger King in decades.

But croissants in Europe aren’t the same. European croissants are smaller. You know how we tend to want everything super-sized in the U.S. European croissants contain less sugar and more butter, making them lighter and flakier, and less sweet than those on this side of the Atlantic.

That being said, authentic croissants can be found in this country, if you visit an authentic French bakery. And sadly, many places in France have started using pre-made frozen croissants which they simply bake up in the morning. 

The chocolate ones are referred to as “pain au chocolate.” Literal translation – bread with chocolate.

But back to Spain. “Desayuno” is not meant to be a breakfast to get you through a day of physical labor. But not to worry. The Spanish traditionally have a break in late morning for “almuerzo.” In Latin America, “almuerzo” refers to lunch as we know it, but historically in Spain, this is a small meal before the major afternoon meal. Yes, you read that right, a meal before a meal. This can be a time for “tapas” or small plates, although tapas are also popular in the late afternoon. It could be a “tortilla,” which in Spain is like an omelet with potato and onion. 

So Nara and her husband Alex enjoyed their croissants for “desayuno,” before strolling around the village and then stopping for a little “almuerzo” before they go to meet the priest who will hand over the notebooks of a British artist who died in Spain during the Spanish Civil War.

I am looking forward to the day I can travel to Spain again – more delicious food, more adventures, more ideas for fiction. Until then, back to the work of writing.

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