Scoffing with the elite

A few weeks ago I got the best commission ever from a magazine. They offered to pay me an enormous amount of money (relatively speaking, for these penurious times) to write an article about ‘deli-dining’ in Valencia. Admittedly, it was my idea, but I’m not going to look a gift Finn in the mouth! Contrary to the old saying, “Beware of Greeks baring gifts”, if someone offers to pay me to visit some of the best delicatessens in Valencia then who am I to say, “No, sorry, I’m busy that day.”

Despite what the general hoi-poloi might think, the life of a run-of-the-mill journalist isn’t one of free beanos and all-expenses-paid jaunts. Far from it, these days most of us need a second job just to survive, (and this really is the point where you ask for my bank account number to drop a few quid in), but just now and then God smiles and drops a little something in our begging bowl.

I have a phrase I use in Spanish as a bit of a joke, “Soy Ingles; no soy tonto. No es la misma cosa!” “I’m English; I’m not daft. It’s not the same thing!” People usually laugh, but, believe me, chuck, sometimes it pays dividends!

Part of the fee for the article is that I have to provide photos. Not a problem, I do it all the time, but here we’re talking about food – good food, posh food, food I wouldn’t normally eat from one year’s end to the next, at least without the beneficence of a sugar mummy, who, at my time of life are a bit scarce on the horizon.

So it’s only fair, isn’t it…purely for the sake of quality reportage of course… that I ask each of the establishments to prepare a couple of their best plates to photograph…and of course I need a red and white wine to allow me to show off their luscious gastronomy to its best advantage. Need I say more?

For five days I breakfasted, lunched and dinnered in a selection of temples to gastronomy where a short while ago I would have considered it a step up in my social calendar to have merely pressed my nose up against the window, in a tremulous Dickensian sort of way. I have been wined, dined, smiled at and accepted as a part of the über gastronomos of Valencia.

What a bugger to come back down to earth!

If you would like to know more about Spain, visit my web site, www.derekworkman-journalist.com , and Spain Uncovered.

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