December 4, 2013 by brainslightlyfermented
“We ate in pavilions on the sand. Pastries made of cooked and shredded fish and red and green peppers and small nuts like grains of rice. Pastries delicate and flaky and the fish of a richness that was incredible. Prawns fresh from the sea sprinkled with lime juice. They were pink and sweet and there were four bites to a prawn. Of those we ate many. Then we ate paella with fresh seafood, clams in their shells, mussels, crayfish, and small eels. Then we ate even smaller eels alone cooked in oil and as tiny as bean sprouts and curled in all directions and so tender they disappeared in the mouth without chewing. All the time drinking a white wine, cold, light and good at thirty centimos the bottle. And for an end, melon. That is the home of the melon.” ~ Pilar, describing Valencia, Spain in Hemingway’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls”.
I haven’t read much of Hemingway’s work, but let me tell you, I began reading For Whom the Bell Tolls and, man, so far all they do is drink wine in this book. This is a war novel on the Spanish Civil War and every other paragraph includes some reference to pouring more wine, trying to find more wine, or being worried that the wine will run out. I’m surprised they have any time to fight. I’m not very far into this book, but I read this beautiful account of one character’s time in Valencia and felt the need to share it.
As I said, I haven’t read much of Hemingway’s work but I’d highly recommend reading A Moveable Feast, Hemingway’s posthumously published memoir of his early years living in Paris with all the other ex-pats before he became famous. If you’ve seen Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, you absolutely should read this memoir. The book includes lots of great wine references and complaints about F. Scott Fitzgerald acting like a pansy.