Bring back the bodega!

A short history of Seville, Spain — in 150(ish) words

For a city that receives 2898 hours of annual sunshine, it was unfortunate that it rained for almost the entire time I was in Seville. But that turned out to be a blessing in disguise: it just meant that I could spend more time in cafes, bars and bodegas.

My favourite was Bodega Santa Cruz, near the Royal Alcázar, with its montaditos de pringa (simple little sandwiches of slow-cooked beef/pork), berenjenas con miel (thinly sliced fried eggplant drizzled with honey), carrillera iberica (braised pork cheeks) and cheap draft beer poured (frequently) into half pints.

Looking back now, it’s depressing to think just how un-COVID-friendly Spain’s bodegas are: low ceilings, close quarters, few windows; patrons sharing crowded tables or standing shoulder-to-shoulder at the bar; orders shouted to servers, servers shouting back; plates passed freely from hand to hand. The very atmosphere that gives these places their life is precisely what needs to be avoided in order for COVID-19 to disappear :(

Photos by Mark Bessoudo