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The fighting chickpeas

Tapas, as I'm sure you know, are little snacks. They used to come as freebies when you ordered a drink in a Spanish bar and sometimes they still do but it's more normal nowadays to simply order a tapa along with your drink and stump up for it at bill time.

Tapas routes have become relatively common. A number of bars agree to provide a snack and a drink at a fixed price and the organisers find some little gimmick to hold it all together.

On Thursday there was a chap in front of me in the supermarket queue wearing a short skirt, a long cloak, a plumed brass helmet and carrying a sword. Normally I'd find this a little odd except that this week there have been people all over Cartagena in togas, funny headgear, furry boots and breastplates.

Cartagena was once the principal city on the Spanish peninsula for the North African state of Carthage. The struggle between Carthage and Rome is the theme for one of the biggest festivals here - Carthaginenses y Romanos. Parades, battles, performances, competitions and events taking place all over the city.

The organisers of our tapas route have given it the aspect of a battle. The thirty or so participating restaurants and bars have sided either with the Carthagineses or with the Romanos. We punters have to vote for the best ones and not only will some cook come out as the supreme champion but either the Romans or the Carthaginians will be able to chalk up another victory for their band.

I rather approved of the fighting spirit of the man who gave us the potted history of the chickpea as he handed over our hummus based tapa on Saturday evening. Introduced into Europe by the Carthaginians according to him.


  1. Now want the chick pea potted history or do I have to wait for the TIM magazine to come out?


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