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This segment is about culture with a small "c" emphasizing customs concerning food and meals.
Cultural items - Sometimes travelers are upset that there is no butter with their bread or that someone is sitting forever at the sidewalk café, long after they are done with their snack or meal. These observations reflect lack of understanding of the Spanish culture, and although cultures are blending and becoming more global and international, there still are some differences.
A Spanish breakfast is simply one or more of the following: Bread, Croissant, Toast, Pastries, Roll, Jam, Chocolate and churros Something sweet like pasty or a donut,
Drinks are usually: Hot chocolate coffee Tea or an infusión maybe be available too. Fruit juices. These can be from a variety of sources; bottle, carton or freshly squeezed.
Cena, the "midday" meal is served between 13.00 and 15.00 hrs. This is the main meal of the day, which usually consists of three courses. This is the best time of day to gab a bargain meal as this is when restaurants offer “menu del día”. This is today's special which is usually a good value. It's a three course meal, often with several choices for each course, all for a fixed price. It usually included bread and wine or water.
The evening meal is eaten between 21.00 and 24.00 hrs. At the restaurant or café, the customer has the right to stay until he is ready to leave. Then he asks for the bill. If there are many people waiting, that does not interfere with the customer's privilege. The waiter will give you the bill when you ask for it not before.
If the main meal is too late in the evening for you then maybe think about taking some tapas.* This is a bite to eat with a glass of wine or beer. A few places may offer something for free and if they do there is no choice in what you want. It is a case of take what is no the palate or not. Alternatively choose a ración, which are larger portions of the same ingredients as a tapa. When ordering tapas, it is cheaper to stand at the bar. If you want to sit at a table you pay the privilege.
*pintxos in Euskera
Table manners: Forearms should be on table; it is unacceptable to have hand in lap. Women never place their bags on the floor as it is considered bad luck and all the money will flow away. You will use the same knife and fork for the first and second plate. It is not important to put your cutlery on the plate when you have finished that the first course.