Thank you to Little Tiger for inviting me to take part in the Blog Tour for this stunning book. Today, I am excited to share a wonderful post from Sophie Cameron where she shares her Top 10 Spanish snacks – I just need a trip to Spain to try them out! I’m also sharing my review of this exceptional story.
Top 10 Spanish snacks by Sophie Cameron
My new book Away With Words is about an 11-year-old girl, Gala, who moves from Spain to Scotland to live with her dad and his boyfriend. Gala is initially very homesick, and amongst the many things she misses from Spain are the snacks and sweets. I’ve lived in Spain for almost seven years, so for me it’s the other way around (I have a sweet tooth and there are times I would pay ridiculous amounts of money for a Creme Egg) but I’ve come to enjoy a lot of Spanish snacks too. Here’s my top ten, in no particular order – look out for them next time you’re in Spain!
(Just to note, some of these aren’t exclusive to Spain and are also popular in South America, the Philippines or other parts of the world.)
1. Flaó. This is a type of cheesecake from Ibiza and Formentera, made with goat’s cheese and peppermint. (I’ve been told it has to be peppermint, not spearmint – just FYI for anyone who wants to try making it.) I’m not really a cheesecake fan but I find this delicious.
2. Kikos Gigantes. These are large grains of corn, fried or toasted and covered with lots of salt. I’ve spotted the regular-size ones in the UK, but I’m not sure you can get the giant ones.
3. “Campesina” crisps. Spanish supermarkets don’t have the wide variety of crisp flavours that their UK counterparts offer, but they do have the excellent “campesina” – this means “rural” or “country”, and they’re flavoured with tomatoes, onion, garlic and paprika.
4. ColaCao. This is a type of powdered chocolate drink that you can mix with hot or cold milk, famed for its “grumos” – the little lumps of powder that don’t dissolve properly, which are the best bit, in my opinion.
5. Ensaïmadas. This pastry is originally from Mallorca, and is shaped in a spiral with lots of powdered sugar on top. Gala’s step-dad, Ryan, attempts to make them from her in Away With Words, but he doesn’t get them quite right!
6. Coca. Coca is a type of pastry that’s popular in Catalonia and various other regions of Spain, with a base and toppings, rather like pizza. There are lots of varieties, either sweet or salty – I like “coca de sofrito”, which is made with onions and peppers and is typical of the Balearic Islands, and “coca de chocolate”.
7. Palmeras. These originate from France and are made and sold in lots of different countries – where they’re also referred to as pig’s ears, little hearts or eyeglasses – but they’re so ubiquitous in Spain that I can’t help but think of them as Spanish too. They’re made from puff pastry and covered in sugar or chocolate.
8. Pipas. Pipas are sunflower seeds, which are of course sold in lots of places, but Spain seems to have a wider range and I’ve heard many Spanish people lament that they’re just not the same abroad. I like BBQ flavour best but you can also get salted, bacon, ketchup…
9. Turrón. This is a Spanish staple at Christmas – a type of nougat made of honey or sugar, eggs and almonds or other nuts. There are dozens of different types, from raspberry and pistachio to crème brûlée or rum and raisin. As I said, I have a sweet tooth but even I have a pretty low limit on how much turrón I eat, as it’s extremely sweet.
10. Dinosaurus biscuits. These are my kids’ favourites but I end up eating them, too, much to their dismay. They’re biscuits shaped like dinosaurs but are weirdly delicious, salty and buttery at the same time.
Thank you to Sophie for sharing these delights. They all sound absolutely delicious – my very sweet tooth is calling out for turrón!
Away With Words is a truly exceptional story that completely gripped me: a story of family and friendship, of finding a way to be listened to and heard, and of the power of language.
Gala has moved with her dad from their home in Cadaqués in Spain to Fortrose in Scotland to live with her dad’s boyfriend, Ryan. Gala did not have a choice in the move and does not want to be there. She misses her old life, desperate to return to her friends, her flat, her grandmother and to be herself again. On her first day at her new school, she feels overwhelmed and lonely, barely understanding any of the words that fall from the mouths of those around her, as she is learning to speak English.
Gala lives in a world where words appear physically as they are spoken and where colours and fonts reflect emotions and give insight into their owner. Whilst most people ignore the fallen words as they are swept away or fade after a few days, Gala is surprised to find a girl taking someone else’s words. She discovers that this girl is Natalie who shares that she has an anxiety disorder, selective mutism, which means that she is unable to speak in school.
The girls find ways to communicate, and soon become firm friends. Natalie is an avid reader of words, and saves the words she collects that others have so easily created, using them to write poetry. When Natalie gives Gala a poem that she has written for her using the words she has gathered from her word-searching, they have a profound effect on Gala, having the power to make her feel better. The girls decide to write poems and secretly leave them for others who are in need of cheering up. This has the desired effect until someone else starts sending messages that are full of meanness … can Gala and Natalie prove that they are not behind the nasty messages … can they find a way to communicate which will allow them to be truly listened to and heard?
This is an incredible story that captured me wholeheartedly. I was completely fascinated by the concept of words manifesting physically, and even more so by the associated synaesthetic perceptions. The friendship which develops between Gala and Natalie is just gorgeous and I loved how they took risks and supported each other, but also how they reached out to others who they sensed were hurting too.
Words hold such power – the power to hurt and to heal, to blame and to free, and to hide and reveal. The courage and strength that both girls show as they unite to fight to have their truth heard brought tears – I found the imagery used beautifully poignant and it is something I will never forget. This is a powerful, thought-provoking and moving story that certainly does have a magical way with words. A must-read for those of 11+.
Do check out the other stops on the Blog Tour: