When I started secondary school, the subject I looked forward to studying the most was Spanish. My first family vacation was to Panama City when I was just four years-old. After that were trips to Margarita Island off the coast of Venezuela. I was fascinated with these people and the desire to learn the language never went away. I was fluent by the time I finished O-Levels but didn’t pursue it further. If I had known then what I know now, I would have wanted to be like Annie Sibonney when I grew up. Annie is the host of the Cooking Channel’s From Spain With Love and for someone like me…she’s living the dream. Annie is brilliant, multilingual, well travelled, charismatic and confident. She’s exotically gorgeous too which is always a plus.
We all fantasise about a paying job that allows us to travel the world, eat exotic cuisine and experience different cultures like folks on Lonely Planet or anybody on The Travel Channel. Maybe not the Ghost Adventures dudes but hey, whatever floats your boat. Annie Sibonney has been leading travellers personally since 2007 with Relish Culinary Tours. Now, television viewers can see what it’s like. Unlike other programs that focus on just Madrid and Barcelona in a couple episodes. From Spain With Love exposes viewers to places like Granada, Bilbao, Levante and Galicia among others. Some place names I knew from Spanish football but who knew those people were eating so well? Even coverage of the most popular cities revealed destinations and customs unknown to outsiders.
Spain, like its cuisine is vast and varied. Not once in this series has anybody cooked or eaten bull testicles, just like almost every other travel show that’s been there. When we watch this show, it’s not just exclusive footage for the sake of television cameras. These are restaurants that travellers can go to. Some of the vineyards open their doors to visitors and anyone (not just Anthony Bourdain) can experience it all for themselves. Annie calls Spain her “culinary home” and viewers can get infected with her love for this country, its people and of course the food. Yes, infected with a virus, like a fever burning hot. Hot for Paella Valenciana, Estofado De Rabo De Toro, Jamón Ibérico and lots and lots of wine! It may not be now. It may not be tomorrow but someday soon, I’m going to Spain. To eat, drink, smell the grass at Camp Nou and sign postcards, “From Spain With Love”.