How to Get Your Eat On in Madrid: Lunch

One of my favorite things about Madrid was...

you guessed it...

the food!

enjoying a bit of queso manchego on crusty bread!
Luckily for me, most of Madrid centers around their culinary expertise. In fact, it seemed to me as though the rest of life was fit in around meal time. But meal time differs significantly than here in the US, in both quality and time of day. Meals are like an event in Madrid.

One is supposed to sit and enjoy food, not squeeze it in when you have a moment or are on-the-go. On-the-go isn’t really a concept in their culture. And it’s kind of nice. Except for the whole coffee thing. I do like my coffee on the go.

But aside from that, the rest is pretty great. It's a system that I could really get behind.

The biggest meal of the day. It usually takes place around 2pm. Later than most lunches here in the US, but don't worry...dinner won't be until 10PM, so eat up while you can!

All of the cafes in Madrid are packed with people enjoying some outdoor time and taking a moment to have a nice, long and enjoyable lunch.

It all starts with a cerveza (beer) and I love that this is socially acceptable there, even in the middle of the work day.

Why not?

A large lunch usually starts with a small plate, such as cold jamon on toast...

or warm pork loin with fried onions and softened brie on toast

and followed by a heartier dish, like salad with goat cheese croquettes or roasted duck breast.

And it's most certainly finished by enjoying some coffee...or in my case, caffe con leche (coffee with steamed milk). Yum.

I also love that it’s completely acceptable to enjoy a cerveza, a plate of queso manchego and a bread basket for lunch. Which I may or may not have done on a solo afternoon. Or 2.

And yet, like most cities, you’ll be hard pressed to find overweight people. And if you are completely spent after a big, cerveza-filled meal? No worries. Next comes siesta, so take a short nap and get back to work!

So what do you think? Could you get down with this way of eating? Are you down with lunch as your biggest meal?

Though I think I'd find it tough to get myself back to work after such a big lunch outside in the beautiful weather, I would love to eat like this every day!