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Food Focus

Why the Spanish are calling bull on M&S’s chorizo paella croquetas

When is a croqueta not a croqueta? When it is mixed with paella and chorizo and risks sparking an international incident. Here, Spanish food writer Rachel McCormack and Spanish chef Jose Pizarro give their verdict on a very British food fight...

Tuesday 28 November 2023 18:45 GMT
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A croqueta like no other – just don’t add paella and chorizo
A croqueta like no other – just don’t add paella and chorizo (Getty)

As befits a nation that enjoys nothing better than a good raucous argument over some great food and drink, almost every town of any size in Spain has a food conference. It’s a place where producers, chefs and food journalists get together and as an attendee of these conferences over the years, I have been involved in heated debates about food, culture and commerce. I’ve also watched stressed-out chefs compete for who can make the best Russian salad and most recently at Gastrollar in the northern Asturian mountains, had a breakfast of red wine and barbecued beef surrounded by Spanish journalists and Alpine cattle.

One of the biggest of these is the annual Madrid Fusión and one of its most anticipated events is the Iberico Ham Croqueta competition. Juan Monteagudo of the Michelin-starred Ababol restaurant in Albacete won this year and the Spanish press breathlessly reported this with photos of a single oval-shaped ham-flavoured bechamel encased in glistening breadcrumbs, the platonic ideal of a Croqueta.

M&S has caused uproar with their ‘culturally appropriated’ croquetas (Handout)

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