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Alan, along with Elle, is the owner of Spain Buddy. He was born in the North of England (Lancashire) and travelled extensively before eventually settling in Almería. Alan has 3 sons from the first of his 18 marriages, (Sam, Joe & Ben) who are all now adults. You can read more articles by Alan on his personal blog at and see more of his photography on his photography website as well as on Flickr and Instagram. Also, for less than the price of a cup of coffee each month you can help support Alan's photography (and get some freebies into the bargain). Click here to visit his Patreon page to find out more.


  1. Alf
    June 27, 2015 @ 12:08 am

    It’s very obvious Elle didn’t have any input into this fantastically exotic gastronomic masterpiece, there’s no mention of vino collapso!
    I have to agree with you about the quality (?) of bread, it’s bloody awful, although I do think you’re being a bit insulting to cardboard. I’m not sure what the choices are like in mainland Spanish supermarkets but, I imagine they’re similar to here in Lanzarote. At least over here I’ve found that I can get a ” reasonable ” quality imported British loaf made by Roberts ( wholemeal too) which isn’t stuffed with more sugar than a 1kg bag of Tate & Lyle’s finest product! They’re ” only ” €2.45 each, which is still better than €3.50 for a Kingsmill version.
    Oh, by the way, your cheddar chopping skills look a bit rusty.


    • Elle Draper
      June 27, 2015 @ 3:26 am

      I’ve just read this out to Alan and we’ve roared with laughter!

      Enjoy your Brit bread. Kinsgmill or Warbies €2.50 or thereabouts here. Jacksons is around too… but don’t know the price because it too is cardboard

      E x


      • Alf
        June 28, 2015 @ 12:32 am

        I used to like Warburtons extra thick toastie back in the UK but any Warburtons is as rare as rocking horse s**t over here and twice the price. Kingsmill is an insult to cardboard as well as bread, Jackson’s…just a cheaper version of Kingscrap. As for Gouda, we found a strong, aged Gouda in Eurospar in Costa Teguise which was really nice as a cheese but maybe not on a mixto. That burger bun looks like a half decent crusty bread roll, I once ” forgot ” I had a burger bun in the back of a cupboard for about 8 months, it still looked as “good ” as new, nothing to do with all the chemicals and additives I suppose! I think that was a Bimbo one! We’ve also found some reasonable substitutes for ” proper” ham, it’s never going to be the same as some of the wonderful dry cured stuff back in the UK but I’ll do. By the way, what type/brand of butter was that that Alan was using on that unsuspecting bap/bun/roll?


        • Elle Draper
          June 28, 2015 @ 12:59 am

          His was a Mercadona roll I believe. We buy them loose. Have a look in Spar (Punta Limones) at their rolls that come in packs of two or loose. We used to get those, and they worked okay as a bloomer substitute. Alan buys crusty rolls for himself but softer versions for me. Has your Lidl got a bakery department? Ours has and it’s really good – all baked on the premises. May be some options there for you… especially now you have a new one in Carmen eh.

          The butter is definitely Mercadona’s own – the salted version. I’d photograph the packaging, but I’ve just binned the wrapping from the last one in the fridge and popped it in the butter tray. Have you guys got Mercadona yet? I knew it was coming to you, but was unsure when x


  2. Alf
    June 30, 2015 @ 12:24 am

    Confessions of a self confessed snob.
    I’ve heard tales of Lidls bread being the dogs whatsits but, being the snob wot I is dahling, one simply wouldn’t know! The only time I went into Lidl in Arrecife it reminded me of a very bad day at black rock, oops, sorry, I meant our local Asda back in London, of which there were far too many, bad days not Asdas. Luckily, there was a Sainsburys round the corner ( the one they used for the Jamie Oliver ads ).
    In the Arrecife Lidl there were only two checkouts occupied, the store was packed, the queues were each about twenty people long and there were two queues for each checkout. It reminded me of the old Lanzarote airport check in queues years ago when there used to be fights when two queues converged after getting past the concrete pillars. At least the Lidl checkout girls weren’t standing around gossiping to each other instead of serving, or chewing gum with their mouths open catching flies like their counterparts in Asda!!
    As far as Brit bread’s concerned, we only use Roberts wholemeal for toast and the occasional sarnie but, we do like some of the crusty sticks in our local Spar in Macher ( we moved to the campo ( ? ) a couple of months ago) they’re really nice with some of the pâtés they sell on the deli counter.
    We’ve got two Mercadonas now in Arrecife, one’s next door to the big Hiperdino near the port and the other one’s near the Argana Centro close to the main hospital. I think there’s another one being built near Ropers in Playa Honda. I wasn’t at all impressed with their fresh fish counter, it had loads of fresh fish but there were only two different types. I was also left very underwhelmed by their fresh meat counter.
    A friend of ours has recently started to make her own cheesecakes of various kinds with a view to selling them by the slice in her bar. For some reason she’s chosen me as a quality control tester for the various prototypes, I know, it’s a s**t job but someone’s got to do it:-D ( I reckon she owes me a new belt as my old one seems to have shrunk). Some of the chocolate ingredients she’s been using have come from Lidl and are as cheap as chips, so, seeing as I’ve now got the bug for making my own alcohol infused versions of her cheesecakes ( if they work out OK I’ll send you the recipe Elle ) I might have to don a disguise and visit the new one in Carmen.
    As you’ve probably guessed by now, I’ve never tried Mercadonas finest dairy products, or indeed, any of their other ones but, for butter I like a brand called Australiana. I normally get it in Eurospar but you can get in Hiperdino here as well but it’s more expensive. It’s the closest I’ve found to the taste of Country Life or an equivalent.
    As much as I love living in Lanzarote, it could be vastly improved by the opening of a Sainsburys/Waitrose or even an Asda as long as they’re staffed by friendly locals like our local Eurospar.



    • Elle Draper
      June 30, 2015 @ 1:26 am

      Blimey – what an epic?! But entertaining reading as always xx

      Yes, we used to buy the same butter as you, from Hiperdino.
      E x


  3. Alf
    September 18, 2015 @ 2:26 am

    Hoorah, one of my wishes has come true ( ish ). Iceland have opened a store in Playa Honda where El Huerta or whatever it was called used to be. Iceland was never one of my favourite stores back in the UK ( especially as some of the Z list, so called celebs they used in their ads would have been better used in a wood chipper ). However, this store is jam packed with stuff not just from Iceland but, with a lot of stuff from WAITROSE too. OOOH, I can be a proper supermarket snob now. I would love to see the faces of the people that own Maceys in Tias now, as they have IMHO, been ripping people off for ages. This new store stocks most of the same brands at more or less half the price, plus a whole lot more at very good/reasonable prices. I think the phrase schadenfreude is quite appropriate in this instance. We popped in to have a look around yesterday, and €45s later we left, wondering where we were going to stash all the goodies we’d been tempted by, proper 90% outdoor bred British pork sausages was the first in the basket, soon to be followed by more much missed delicacies from ” back there “, including proper varieties of cheddar cheese ( not that revolting orange Spanish version ).


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