Savoring The Sobremesa

Savoring The Sobremesa

Spain is well known as a paradise for those who LOVE food, but it may come as a surprise to say that the most important thing about a Spanish meal, in particular, lunch, is not the food. It’s the time you spend with those around you.

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In Spain, the purpose of going out for lunch isn’t just eating, it’s catching up with friends or family, so if all you’re looking for is a simple meal, you might want to look up take out menus. Lunch in the land of tapas doesn’t end when everyone has had their fill, in fact, it’s at that moment that the sobremesa starts. While there is no equivalent word in English, the concept is simple: sobremesa is the time you spend at the table after you’ve finished eating. 

There are only a few guidelines to sobremesa with the most important is that nobody gets up from the table ­(unless of an emergency). You must stay at the table where you ate, amid the post-lunch assortment of empty plates and used napkins, and if you leave the table, is it as if the spell has been broken.

The sobremesa often lasts as long as the meal itself, and sometimes, if it’s going well, even longer. While the all-day lunch is not an everyday occurrence, the long sobremesa is a fixture on occasions such as birthdays and anniversaries and Sundays with the family. During the week many people still take the time to have a big lunch, and when it’s finished nobody is in too much of a hurry to leave. 

While it’s not unheard of to have a sobremesa after dinner, it is typically more of an afternoon event making for an easy excuse to lazily enjoy the beauty of the day, especially in the summertime.  In fact, one could look at lunch in Spain as just an excuse for a sobremesa, and as far as excuses go, it’s a pretty good one.


We hope you've enjoyed learning how the Spanish are Savoring The Sobremesa! Looking to experience your own sobremesa in it's native country? Our culturally immersive group classes and native teachers are sure to prepare you for all of your post-tapas conversations! Click below to learn more.