My friends Andrea and Pablo’s secret retreat is just a small shack in the mountains of Tortosa (Tarragona, Spain), overlooking the delta of the river Ebro and its rice fields. The house is supplied with water by a well, and electricity comes from a petrol generator. Everything is minimal, but there’s not much that’s needed. We went there last weekend, and even though it was just three days, it was enough to enjoy a taste of the holidays.

In Tortosa, I had one of the most surprising (in a good way) sandwiches I’ve ever had for breakfast: mussels, anchovies, and olives. Kind of an aperitivo sandwich. It made me laugh but tasted great. We cooked sardines-on-a-stick on the fire and ate oysters from the delta with vodka. Those oysters are something extraordinary, and by that I mean they’re not normal. The taste is quite intense, and they are a little buttery, but what’s more special is they’re so big it’s almost obscene—very different from the oysters you get on the Atlantic, at least in Spain. We bought lots more to bring back home but, sadly, the fridge in the house ran out of gas while we were at the beach, and we lost our treasure. Very sadly, we left, hoping for the next time.

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Photos: Courtesy of Nacho Alegre