AS more than 70% of the Spanish population have entered ‘phase 2’ of Spain’s coronavirus lockdown, Olive Press readers may have noticed the lack of typical glazed serviettes on bar and restaurant tables.

The COVID-19 pandemic has done away also with salt and pepper cellars, olive oil, vinagre, and anything else that could pose a risk of infection.

Restaurants have instead adopted single-use sachets and pots containing condiments, while some have replaced physical menus with a QR code on the table.

It comes as the Olive Press last September reported on a napkin manufacturer who admitted having ‘no idea’ why glazed serviettes are still so popular in Spain.

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ANTI-NAPKINS: The popular Spanish style of zigzag napkins do a poor job of mopping liquids and cleaning up

Pablo Aguilella, who works for Caricias, was referring to the paper tissues typical of Spanish bars, which are wafer-thin and glazed on one side.

The napkins are notorious for performing such a poor job of mopping up mess they are referred to as ‘anti-napkins’ in Spain, according to El Pais.

“Let me tell you right now, I have no idea why these are still sold,” Aguilella said.

“There are cheaper alternatives, such as cellulose tissue, which actually dries and cleans.”


Aguilella suggested their enduring popularity was more to do with look, than price or function.

“Each bar personalises the napkins with their own logo, which happens to look better on glazed paper.”

Do you have an opinion on glazed serviettes? Email the Olive Press at letters@theolivepress.es.

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