IN THE long list of British crimes against Spanish cuisine, there is a new addition. Marks & Spencer is selling what it is billing as ‘Spanish chorizo paella croquetas’, seemingly having learned nothing from Jamie Oliver’s attempt to add the spicy sausage to the classic Valencian rice dish.
A user on social network X (formerly Twitter) alerted The Olive Press to this latest abomination, which initially seemed like it might be yet another hoax put together with photoshop.
Olive Press journalist Simon Hunter – who caused a Twitter storm on April Fool’s Day with a prank about Spanish tortilla – shared the image of the croquetas via his own account on X, with the simple caption: ‘NO NO NO’.
The tweet quickly notched up nearly 30,000 views and around 50 comments, including one user who had managed to locate the product on food-delivery website Ocado, confirming that they were indeed real.
The reactions to the croquetas came as thick as a creamy bechamel sauce and as fast as any self-respecting Spaniard would return them to the supermarket shelf from whence they came.
“Let’s summon the ambassador of the country whose inhabitants have perpetrated such an outrage,” wrote one X user called Copito.
“This could cause a diplomatic conflict!” wrote another.
“Paging @HughElliottUK,” wrote Olive Press journalist Simon Hunter in response.
Far from maintaining diplomatic neutrality, Elliott waded straight into the debate.
“Chorizo, ¡si!,” he wrote on X.
Croquetas, ¡si! ¡si!
¿All together? ….M&S, what have you done?”
Spanish croquetas are made with a bechamel sauce (milk, flour and butter), rolled in breadcrumbs and then fried. Traditionally, the fillings come from whatever leftovers the chef has lying around in the kitchen, such as jamon, chicken, cod, etc.
But surely no self-respecting chef in Spain would have chorizo paella lying around the house, particularly not after the Jamie Oliver incident?
It was back in October 2016 that Oliver caused outrage among Spaniards by adding the spicy sausage to the classic Spanish dish, even prompting death threats to be levelled against him, as he explained on the BBC’s The Graham Norton Show.
But despite the abuse, Oliver was unrepentant.
“By the way, just FYI, it tastes better with chorizo. Trust me or don’t trust me,” he told Norton back in December 2016.
Anyone who has tried the M&S croquetas version should please get in touch with @simoninmadrid on X to confirm or deny.
- Did this Olive Press reporter just pull off the best April Fool’s prank on Spanish Twitter ever?
- Food for thought: Is chorizo in paella really such a bad thing?
- It’s World Paella Day, and we’re still arguing about chorizo!