Word of the Day: Sobremesa

Wonderful Spanish word with no direct English equivalent that beautifully captures the essence of languid, sybaritic post-prandial pleasures.

You may have witnessed the ritual, knowingly or not, while on the hunt for a coffee or a cold beer towards the end of another long Spanish afternoon.


It's when lunch - and it is more usually lunch than dinner - yields to the important act of the sobremesa, that languid time when food gives way to hours of talking, drinking and joking. Coffee and digestivos will have been taken, or perhaps the large gin and tonic that follows a meal rather than precedes it in Spain.


The sobremesa is a digestive period that allows for the slow settling of food, gossip, ideas and conversations. It is also a sybaritic time; a recognition that there is more to life than working long hours and that few pleasures are greater than sharing a table and then chatting nonsense for a hefty portion of what remains of the day.


The world may not have been put completely to rights by the end of the sobremesa, but it will seem a calmer, more benign place. And we all, most certainly, need some of that these days.