Does the perfect host or hostess exist? Everyone who ever has guests considers themselves the perfect host but there is a chasm between those that really are and those that have no idea.
Recently I was fortunate enough to be invited to a party at the home of a well-known Malaga businessman who lives in Marbella. A delightful guy with impeccable taste. He had the interesting idea of holding the party on the Day of the Armed Forces, coinciding with the Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth of England (he is an anglophile), and clearly the do was a million miles from the usual boring Marbella party with the same dreary faces and mind-numbing imbecilic small talk.
Here there were only good people, friends of a lifetime, lovers of the great things in life such as fine food and wine, together with first-rate conversation.
The event was accompanied by the band of the Ronda bullring that played almost without stopping for many hours, and came to a crescendo when the guests filed past the Spanish flag and paid homage to it on the way to the luncheon.
There was nothing lacking. Superb Lepanto food and great Ronda wines, and as I discreetly made for the exit at around eight in the evening, everyone seemed intent on continuing to dance sevillanas and rumbas until dawn.
In every way a classic fiesta, without even a millisecond’s opportunity to be bored.
But talking of being bored, the worst hosts and hostesses are those that have no interest in food and drink. They insult their guests by serving cheap supermarket wines and cardboard food bought in from somewhere, and to watch them counting the pennies you would think they had never been invited to a proper party in their lives. But they all have.
I remember, or rather I prefer not to remember, some ghastly parties that a certain French lady, now surely rather senile, used to give at her villa in Guadalmina Baja. Many decades ago she was considered a hostess to be reckoned with, and at her parties it was not unusual to rub shoulders with Pakistani generals,’ international businesspeople’ and even ex-terrorists (sorry, freedom fighters).
This lady never tasted alcohol and was a vegetarian to the point of being vegan. Even her dogs were forbidden meat and she never wore leather either in the form of shoes or belts.
Worst of all, she imposed her doctrine on her guests, so no meat, no fish, no eggs, and even the cheeses were vegan. So if you ever get invited to a party given by a vegetarian lady who does not drink, much less understand wine, you will arrive back home very hungry, sober, and certainly bored nearly to death.
The perfect hostess.
Originally published in Spanish in Diario Sur on 11 Aug 12