Being from Argentina, this word means a lot to me. Sobremesa is more than a word for us, it’s a meaningful tradition that we keep alive because, honestly, we love it.
Sobremesa is not restricted to my country and most people know this word because of the Spanish custom. I can’t talk about how Spaniards feel about it. But I can share my point of view as a born and bred Argentinian, who can’t imagine life without sobremesa.
While Sobremesa literally means ‘over the table’, in reality, means more than that. This word is another untranslatable gem.
Sobremesa: the time spent around the table after lunch or dinner, talking to the people you shared the meal with; time to digest and savour both food and friendship.
Coming from a country so in love with food, the sobremesa is very important. Believe me when I say that we certainly don’t take ‘food rituals’ lightly.
Sobremesa starts after you finished your meal.
If I close my eyes I can see a tablecloth with breadcrumbs, coffee rings or red wine stains. I can hear lively conversations and people laughing in the background.
If you want to do a ‘proper’ sobremesa, there are two steps you need to follow:
- No one leaves the table -urgent needs excluded, of course.
- Sobremesa is about relaxation, so don’t worry about the pile of dishes or those trays with leftovers; or about the last pieces of dessert that may or may not get eaten. It is sobremesa time so you won’t mind any of that ‘mess’, you will be enjoying the atmosphere, you will be appreciating the moment.
I am pretty sure a lot of cultures do sobremesa, maybe just as us or slightly differently. But for us, it’s so important that we even have a word for it.
So sobremesa is about real connection, it’s full of stories, jokes and laugh. It’s about prolonging your ‘meal’ because, you had such a great time, that you don’t want it to end and if you leave the table, you will bring an end to all that magic.