The Festival de las Naciones is a food and culture festival that originated as a stay-on after the Expo in 1992, which brought together people from countries all over the world - each with their national pavilions on Isla Cartuja, some of which still remain - and put Seville on the map of modern-day Spain.
It is neither high culture, nor haute cuisine, but it's a fun day out if you don't expect anything wildly chic or glamorous. Head to the Prado de San Sebastian, just south of the centre, and look out for the entrance arch with the Buddha. You can buy wooden Indian furniture, Egyptian dog-god statues (perfect for that flashy bullfighter-WAG pad), leather Moroccan pouffe covers and a multitude of clothing, foodstuffs and knick-knacksfrom all over. It's a fun place to browse.
One of my favourite stands, from a visual point of view, was the fruit-flavoured sweets one. I would never buy any, but the colours were amazing.
One of the best things about the festival is the variety of foods. Seville is not know for its cosmopolitan dining, but here you can try Japanese, Indian, Italian, Greek, German, Australian, Peruvian, Chilean, Argentinian… I had some fresh, home-made sushi, which was delicious and totally unlike the substandard stuff available in supermarkets here.
You got 10 slices of roll for 6 euros – not cheap, but not bad either – it was very filling. You could wash it down with a Kirin beer. They also had little brochettes of squid or frogs' legs. Pass. Another favourite was the Indian stand, with mango or spicy lassis, pakoras, samosas and a marvellous dahl puri, a little fried pancake filled with spicy lentils. The Aussie menu included roo and ostrich burgers – I'm a veggie, so not for me, but you get my point about the variety. France offered a wide selection of crepes, Greece dolmades and moussaka – wow, very exciting I hear you say, but if you live in Seville, this is a big deal – this city is the gastronomic equivalent of Prince Philip's views on racial diversity. Foreign (non-Hispanic) food is not exactly welcomed with open arms.
One of the first food areas as you enter is the empanada and beer section. Here, you can pick a bottle of brown stuff and an empanada (pastie) from countries such as Jamaican, Chile or England, featuring typical native ingredients. Blighty's offering was an apple turnover with a Newkie Brown – love the Big Ben drawing. See if you can spot the famous ale.
The healthiest stall was the Brazilian juice bar, with exotic offerings that I was too unadventurous to try – borojo, lulo or mamey, anyone? I think they're all South American, and having lived in Ecuador, I should know. You can see a few of them here, along with the lady who makes the juices, including the extra left-over bit to top up your glass – so it's two glasses really – menos mal considering the price, 3.50 euros.
Next door to this was the Peruvian gaff, with delights which brought back fond memories of when I visited this beautiful Andean country, such as Inca Kola, Cuzqueña beer, the now-super-fashionable protein-rich grain quinoa, and ceviche, delicious raw fish marinated in lime, with onion and coriander. I'll never understand why it hasn't caught on here, as it is so tasty and very healthy – full of protein and fat-free, like sushi.
Two final tips; if you're taking small people, there's a mini-train which went down a storm with my four-year-old, as well as one of those bungee-bouncer things, and the biggest inflatable slide I've ever seen (remember folks, I live in Seville). If, on the other hand, you're going there on a date, how about a slice of this particular cake to get you both in the mood?