Food - Drink
The Historic Reason Dinner Is So Late In Spain
By KATHERINE BECK
Spanish cuisine has a diehard following outside its borders, from its tradition of tapas to its elegant dishes like paella, but many countries are not familiar with the time of day that Spaniards usually eat dinner. Spain's widespread dinner time is unusually late, even by European standards — citizens usually dine around 10 p.m.
Lunch in Spain is the biggest meal of the day, often involving three courses, and many citizens also have a daily late afternoon snack, referred to as la merienda. One may assume that dinner is served late because that’s when Spaniards have room after a heavy lunch, snack, and siesta, but the real reason goes back to World War II.
When Spain’s leader, General Francisco Franco, decided to align his country with Nazi Germany, he change his country's time zone to match. Spain's schedule leapt an hour ahead of other countries at the same longitude, like England, Portugal, and Morocco, and remains an hour ahead today, leading to a pretty late dinnertime.