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My Favorite Tapas of Spain

Eating My Way Through Spain

Location: Sevilla Spain

It’s no secret I love to eat.  Our grand adventure involves a lot of food.  Travel is a conduit to cuisines of the world.  And I couldn’t love that more.

I’ve been asked often what my favorite cuisine is.  It’s a tough question.  I love the comfort noodles of Asia, the rich stews and meats of the Balkans, the fresh seafood of the Mediterranean.  I adore any

Anchovies

cuisine made with the freshest local produce.  And I am also endlessly fascinated with the culture and history behind regional cuisine; pierogi of Poland; khao soi of northern Thailand; peka of Croatia, shopska salad of Bulgaria, tagine of Morocco.  These foods are both storyteller and palate dancer.

My favorite Spanish Tapas

Shrimp

What could be more fabulous?

Spanish Cuisine

We’ve been in Spain now for more than a month.  Last year we spent more than two months in Spain.  I have learned to enjoy what is really a simple cuisine here in this country – locally sourced, simply prepared and not overly seasoned.  Although the many regions of Spain have their individual specialties, the focus of the overall cuisine of Spain is fresh and seasonal.

My favorite Spanish Tapas

Fried sardines

My only complaint about Spain is how late they eat their meals.  Breakfast is barely a meal – just coffee and a croissant, maybe a tortilla (here in Spain ‘tortilla’ is an egg and potato dish, aka Spanish omelet) around 10am.  Lunch isn’t until 2:00pm and dinner rarely gets started before 9pm.  For this American, that is well past my bedtime.

One of the reasons Spain eats so late is because they are in a crazy backwards timezone.  Ever since Franco wanted Spain in the same timezone as Germany, Spaniards have lived with a VERY late sunrise and a VERY late sunset.  So, they have adjusted their eating habits to accommodate.  Unfortunately my internal clock is not so easily adjusted.

So the answer for me, when in Spain, is to live on tapas – the luscious

My favorite Spanish Tapas

Stuffed olives

little dishes served all day long.  I have become a fan of tapas for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The Tapa Life

We have enjoyed my favorite tapas of Spain in Madrid, Santiago,Leon and Barcelona.  But Sevilla loves its tapas bars (there are no tapas restaurants only bars – tapas are always served with alcohol) and the abundance of options is both fun and a bit overwhelming.  In fact many will argue Sevilla is the birthplace of the tapa. We studied up a bit on where to go, what to eat and some history, then we set out on our own little “tapear”, the Spanish word for tapas hopping. Time to find my favorite tapas of Spain.

As we set out on our excursion we were happy to know there really wasn’t anywhere better we could be eating tapas than in Sevilla, and specifically in the historic Triana neighborhood.  Myths and legends abound about tapas. One of the most

My favorite Spanish Tapas

Cold tomato soup

popular is King Alfonso the 10th, The Wise King of Spain, had once been stricken with a serious illness which only allowed him to take in small portions of food with small amounts of wine. After recovering from his illness, the king issued a decree that no wine should be served at inns unless it was served with food. (credit A Brief History of Tapas, Pita Jungle).

My Favorite Spanish Tapas

We did not have the opportunity to try every kind of tapa Sevilla is famous for, but we indulged in many and here is a list of some of our favorites both from our tour of Triana and our time throughout Spain (see photos and captions of

My favorite Spanish Tapas

Pork in whiskey with potata

several throughout this blog); croqueta (very popular bite size fried cheesy nuggets often with jamon but we enjoyed it with duck as well as mint), montadito (tiny bite size jamon and pork sandwich), solomillo al whiskey (pork in whisky sauce), los pajaritos (tiny fried quail), patata (fresh potato chip), tortilla bites (egg and potato omelette), tortillita de camarones (fried shrimp pancake), espinacas con garbanzos (spinach and garbanzo beans), salmorejo (cold tomato soup), stuffed olives, thin sliced jamon iberico de bellota (acorn fed Iberian ham), pancetta frita (fried pork belly), grilled shrimp, boiled shrimp, sardinas ala parilla  (grilled sardines), mussels, pulpo (octopus), razor clams, fried calamari, boquerones (anchovies) on toast, sausages and rabo de toros (bull’s tail).  And those are just the ones I can remember.

Simple, Cheap & Delicious

It’s a wonderful way to eat.  But the great thing is, even if you are only stopping for a glass of wine with a friend, the bar will always set something to nibble in front of you (because the King said so).  It will

My favorite Spanish Tapas

Grilled sardines and grilled shrimp

probably be a plate of olives, perhaps nuts or sometimes bread with ham and cheese or tortilla.   It’s said that the original tapas were probably bread with jamon, which was used to cover your drink (the word tapa means ‘cover’).

My favorite Spanish Tapas

Croqueta

Despite the origin of the word, it now describes a cuisine unto its own.  Though southern Spain and particularly Andalusia claim it, the popularity of tapas has spread, particularly to South and Central America, Mexico and the United States.

 

The day of our tapear we ate and drank (both beer and wine) for several hours at six locations.  And our total spending for the afternoon? Less

My favorite Spanish Tapas

Tiny fried quail

than $50.

We leave Sevilla and head next to Malaga – about 205 km south, on the Mediterranean.  We expect to continue our tapas exploration and enjoy

a bounty of fresh goodness from the sea. Fabuloso and delicioso!

Malaga here we come!

 

Read my blog about food in Barcelona.

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13 Comments

  • Reply Michael Söhlke

    I don‘t really agree to your interpretation of why Spanish people eat so late – even before they tried to align with Germany they had they strong habbit of taking a „siesta“, a long lunch break. I remember my Dad, at that time Chairman of the Board in a Spanish company in barcelona, complaining of unproductive afternoons (Siesta-driven) and unhealthy evenings (VERY late dinner and lots of alcohol) – that pace hasn‘t really changed very much over the last 30 years (according to my sister who lived and worked a year in Spain).

    November 16, 2018 at 10:44 am
  • Reply Bree

    I love Tapas…My first taste would you believe was in Brisbane Australia. My then partner and I went out one Monday night and found a little Spanish bar. They served Tapas at the bar and as long as you had a wine you could eat as much as you liked. No cost except for the wine. Sangria was also served and very cheap. I loved that you could eat as little or a lot. My next was in Melbourne a Spanish bar however this time the food was served at your table. I hope when in Madrid next year my sister and I can find a bar and enjoy the food this way. Much better than sitting down to a large meal.

    November 16, 2018 at 12:52 pm
    • Reply Laureen

      It completely agree. And I also had tapas in Australia!!

      November 20, 2018 at 6:05 am
  • Reply sue

    Yum. I love tapas. There are some great tapas places in NYC, though they probably pale in comparison to Spain. The grilled sardines made me want to go immediately.

    November 16, 2018 at 9:22 pm
  • Reply Christina Daggett

    The food sounds wonderful, Laureen. Can’t wait to visit Spain! We’ve been to the Canary Islands, but not to the mainland. Enjoy the rest of your trip!

    November 16, 2018 at 9:57 pm
    • Reply Laureen

      Canary’s are on my list too!

      November 20, 2018 at 6:04 am
  • Reply Alexandra

    Your post made me hungry! I went to Alicante recently and the tapas were super different. I have been told they vary from one region to another. Now I want to taste Andalusian tapas!

    November 17, 2018 at 7:43 am
    • Reply Laureen

      I will definitely be back!

      November 20, 2018 at 6:04 am
  • Reply Christen

    This post takes me back! I just love Spanish cuisine – I spent a semester there in college and basically lived off tapas haha.

    November 17, 2018 at 7:54 pm
    • Reply Laureen

      It’s cheap and delicious!

      November 20, 2018 at 6:03 am
  • Reply Cathlin Carlson

    Love this post! Spending a month in Salamanca right now and we are loving the tapas…though as vegetarians it’s much more difficult! Do you have tips on finding vegetarian tapas around Spain?

    November 18, 2018 at 1:27 pm
    • Reply Laureen

      I don’t really except our walking tour guide told us that the more “contemporary” tapa places often have a vegetarian spin. We have enjoyed some stuffed peppers (but with cheese) as well as potato salad, tomato soup (yum) and of course potato and egg tortilla.

      November 20, 2018 at 6:02 am

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