CASQUERÍA (OFFAL)

The entrails and internal organs of an animal used as food.        ‘eating pieces of braised offal turned his stomach’ 1.1 Waste Material.         ‘the packing plant dumped its offal into the stream’ 1.2 Decomposing animal flesh.          ‘gulls pecking at piles of offal from the narwhal…

ACEITUNAS (olives)

Perhaps no foodstuff is as ubiquitous in Spain as the humble olive. Aceitunas are served in almost every bar in the country. And given that there are about 132 bars per person in this country, that is a lot of olives. They say that there are upwards of 260 varieties; some for eating, some for…

COCIDO MADRILEÑO

One of the selection of dishes, that go by names such as cocidos, guisos, estofados, caldos, etc,  that could suffer being counted among ‘tapas’ is Madrid’s signature dish. It’s not paella, it’s not a cold tomato soup, nor is it cured pig meat. Rather it is part of a family of Spanish dishes which is…

SANGRIA

The sunshine brings out the terraces and the terraces bring out the tourists. When foreigners come to Spain to wallow in its culture and food heritage and simmer under its forceful sun, there is one drink they are all primed, all ready, all keen as beans to try: Sangria. I must admit, hands up proffering…

PIMIENTOS DE PADRÓN

One of my first tapas experiences was in an underground bar near the Plaza Mayor in Madrid back in 2009. It was there that I partook in the customary coming together of Spanish friends to share food: Elena, Carlos, Esther, Moises, Maria, Alicia, Fran, Miguel and me, a chubby red-faced Englishman recently arrived. I don’t…

ENSALADILLA RUSA

‘That’s Russian salad! We have that in Spain!’ Commented my friend Elena on visiting me once when I lived in Moscow. ‘Actually, here it’s not Russian salad. This is Olivier salad.’ I responded while filling a couple of glasses of cold vodka. In Russia I ate simply, making homemade borscht, buying local cheeses and baguettes…

ALBÓNDIGAS

The idea of taking an animal and making it meat; taking said meat and making it ball-shaped; taking said ball shape, applying heat and making it cooked, is certainly not unique to Spain. Meatballs are one of those utterly international foodstuffs. The U.S. have their tasty but bastardised version of the Italian meatballs, served with…

PATATAS BRAVAS

A potato by any other name would still taste as good. Sometimes I really can’t be bothered to think about what I want to eat when I’m in a tapas bar. Or sometimes I just find myself in a tapas bar and think ‘I should eat something.’ Sometimes I just want to stuff my face…

BACALAO

For as long as I can remember I have been extolling my personal proclivity towards devouring, with gusto, dead animals. I’m the biggest animal lover I know, well, one of them, but I’m still a Homo sapiens who adores being an omnivore. Meat, seafood, vegetables, fungi, pickled things, fermented things, raw things, braised things, boiled,…

SIDRA

“If we lose paradise because of an apple, we get it back through cider.” – Asturian proverb When we think of tapas, we are inherently drawn to images of food-laden plates of chorizo and paella, juicy croquetas and slices of burgundy-coloured jamón ibérico. However, here in Spain, drinks are as much a part of tapas…

PESCADO FRITO

There are few greater pleasures and gastronomically correct senses of place in Spain than sitting by the quietly lapping shoreline of the Mediterranean whilst nibbling on plates of freshly fried fish, sprinkled with some tart drops of lemon juice, and served with a superbly chilled bottle of white wine or manzanilla. Pescado frito translates literally…

CROQUETAS

Certain foods in the world make the eater emit sounds that really should best be left in the bedroom. For me this gastro-erotic list includes good curry, hamburgers, Christmas pudding with brandy butter, hot chocolate fondant with vanilla ice cream, and, in Spain, things like cachopo, tortilla, and, that filthy misunderstood little number: the croqueta….