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…

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…

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…

PAN CON TOMATE

Pan con tomate, pa amb tomàquet, pantumca, bread with tomato. Again, and you may be getting the gist of a lot of the dishes in this great country, this is food simplicity at its simplest. Bread with tomato is a morning dish, an accompaniment to meats for dinner, a popular side dish in bars, an…

NAVIDAD

For most of us in Europe, indeed the world, Christmas is over. The frankly obscene gorging of the festive period – usually stretching the week before New Year – is finished. Belts have become either redundant or have simply snapped. Shirts no longer fit, the torso now has the appearance of a beached whale in…

JAMÓN

El mejor amigo del hombre no es el perro. Es el jamón. (Man’s best friend isn’t the dog. It’s the pig.) – Manuel Benitez Ok. So this is a big one. If paella is the country’s most indicative dish, then this, jamón, is undoubtedly the most famous product. It is a religion unto itself. Football,…

PULPO

Eight legs, scores of suckers, a beak like mouth, a toothed tongue, can change its shape to fit in any space, and is considered a delicacy in countries from Europe to Asia. The Maldives braise the beast in curry leaves, chilli and spices (Miruhulee boava), the Japanese use it in sushi, takoyaki and akashiyaki, and…