What could be better to an insatiable food lover than a 10 day tour across the beautiful Spanish region of Andalusia? My adventure starts in it’s traditional but bustling capital city, Seville – the birthplace of tapas!
Choosing to visit Seville at the very end of August not only resulted in us being mocked by actual Spaniards back in the UK, but also meant the city was a little quieter than usual – as all the (sensible) locals head north during the summer months to escape the stifling heat. At the height of the day, temperatures can reach well over 40 degrees. However, I didn’t let that stop me from getting as my chops around as many culinary delights as humanely possible.
Our hotel was located in the lively neighborhood of Triana, just across the bridge from all the main attractions the city has to offer. One reason for choosing this quite residential area as our base was it’s reputation for high-quality tapas bars frequented by Sevillians themselves. On our first night we took a stroll along the Canal de Alfonso XIII and then headed further into Triana for some food.
You’ll find Bodega Siglo XVIII on Calle Pelay Correa – unlike many of the tapas bars we explored later, this place is large in size and pretty unmissable. The interior is decorated very traditionally and it’s a pleasure to soak up the historical ambiance whilst you enjoy their simple but outstandingly tasty food.
We ordered smoked anchovies with sweet roasted red pepper, goat cheese and honey and the ambiguously-titled Andalusian lamb. All three dishes arrived quickly and were presented thoughtfully, along with some bread. The anchovies and red pepper were a match made in heaven and combined worked very well with each others’ contrasting flavours. The Andalusian lamb was not what I expected, as it seemed to be a round of minced lamb with a sort of skin around the outside. It was extremely flavoursome and it’s always refreshing to try something new! My weakness for goat cheese has been well documented, especially in sweet concoctions, so the cheese and honey combo was right up my street. The mini-toasts it came with were extremely crispy and delicate.
This lovely Bodega was a fantastic first taste of Seville, and got me really excited for what else we’d get to try over the coming days.
Located just across the bridge from the more rustic Triana Mercado, this is a relatively new development that for a long time was a derelict building before being sympathetically restored to it’s former glory. This is considered a rather upmarket dining venue, which attracts young professionals on their lunch breaks and, of course, tourists. Not dissimilar to the famous Altringcham Market in the UK , Lonja de barranco is essentially a high-end food court, with multiple producers, restaurants and street food stalls all in one place.
We said that we were just going to have a look around and not buy anything, but of course we couldn’t help getting a couple of nibbles just to see us through. From a chacutarie stall I bought Chicharron Sevilla – which translates as “Seville pork rind”. It might not sound very appetising, but these little morsels of slow-cooked and dried pork were a delight. Ours were cooked with garlic and rolled in spices (paprika was in there somewhere I think) and – even though the texture took a couple of bites to get used to – we snuffled the lot pretty quickly. My travel companion went for a spinach and ricotta empanada from a bakery stall. The pastry was thin with a generous amount of filling and we could’ve easily sampled more of the offerings on show.
I imagine this is a great place to bring friends for lunch if you can’t agree on what type of food you all fancy. Although not as cheap as some of the tapas available across the bridge in Triana, it still is good value and allows you to take a break with a glass of wine, watching the world go by.
For our final night in Seville, I decided to book us onto a tour I’ve seen highly recommended in several places. We met on Plaza Nueva with our guide Michaela, who promised us an authentic taste of Seville – from classic tapas to the more modern take on Spanish food influenced by other cultures.
Taberna Álvaro Peregil
Our first destination was the second oldest tapas bar in Seville, predated only by the very famous El Rinconcillo. You could very easily walk past Tabenra Alvaro Peregil – located on Calle Mateos Gagos – and not notice, were it not for the small bar tables and groups of people gathered outside. This place is tiny and extremely unpretentious in its decor – keeping to a simple, traditionally Spanish style with a bar at the back of the premises and room for about four bar tables inside. This bar is one of the only that serves the traditional Vina de Naranja – Seville Orange Wine. One of only two products made with Seville oranges (the other being marmalade), this comes in a small sherry glass and tastes quite like a port. It went down very well with food we had:
- Chiccarones from Cadiz: Similar to the pork we had at Lonja de Barranco, though this one was not dusted in spices but slow-cooked, sliced thiny and served cold.
- Aged manchego sheep milk cheese.
Our next foodie destination was just a 5 minutes’ walk away on Calle de Mateos Gago. A previous Bodega, the interior of Casa Morales was lined with enormous vats and packed full with people, mostly locals. Here we got to try different sherries – one being a Manzanilla sherry and other a Amontillado – to go with our tapas:
- Bacalao and salmorejo montaditos – raw cod drizzled with the very popular salmorejo, a tomato-based puree similar to gaspatcho.
- Jamón ibérico de bellota – one of Spain’s most famous exports. The bellota variety is considered the very highest quality as the pigs are fed on acorns.
- Chorizo on bread was also served, though it was extremely soft and delicate – unlike any other chorizo I’ve had before!
Whilst the previous two venues had been authentic tastes of the traditional Sevillian tapas bar, this final destination took us somewhat forward in time to a more modern style of classic tapas being championed and paired with other, non-Spanish influences. Enrique Becerra is a large, traditionally decorated venue whose North-African influence comes through a treat in the delicious food they serve. We enjoyed several different wines, including our first and only Rioja of the tour, which were paired with each tapas that came out:
- Olives, served with Mioro (DO Condado de Huelva) – a white wine from the nearby region of Huelva.
- More bacalao (cod), this time in a pastry parcel and served with a Barbazul (VT de Cadiz).
- Tuna with salmorejo.
- Morrocan style lamb, served with rice and a Calros Serres Rioja.
- Some sort of meat in sauce, the details of which I was too drunk with wine to remember.
- Tocino de cielo – which is a Spanish sweet flan – paired with a Cream Sherry.
I’m so delighted to have done this tour. Michaela’s enthusiasm and knowledge of the local area and it’s history was fantastic and something we would not have benefitted from during our short 2 night stay otherwise. Devour also run tours in Malaga, Madrid and Barcelona – should I be visiting any of these places I will definitely be booking onto another tour!
On the day of our departure from Seville, I was up bright and early to go and check out the Mercado de Triana. Over 150 years old, this traditional market is the go-to for locals grabbing their weekly essentials and enjoying some traditional tapas while they do so. As I went so early in the morning very few of the tapas bars were open, but I got to browse some absolutely fantastic-looking local produce from a variety of vendors.
In the end I bought a tin of anchovies and a couple of pinchos from a delicatessen stall. Each one comprised of a large olive, an artichoke and a slice of sweet red pepper, wrapped in a sardine and skewered together with a cocktail stick. I thought that this, along with some fresh bread, would make for a fantastic little snack on the bus back to Malaga. I was absolutely right – they were banging.
Other Things to do in Seville
It might be hard to believe, but I wasn’t stuffing my face for the whole trip. Here’s some other things we did:
Plaza de España
This historic square is one of the main attractions of Seville and is truly magnificent. We hired a boat and paddled around the canal, then had a wander in the shady Parque de Maria Luisa to escape the heat.
This was a fabulous bar we went to after our tapas tour which has a fantastic view of the Catedral de Sevilla. Cocktails are decent although predictably quite expensive, but it’s a nice way to end the day.
We didn’t actually go to see this as we ran out of time but it was strongly recommended by our tapas tour guide Michaela. A weird, mushroom-like structure that caused a lot of controversy when it was constructed.