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Feb 24, 2020

As I looked through my photos today of my recent holiday, I came across one of a bar in Sevilla. I hadn't gone inside, but I certainly did look in from the pavement for a long time. It was a gorgeous, very old rock building with wooden beams, hanging lamps, and bulls heads mounted on the walls. It had incredible atmosphere, and was very elegant. It was a restaurant and tapas bar. Tapas, if you don't know, are small portions of various, tasty dishes that are served in Spain to accompany drinks, like beer or wine. It helps to have a little something to eat at lunchtime when you drink alcohol, especially if you are going back to work afterwards; the effects of the alcohol are less. The food is so good, however, that many people have tapas for dinner. They order a variety of dishes, and simply share them. Olives, are a like a staple in Spain. Often you don't even pay anything for them when you have them with a drink. Tapas, however, are quite special, and chefs take pride in making high quality dishes that people will recommend. One of my favorites is 'croquetas'. These are a deep fried, tube shaped mass consisting of either creamy potato or béchamel sauce, with meat or fish of some sort. This is then covered in bread crumbs and deep fried. They are very flavorful and filling. My second favorite is 'ensaladilla rusa' which is like a potato salad with super powers. The ingredients that make it special are: boiled egg, tuna fish, peas, and a garnish of roasted red peppers. It is a meal in itself, and goes down so well with a light beer! It turns out that my son and I were in one of the best places in Spain for tapas: Sevilla. I have come across tapas bars in other countries, but as my Spanish mother always says, "No, the tapas just aren't the same." I would have to agree with her. They're not the same simply because they're not in Spain. You could have one of the best chefs making tapas in London, but they still wouldn't be 'the same' as the tapas in Spain. Atmosphere and location add to the experience of eating, I must insist. Perhaps we expect the tapas to taste better in Spain, and therefore they do. Mind you, I'm sure that it also makes a difference when you are using locally grown red peppers and olives as they do in Sevilla, compared to imports. Freshness of produce and the pride of tradition will always make Spanish tapas a little better than those found elsewhere.