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in search of good tapas...

"...tired of the usual boring tapas?"

I have written about something similar before but not in this blog and not for some considerable time. Frankly I'm becoming tired of the 'same old tapas offerings' being available at almost every bar in the area, indeed in the province and so every now and then I will venture out to see if I can discover something new and more unusual in our local area. It also helps keep me in front of bar owners and restaurateurs with a view to additional promotional work. More so it provides valuable material for this and other blogs for which I also write and it allows me to see what's going on in the tapas market, at ground roots, and keeps my up to date for my tapas tours.

Whilst those that I feature in this post are not the very best available they are some of the rather more unusual tapas in the area. For most parts you can attend a traditional tapas bar and be face with ensalada ruse (Russian salad), anchovies and cheese in oil. All well and good for visitors who appear once or twice a year but for locals it can become a bit repetitive and boring. If possible I like to search for the more unusual culinary offerings, after all this is Spain known to be one of the top countries in the world for gastronomy! Anyway, let me tell you about the offering we have below.

 

All three of these are 'pinchos' (pinxtos) depicted by the cocktail stick to hold the food in place - most typical of Cataluyna, the Basque area of northern Spain. Made on a bread base (sometimes toasted or placed on the plancha to cook through this first tapa has a combination of tomato, cheese, anchovies and a salsa of black olives, finely chopped onions, red pepper, green pepper, topped off with a grating of a fine cheese.

 

The second of these tapas, again a pincho, is a combination of bread, alioli spread (garlic mayonnaise spread) smoked salmon, egg mayonnaise, topped with a salsa of finely chopped Spanish tomatoes. I've seen it topped with anything from caviar to more smoked salmon. Also you can substitute the egg mayonnaise for the crab meat and mayonnaise combination that is available in the supermarkets. Of course you could make it yourself too but the supermarket have perfectly acceptable crab sticks variety to which you can add extra crab meat! Why limit yourself?

 

Our final pincho is that of toasted bread (baguette slice) housing a layer of each of green and red peppers topped with a mixture of bacon and cheese toasted, and garnished with a cherry tomato. In this case the only element that is not heated is the cherry tomato but who is to say it has to be served cold?

Many regulars to Spain will know that in many bars now, there is a trend towards charging separately for the tapas as opposed to the traditional 'free' tapas that used to be the norm (and still is in a few places in Spain). These tapas were all chargeable which I believe is pretty reasonable in today's economic climate.  A few of these together with a good red wine, say a rioja or a crisp white wine and you'll not go hungry for the rest of the day, through to late dinner.

These type of tapas, and much more elaborate offerings, can be discovered by attending one of my Gastro-Tapas Tours of Almeria City.