It is unusual for me to write about my experiences on the gastro-tapas tours whereby I host a tour on foot around Almeria City, calling in at worthwhile eating establishments and introducing quality tapas to those interested enough to book. This last tour was however note-worthy, but not because it was held on a Sunday, but more so because of quality of the people whom I had the pleasure to host.
It was with some surprise that when I met up with the latest group of self-confessed foodies for a Gastro-Tapas Tour of Almeria, they were all youngsters probably no older than my two sons (my eldest is in his early thirties). The guests, all from Ireland, consisted of (clockwise from left top) - Kate, Shane, Reena, Paul (the ring leader - note how as a musician Paul is really living the musical moment), John Lennon, and Trish. And what stars they turned out to be…not only were they very knowledgeable about food, but they were delightful, beautiful people, and made the day so much fun! So, a sincere “Thank you all!” goes to the famous five for their untiring consumption of food and wine, (and beers), also for their infectious enthusiasm and their genuinely great company! I truly hope we can do another tour together in the future.
What was so interesting for me was the group’s statement that all their friends in Ireland are ‘into food’ in a big way. Never is a cookery/culinary TV programme missed, they spend much of their time sampling new foods and yes, even going on cooking vacations or some holiday which was food associated. Paul and Trish once took flights to Bari in Italy on the strength of Paul wanting to try a particular restaurant featured in a (Rick Stein?) TV programme. Also, that in Ireland, hardly a month goes past without there being some type of food and/or drink festival or event taking place locally…in their words “Ireland is always hosting them…”
This isn’t of course the only time I have met enthusiastic youngsters who like their food. For those of you who regularly follow my Facebook pages you will recall that earlier this year I hosted two Dutch interns (equally delightful people) who were from the Food Design College in the Netherlands. But hey, they are in the food business and this latest group are not in any food related industry, so for me it was doubly enjoyable.
And, for those of you readers expecting me to post details of the tours, i.e. where we went and what we ate, I have to disappoint you. It would be unwise of me to post exactly which bars and restaurants at which we stopped, or to list the countless dishes ordered and duly consumed, (otherwise I wouldn’t have a business and it wouldn’t be that much of a surprise for future guests). It is however worth mentioning that at times like these, when chefs and kitchens have been in full swing during a busy Sunday lunchtime (and they just wish to close up and go home to their families) and when a tour is squeezing in 5 establishments in less than three hours*, it is only through ‘local knowledge and contacts’ that one can gate-crash bars and restaurants literally 5 minutes before kitchen is due to close (and better still 45 minutes after the due closure time), and not only get more food but also be offered a free round of delicious dishes, as well as get to meet the head chef.
*the norm is to run tours on weekdays and only attend 4 bars and restaurants plus visits to other food related places of interest which were closed on a Sunday.For more information on the gastronomy tours I offer, go to Gastronomy Tours