How can one put into words food that defines a culture. Tapas. It’s not a type of food, it’s a lifestyle. And I didn’t feel like that lifestyle was conducive to me taking pictures of that particular food. Tiny cafes and restaurants crammed with people, low ceilings, and very little light. I don’t mind snapping photos of my food stateside, but it felt a little awkward there.
Speaking of wine, I had the best wine I’ve ever had…several times! But I’d say my favorite drink was a Spanish concoction made up of vermouth, a big silver machine and a serious harry potter spell. It was delicious. The locals call it “Vermuth de Grifo” and it is most definitely a Spanish specialty. This particular nectar comes out of a large tap, is dark like Guinness, smooth like ink from a new fountain pen, poured over ice and an orange wedge. You are immediately hit with spices like pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg and the splash of citrus make it go down smoothly (and quickly)! This drink tastes like the Archipelago Havana candle smells – a little bit of heaven!
It was while in Madrid that we participated in a tapas and wine crawl which I highly, HIGHLY recommend. We ate Jamon Iberico, Manchego Cheese, freshly grilled asparagus and a garlic creme sauce, olives, bread with a thin layer of fresh tomato paste, fresh muscles with a very light tomato-ish broth, shredded beef in a lemon puff pastry, grilled beef with the best french fries I’ve ever had (because they are fried in olive oil), and finally helado with pedro ximenez gran barquero. Basically it was an insanely sweet, syrupy wine that you actually put your ice cream into as if it were a “float” if you will. The evening consisted of three restaurants, eight tapas, and nine wines… beyond worth it!
We also ate at the world’s oldest restaurant, Botin and tons of outdoor cafe’s and tiny establishments too numerous to record here. My favorite part? Besides being able to get amazing tortilla espanola every morning, it was that everything was so fresh! For 11 days I didn’t have anything pre-packaged or from a can. This must be heaven.