If you’re going to be in Seville over the next couple of months, you’re in for a tapas treat.
Until this Sunday 17 November, you can try a specially-selected tapa with a matching glass of sherry in 62 different bars around Seville as part of La Ruta de la Tapa y el Vino de Jerez. You don’t pay for the sherry, just the tapa, so for as little as 2.50 euros you get a tasty tapa and a glass of fino, manzanilla, oloroso, amontillado, palo cortado or cream.
Yesterday I did a mini-tapas crawl and tried four of these tapas-plus-sherry pairings with a local expert on the topic of tapas. We started off with tortilla al whisky with fino at Bodeguita Casablanca (17), which was a relevation as I’m not normally a fan of tortilla except as a handy fill-me-up tapa. This one had a deliciously chunky texture, and came with a side of roasted, mashable garlic, perfectly offset by the tangy fino. Then we had salpicon de marisco, a salad of seafood with onions and peppers, which was dull and disappointing – especially as the restaurant, La Isla (38), is reputedly the finest seafood locale in Seville. This restaurant has recently been refurbished, with elegant decor given a funky edge by some groovy lights. The manzanilla was served straight from the barrel and had an unpleasant metallic edge – not to my taste. Furnishings 8/10, sherry 2/10, tapa 2/10.
Other tapas we tried were atun encebollado (tuna with onions) with oloroso, which were both rich and tasty, although the location, Mordisco (50), lacks ambience; and excellent albondigas de choco (cuttlefish meatballs) with one of my favourite finos, Tio Pepe (brings back happy memories of Ferias) at Los Mercaderes (47), which had bizarre silver baroque chairs and a waiter in 17th-century fancy dress. Go figure.
There’s a complete list of bars, with the tapa and sherry they’re offering, on the website, where you can also vote for your favourite tapas and enter the draw to win a sherry tasting kit, and see what the current top ranking bars are. Established classics like El Rinconcillo, Eslava, Enrique Becerra and Las Teresas tend to figure large, rather than the new gastrobars.
However if you’re not going to be in Seville over the next few days, fear not: The II Certamen Sevilla, Capital Mundial de la Tapa starts tomorrow (15 September) and lasts till 9 December. This is another competition with more than 140 bars throughout the city offering a tapa with drink for 2.50 euros, or 4 euros for the gourmet version. Again, you vote – this time for at least 10 bars to win prizes. The four participants with the most votes will win a Samsung Galaxy Tab each. On the website bars are listed by area – 13 of them in total . There’s even an app, SCMT, showing you where your closest bars are, and what tapa they’re offering, available for iPhone and Android.
This is a short video about the previous Certamen, when 25,000 tapas were served. Buen provecho!