I am lucky enough to have the week off of work this week. I am even more lucky that I was able to book a last minute slot on the Madrid Food Tour's Ultimate Spanish Cuisine/Market and Tasting tour (we got two together because we are so lucky) I went this morning and it was fantastic!
|First stop - Chocolate and Churros!|
Even being married to a Spaniard and living here (in Madrid) for two years, I do not know a lot about Spanish food. I have had the desire to try more Spanish foods, but somehow I have never gotten around to it. I know that this is going to de mystify my life here in Spain, but I live a more "American" lifestyle then you would think. My schedule is still more or less American, I have to try very hard to practice Spanish every day, and I still cook Indian, Chinese, and Mexican dishes at home. Sure, some days I cook Spanish food here at home, or we go out and try different Spanish restaurants. But after a few months I had created a confort zone with Spanish food - only trying what I already knew.
|Plaza Villa, where the cloistered nuns (building to the left) make the most amazing Spanish cookies.|
Madrid, being the center of Spain (literally and figuratively), has representative foods from every region of Spain. On this tour I got to try an amazing assortment of foods. (I may never eat again I am so full.) I got to push out of my comfort zone and also to re-try some food and drinks that I had only tried once before and didn't like. Sometimes if you have a really bad experience with a food, you never want to try it again. The great thing about a food tour like this, is that your guide knows where to take you to get the good stuff. Sure there are some things that I tried that I still do not really like, but some of the things that I ened up liking were surprising. Like vermouth:
|Madrid style vermouth|
I had had vermouth before and I did not really like it. It was too sweet with an intense herby flavor. I never wanted to try it again. Today we want to an artisanal vermouth stand in Macado de San Miguel and I have to say, maybe it was the way that they served it, or that there was more care in the crafting of it, but it was like a whole different drink that I really enjoyed.
|Pretty market bean photo|
I have a food allergy and my guide was amazingly sensitive to my needs. She was also willing to ask questions on my behalf about ingredients, which is a must for anyone with food allergies on a tour.
My favorite new Spanish food find on the tour was, Cecina. To which our guide jokingly referred to as "adult beef jerky". It is cured beef, thinly sliced and was given to us with some excellent olive oil on the top. It tasted like the best deli roast beef that I have ever had. It doesn't sound like much, but the taste was amazing!
|Cecina and olive oil, it did not last long|
Olive bars, are of course, necessary for any Spanish food tasting. My favorite were some very green low sodium ones (you can see them at the back, click to enlarge). They were crisp and had a buttery-lemon flavor which I think I could have all day long.
|Olive bar in an old marcado|
|Beautiful fresh fish displays|
|Birthplace of the bocadillo|
|First terraza in Spain (and the end of the street)|
I would take another one of their tours in a heartbeat. In fact, they have a Tapas and History tour....