Thursday, June 9, 2011

Tapas: A Taste of Madrid

madrid2011 010After filling our days with on-foot explorations, we couldn’t stay awake long enough to try out  Madrid’s Midnight dining hour but then we wouldn’t have had room for it after conducting our regular tapeo.
Tapeo, the early evening stroll between tapas bars for glasses of Spanish wine and tapas, for which the stroll is named,  is intended to provide sustenance until dinner – but we made it dinner.
madrid2011 023 At home we’d call these small plates’ appetizers’. In Madrid they were tapas, or canapes, a slice of bread with a tasty, cheese, meat or seafood topping, and larger servings of each being called  a ‘racion’.
We’d studied up on this practice of cheap eats  by reading advice of  foodies who had gone before us; learning the wine servings were small – allowing for a half dozen stops before feeling its impact – and tips for tapa-eating etiquette like ‘throwing used napkins on the floor and keeping toothpicks to show the bartender how much you’ve consumed.”
We quickly learned don’t believe everything you read. Savvy shop owners poured large glasses of wine as pictured (which I think they’ve learned keeps you eating there longer). And they’ve gotten tired of cleaning up dirty napkins – as every place we visited had strategically placed garbage cans at the bar.
The food was good – but it wasn’t always cheap eats by any means. Part of that impact of the U.S. dollars’ weakness to Spain’s currency, the Euro).  The rate of exchange was  1-Euro=$1.45US.
Too late we learned that Manchego, their famous cheese is about as high priced as is their famous Iberico acorn-fed ham.
madrid2011 001 Our first night out we each had two glasses of wine, a shared a ‘tortilla’ – a thick open faced omelette stuffed with potatoes --and then ordered a cheese and ham plate (both are pictured here).
Our bill was $27-euros or about $43US.madrid2011 002
At one place we tried the 2-euro ($3.20) tapa of the day and received a toothpick on which two bite-sized green peppers were wrapped in an  anchovy.  The most economical was the canape – most of which were $2.50-euro, depending on the topping chosen.
madrid2011 029
Note:  If these make your mouth water, just wait until I tell you about Celebrity’s Gourmet Galley. . . and then I’ll give you an update on D2G, our Diet to Go. . .


  1. Ouch, that was pretty expensive! Glad it was good - and yes, my mouth is watering.
    I don't remember having tapas in Spain but I'm sure I did.
    Thanks for linking up this week, Jackie.

    1. Thanks for hosting Foodie Tuesday, Marcia. It is great fun reading about the food side of travel.

  2. Jackie, I would definitely be curious to try that anchovy with green peppers. This past year through travel and food posts has been the first time I've learned about tapas. I loved all the little in's and out's of suggestions you gave....i.e. the toothpicks/napkins and the large glasses of wine being poured. Good post! :)

    1. Thanks much, Mike. We love doing the 'tapeo' when we travel. . .so many interesting dishes to try and this gives us a chance to do so without expanding the waistline (too badly,that is).

    2. Thanks much, Mike. We love doing the 'tapeo' when we travel. . .so many interesting dishes to try and this gives us a chance to do so without expanding the waistline (too badly,that is).

  3. I enjoyed tapas on a trip to Barcelona and the Andalusia area a few years ago. The wine was usually cheap and the food less so. The most interesting appetizer I had - and delicious was fried eggplant drizzled with honey.

    1. Leigh, I think we were following your route only a week or so behind you back then - you did it on a bike and we used a rental car! I missed the eggplant and honey - next time!

  4. I loved having the potato omelette in Madrid. Of course, I loved just about everything I ate in the tapas bars. :) I'll skip the anchovies, however. By the time I left Spain, I admit that I'd reached my limit on Iberico ham, but I was very soon ready to go back and indulge again.

  5. We love the Iberico ham. We look forward to trying the eggplant and honey someday when we return to Spain. I loved your pictures of the tapas.


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