Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Snacking in Seville

The oldest and most traditional of the markets in Seville is Mercado de Ferìa on Calle Ferìa. Especially the fish and seafood selection is widely praised for its freshness and a popular and widely recommended tapas restaurant located there was our plan for lunch. But the market is only open in the mornings and closes already at 230 pm. Well planned is half-done and all that, you see. 

So, that will just have to wait for the next time. Instead we were left searching for a place in the Old Town. Luckily The Gentleman has a knack with restaurants, just about everywhere he goes!

Not just any old oranges - they're Seville oranges!

Many restaurants in the Old Town have found a creative approach to the heat that plagues the city in the summer: the terraces have piping that blows out cold vapour to cool off the diners.

Some of the typical dishes for Sevillan food culture (in addition to blood, that is) are different kind of stews that uphold the traditions of the Moorish era, or so I read. Chickpeas with spinach is a very typical for Sevilla too, apparently. We ended up on Calle Mateos Gago and... well, could you have resisted that row of hams?

A bottle of the local rosé gave us enough energy to start exploring the menu instead of the narrow, cobbled streets of the city. A huge bonus was the fact that everything on the menu was available in tapas sized portions - each costing less than three euros.

First order was salmorejo, which was good. The Gentleman actually liked it better than the one we had in Cordoba. The guarniciones of this portion included chopped onions. 

Then it was chorizo. Sounds good, huh? Oh, it gets better- this was made of that bellota- pig. As one of the great thinkers would say, it was... wait for it... legendary! The flavour was so deep, so rich -  it was so good we went for seconds.

Next up was a Sevillan specialty: carrillada, slow-roasted pork cheeks. Cheeksus, they were great. They really know how to make the most of their piggies around here! The strangely bland and watery ricey stock/soup/gravy on the other hand was not to either one of our liking.

The execution varied greatly. Rabo de toro, or as the Sevillans call it: cola de toro (that's oxtail for you and me) was weirdly bland. Something that shouldn't even be possible with this noble chunk of meat. Nothing compared to Cordoba's version. And definitely nothing on Nerja's.

And then it was time to pig out some more. The waiter was friendly enough to begin with but upon learning that 50% of us supports the blue team out of Manchester there was no limit to his customer service. On his recommendation The Gentleman went for pluma de iberico, the neck (?) of iberico pig. It was so tender and juicy and dark and meaty I couldn't believe it was pork.

Inspired by the treats at the table next to ours we also had some king prawns wrapped in wonton sheets accompanied by a tasty garlic and herb oil. You know, to lighten things up a bit.

With coffees the final tally came to about 36 euros. I (or my VISA) can't get enough of these prices. Dios mios I'll miss them when I'm back home. Even at really good places I don't think we've ever paid more than €20 for a bottle of wine. Here it cost €14.  The though of having another one, kicking back and enjoying the company of air conditioning and the Manchester City fan across the table was oh, so tempting... but we had more culture to do! Vamos!

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