Flavours of the Province

Tapas: eat well and drink even better


Tapas: eat well and drink even better

You eat the way you feel. In Seville, our cuisine is a mixture of cultures: Roman, Andalusian, Jewish, colonial and American. In Seville and its towns, the star is the tapa: the tasting of local and regional products in small portions, with elegance and flavour. Small yet great cuisine of popular origin and now of high standing: creative and innovative tapas by our Michelin starred chefs.

Try them in the bars and old taverns, with a glass of wine from the Aljarafe, the marshes or the Sierra. In the old bars with brass and wood bars and walls covered with bottles and tiles, the waiters write down the price of the drinks on the bar with chalk.

Seville has no sea, but the tide reaches it all the same. Because of its proximity to the coast, it enjoys superb fish and seafood. Taste the fried fish in popular restaurants on the banks of the Guadalquivir. In Coria del Río, try the traditional marinated thinlip mullet, a species of river fish. Accompany it with the wines and beers of the province. In Seville, beer is a must. Sevillians gather around a beer to have a laugh and enjoy themselves with friends. Standing around a barrel or next to the bar in any street or square, you will always find a place to enjoy the sun or the shade, depending on the season. But always accompanied by some olives from Morón de la Frontera or a tapa of goat, cow or sheep cheese from Espartinas or Castilleja del Campo.

On the trendy rooftops in the capital and in the best restaurants in the province, try the local products of each region: the rice from the marshes of the Guadalquivir (66% of the rice produced in Europe is from the province of Seville), the meat and Iberian products and mushrooms from the mountains, the meat of fighting bulls, modest thistles and snails from the countryside, vegetables and fruits from our market gardens. In Los Palacios and Villafranca, the tomato is the king, the main ingredient of another of our star dishes: gazpacho.

The valley of the Guadalquivir is used to grow oranges, with which wonderful jams and preserves are prepared and consumed all over the the world. And we cannot forget the bread, which has to be from Alcalá de Guadaira, popularly called Alcalá de los Panaderos. In the early 20th century, donkey caravans were used by the bakers to take the bread to the capital and there was even a special train to deliver the bread. The tracks can still be seen next to the River Guadaira as well as a flour factory where you can learn about its history. Try the regañá, a flat bread of Moorish origin that was taken to America by Christopher Columbus on his first trip.

If tapas are the star dish, among them the king is the ham from the sierra of Seville. Cured in the heights, it is undoubtedly the most exquisite item of our cuisine.

And the basis of all our cooking is olive oil, the cornerstone of the Mediterranean diet. Some of the best olive oils in the world are produced in Estepa and its region. Our salads and dishes are dressed with it and many of the sweetmeats and pastries of the province are made with it: polvorones (Christmas sweetmeats) from Estepa, cakes from Castilleja de la Cuesta and convent sweets, with natural orange blossom or rosemary honey. There is no more exquisite gift to take home with you. Serve it after lunch with liquors and spirits from Cazalla de la Sierra.

And there is still much to discover: elvers and crabs, and in the past we had sturgeon roe from the Guadalquivir.