Madrid is a true foodie heaven. One of those places that presents you with an endless choice of eateries and you just can’t help but indulge and savour the local cuisine. Since Madrid is the Spanish capital, what better way to get a feel for the flavour of the city than a Tapas Tour of Madrid?
But before I tell you all about those bite-sized goodies, let me rewind. At some point last year I took part in a photo competition by Context Travel. They were asking people to send in their selfies from around the world and put them into context, i.e. tell the story behind the picture. I saw the competition and immediately thought of a selfie that I wanted to submit. So I decided to try my luck and go for it.
My competition entry
“The selfie was taken in front of the East Side Gallery Berlin. What once meant selection, limitations and control now stands for creativity and personal freedom. I was born in the East of Germany and without the fall of the Berlin Wall I could not pursue my passion for travel. This was the first time I visited this brightly coloured symbol of freedom and it was a special moment indeed!”
A few weeks later I received an email out of the blue letting me know that my picture was the winning entry and the prize was a city tour of my choice for two anywhere in the world worth $180. I was beyond excited and proud that my picture was chosen. Once I found out that I won, I couldn’t wait to see what kind of tours Context offer and choose one to spend my voucher on. If like me, you’ve heard of Context before, but you don’t really know what they offer then read on, I’ve got you covered.
I love the concept of Context Travel. They aim to build bridges with their tours by immersing the visitor into local culture and thus ultimately making the world a more tolerant place. How do they do that? Context Travel offer quality tours led by experts of their respective field. So if you’re a history buff you can expect a history expert like a University professor to uncover the past of your chosen destination with you.
After careful consideration I decided to use my voucher with Context Travel for a food tour in Madrid. The perfect opportunity for me to eat my way around the city while finding out more about the history of Tapas in Madrid.
Tapas Tour Madrid
Our guide Helena, a passionate food journalist had prepared the perfect itinerary for our three hour tour. From traditional tapas and a basic introduction to tapas to modern varieties and in-depth information on the origin of many Spanish classics, this tour covered it all.
First stop: Cerveceria Cervantes
Despite what the name may suggest, a Cerveceria serves more than just beer. This one is a typical example of a Spanish Taverna: a place for people to gather and have a drink accompanied by some good, hearty tapas. Typically the food served in a taverna is a variety of snacks and tapas that don’t have to be cooked or refrigerated.
The Cerveceria Cervantes seemed in no way touristic, quite the opposite in fact. Locals started to gather just after 7pm, which is early even for tapas. Our guide ordered a round of drinks for us and as it is typical in many parts of Spain, the barman handed us a small, complimentary plate of tapas to accompany our beverages.
The specialties at the Cerveceria Cervantes are the great-quality Jamon Iberico, Chorizo Iberico and mature Manchego cheese. While this may sound like pretty simple tapas, it is the quality that takes it to the next level and I can honestly say that I have never eaten Chorizo that was THIS tasty.
Second stop: Cervecas La Fabrica
Our guide had chosen this Cerveceria based on their specialty: Octopus, but that’s not all. This place is famous for it’s seafood and fish selection. The cosy atmosphere and quirky interior dedicated to all kinds of Spanish delicacies made this the perfect spot to stay a while and dive a little deeper into the history of Tapas in Madrid.
Third stop: Tandem
From the décor to the classic Spanish dishes with a modern twist, Tandem blew my mind. Everything we tried was a taste sensation and a firework of colours.
Helena gave us drink recommendations for each of the stops to make sure they accompany each round of tapas perfectly. Up until then I had never really tried sherry before. I expected an overly sweet desert wine. I could not have been more wrong. This was a crisp and refreshing drink served from a light bulb. It’s safe to say I was sold! Helena used this stop as an opportunity to tell us more about the production and different varieties of sherry.
Fourth stop: Casa Alberto
Casa Alberto was the perfect finish to our Tapas Tour of Madrid. A real Madrilieanian Tavern, one of the oldest in the city in fact. What better way to end the night than with a glass of the famous vermouth in a traditional setting?
We didn’t sample any of their food, as the tavern was packed with tourists by the time we got there and so were our stomachs.
It’s no secret that I am a huge foodie and I love trying local cuisine wherever I am. If there is one thing that I get more excited over than eating my body weight in regional goodies, than it’s finding out the story behind the dishes WHILE I’m sampling my way through a menu.
I could have honestly not picked a better tour or location to redeem my prize with Context Travel. Helena was the perfect guide: knowledge, warm and passionate about food. She really has put the Tapas in Madrid in to context and opened my eyes to the origin of so many of the classic dishes that we know as tapas.
I seriously recommend this Tapas Tour if you’re in Madrid. It is a little pricier than some other tours on the market. If you’re not just interested in trying the food, but really want to dive into local food history to better understand the food culture in the city then this is for you.
What are some of your favourite Tapas? Traditional or modern? Share your experiences in the comments below. Thanks for stopping by!
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