Back to Back Issues Page
Tapas - wonderful flavours for every taste + more!!!
January 23, 2005

This is the first newsletter of 2005! We've been a bit busy lately, but we're back!

Just keep enjoying your Spanish Experience with us at

And don't forget to check out our new cookbook: Favourite Mediterranean Recipes!


Tapas - wonderful flavours for every taste

A day spent sampling tapas is the ideal way to experience Spanish culture and discover its enchanting bars and taverns. Tapas are an exquisite, varied sample of popular regional cuisine. You can share dishes and enjoy a broad selection of products. All the taste of Spain in just one meal, and usually at very affordable prices.

Forerunners of the long, multi-course menus which are in the vanguard of modern western cuisine, tapas contain a host of products, prepared in any number of styles. This culinary speciality was first enjoyed in the 12th century. It can include delicacies such as mouthwatering “bellota” Spanish ham (the finest), traditional Spanish omelette or exquisite seafood, even haute cuisine specialities also prepared in small quantities in the form of tapas.

In all of Spain’s cities, town’s and villages you will find bars, taverns, even entire neighbourhoods, specializing in tapas. These wonderful establishments offer a broad range including chorizo (a type of salami), morcilla (a type of black pudding), pickles, smoked meats and fish, cheeses, salted fish, anchovies, croquettes, migas (dish with fried breadcrumbs)… You may find over 100 specialities in total.

In each region of Spain you will find a different selection on offer. This is another advantage of eating tapas, delicious combinations of miniature culinary delights catering to all tastes and budgets.

Typical dishes and avant-garde cuisine

Tapas can also be presented and served in a number of different ways. There are pinchos (the simplest - served speared with a toothpick), banderillas (on skewers), montaditos (on pieces of bread) and cazuelitas (more sophisticated, served in miniature earthenware pots with seasoning and sauces to add personality). This last presentation is usually chosen for typical dishes from different regions of Spain, including, of course, paella from Valencia, fabada (sausage and bean casserole) from Asturias, callos (tripe and chick-peas) from Madrid and a host of different fish dishes.

Modern cuisine also has its place in the world of tapas. The basics remain, but with innovative presentation. Spanish omelette sorbet, goose liver paté casserole, king prawns with chick-peas, gazpacho with lobster… these are just a few examples of tapas created by famous chefs that have gone on to be popular in their own right.

There are many drinks that form the ideal accompaniment to tapas: beers, soft drinks and vermouths, white or red wines, even speciality wines such as “cava” (sparkling), and “finos” or “manzanillas” (dry sherries). Wherever you may be in Spain, in any bar or tavern, you will always find a barman or waiter who will be happy to advise you on how to get the most out of these culinary delights.

Don't forget to review our Tapas Section at


Featured Spanish Products

Ready-made tapas

Anchovy-Wrapped Manchego Bites

Take select, premium-quality Spanish anchovies and wrap them around cubes of pure sheep's milk Manchego cheese, and voila - pure heaven. Serve these tapas treats before the meal or as a snack. The combination is truly wonderful - and addictive!

Banderillas en vinagre

So named for the larger banderillas used in the Plaza de Toros, these wooden skewers have delicious pickled vegetables with a pinch of spiciness. Vegetables include pickles, olives, peppers, carrots and red peppers. Great for an instant tapa should a friend pop up unexpectedly...

Spanish products Gift Baskets

Tapas sampler gift basket

What an effortless way to share with your friends the famous tapas of Spain!

Included in this group are a whole 2.2 lb wheel of Manchego cheese; one dry-cured chorizo sausage from la Rioja, the famous wine district of Spain; a package of imported 18 month premium cure Jamón Serrano (dry-cured ham) very thinly sliced with a leaf of paper between each portion.; one jar of manzanilla olives from Sevilla, 1 jar of arbequina olives from Catalunya; one bag of uniquely Spanish Marcona almonds fried in olive oil, and a clay cazuela (dish) for authentic serving. A great way to entertain your friends and family and enjoy the experience of Spain -- all you have to do is to unwrap the basket and you are ready to go!

And don't forget to check out our new cookbook: Favourite Mediterranean Recipes!


New books

We've selected some new books on Spain's culture, but you can find many more in our travel guide and cookbook sections!

Rick Steves' Spain 2005

Who but Rick Steves can tell you the best way to see Barcelona, the Basque Region, Madrid, Segovia, Toledo, Salamanca, Andalucia, Sevilla, Arcos, Jerez, Granada, the Costa del Sol, Tarifa, Gibraltar, and Morocco? With Rick Steves' Spain 2005, you can experience the best of everything Spain has to offer, including tapas-hopping and cathedral visits-economically and hassle-free.

Completely revised and updated, Rick Steves' Spain 2005 includes color maps and photos, opinionated coverage of both famous and lesser-known sights; friendly places to eat and sleep; suggested day plans; walking tours and trip itineraries; clear instructions for smooth travel anywhere by car, train, or foot; and Rick's newest "back door" discoveries. America's number one authority on travel to Europe, Rick's time-tested recommendations for safe and enjoyable travel in Spain have been used by millions of Americans in search of their own unique travel experience.

El Farol: Tapas and Spanish Cuisine

Excerpted from El Farol: Traditional and Contemporary Spanish Cuisine by James Campbell Caruso. Copyright © 2004. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Lemon-Rosemary Flan
Our biggest selling dessert is a classic with some surprising flavor combinations.

Makes 6 (4-ounce) flans

For Caramel

  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1/4 cup water

For Custard

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • rind of 1 lemon
  • 1 vanilla bean, split
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 2 egg yolks

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. To make the caramel, put the sugar and the water in a saucepan over low to medium heat until melted and a light amber color. Pour a little caramel syrup into 6 (4-ounce) ramekins.

To make the custard, heat the heavy cream with the rosemary, lemon rind, and vanilla bean until bubbling. Stir in the sugar and remove from heat; let rest for 10 minutes. This will allow the lemon and rosemary flavors to infuse in the hot cream. Strain. Beat the eggs and yolks together. Add a little hot cream to the eggs and whisk together. Then add a little more cream to the eggs; this will temper the eggs. Now whisk the egg mixture into the cream. Fill each ramekin with the custard mixture and bake in a water bath for about 30 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature and then chill for 1 hour before serving. Unmold on a plate and drizzle the caramel syrup around the custard.

Product Description:
At the El Farol restaurant in Santa Fe, New Mexico, a collection of delectable ingredients-smoked paprika, saffron, spicy chipotle chiles and piquillo peppers, capers and caperberries, and a variety of Spanish cheeses-gather for a celebration of Spanish flavor. Best known for their creative tapas menu, El Farol revolutionized dining in Santa Fe and New Mexico with such tapas as Pollo Curry, a simple cold chicken salad that is too good to ever remove from the menu; and Gambas al Ajillo, sautéed garlic shrimp with lime and madiera. Executive Chef James Campbell Caruso presents award-winning traditional and contemporary Spanish cuisine in a colorful medley of recipes from his menu, including soups and stews, hot and cold tapas, 14 main courses, desserts, and an exclusive section on wine. Featuring over 120 recipes, El Farol: Traditional and Contemporary Spanish Tapas and Cuisine blends the rich and diverse cultural traditions of New Mexico with bold and interesting flavors. This unique collection presents Mediterranean and Spanish cooking influenced by a variety of lively Latin American dishes.

The tapas menu is "ever-changing, bold, and energetic," according to the Dallas Morning News. The New York Times calls El Farol's food "bold and eclectic." The chef's Lobster-Chorizo Canneloni was voted "Best Appetizer" in the 2000 Taste of Santa Fe.

James Campbell Caruso lives in Santa Fe, where he is the Executive Chef at El Farol, a chef and instructor at the Santa Fe School of Cooking, and the author of many articles on cooking and restaurant culture.


And don't forget to check out our new cookbook: Favourite Mediterranean Recipes!

Kind regards,

Jordi Vallés

Subscribe to our RSS feed

Add our feed to your MyYahoo! home page

Add our feed to your MyMSN home page

Back to Back Issues Page