Seville’s Spanish Tapas Festival
Charming fools and food on the move
Eight hundred years ago, the Moorish commentator Abu-I-Wali El Sakundi declared that the inhabitants of Seville were ‘the most frivolous [people] and most given to playing the fool’. Today, that sense of fun is captured in what Sevillians call gracia – their own special blend of wit and charm.
Seville is a friendly and beautiful city at any time of the year, but April may be the optimum time to visit – especially if the Seville Tapas Festival is in full swing. The dates move around a little, so you’ll have to check with the tourist authority, but if you’re lucky enough catch the festival, it’s a gastronomic adventure.
London most authentic tapas bar for 30 years
It spans several days and is held in locations across the centre and into some of the more popular neighbourhoods. You could hit the ‘tapas trail’, hopping from one bar to another, or you might settle at El Rinconcillo, the oldest tapas bar in Seville, or Las Teresas with its walls hung with ham legs.
You’ll certainly be able to find traditional tapas dishes like Jamón Ibérico, Patatas Bravas and Tortilla Española, but these days chefs are also developing modern tapas that might involve fushion dishes like chorizo and pulled chicken spring rolls or Parmesan and sesame coated parsnips.
You can even try your hand at tapas yourself. There are lots of demonstrations and workshops at the festival where you can get stuck in, or you can simply relax and enjoy the live music and flamenco dancers. And the best thing is that it’s easy on the pocket – tapas dishes are often served as free samples, or at low cost but with a free drink.
If you can’t quite make it to Seville, though, you could do worse than book a table at Mayfair’s neighbourhood tapas bar El Pirata. El Pirata is a hidden gem in London that’s been serving authentic tapas for 30 years and has become a favourite for those in London seeking out a true Spanish experience. Much like the tapas bars in Seville, El Pirata serves Spanish classics like Gambas Pil-pil and Paella Valenciana, but also has must try modern dishes such as their famed mini chorizo burger with quali egg and black garlic alioli. That should whet your appetite.