After travelling the World on and off in my twenties, I decided to settle down and spend a chunk of my thirties in a lesser known part of Spain. It’s called Galicia! As a British person the Galician and Spanish culture are very different to what I am used to, which makes every day an adventure. Especially when ordering tapas.
For people that have never heard of Galician it’s the North-Western region above Portugal. Its famous for the oldest working lighthouse in the World, its amazing seafood, persistent rainy days and incredibly hard-working people. The locals speak two languages, Castellano and Gallego. I spoke neither when I came here in October 2016. Now I have learnt enough Spanish (Castellano), in the local language school, to get by.
During my 16 months living here I have fallen in love with almost everything about it. But by far the easiest choice for the number 1 pick of favourite things is the food. More specifically, the tapas! So, I wanted to share my favourite tapas with you in the hope that you will open your mind, mouth and belly for these delicious mini dishes.
Pimientos de Padrón
From the very small village of Padron, Galicia, these special mini peppers come with a surprise. Some taste delicious because they are fried in olive oil and have a mild taste. But other, special ones, have a fiery kick. You can’t tell by looking at them which ones are spicy. So, when you order them, you enter a game of pepper roulette.
Empanada is the Galician version on the steak and kidney pie. Meat or fish is the usual pie filling, with vegetables like onions and peppers, then seasoned with garlic and tomato sauce. All of this is inside a brown thin crust. It’s great before you dig into your Sunday lunch.
These are yummy fried treats that are eaten as a tapa or as part of a balanced meal with a salad. They are available in various flavours, like cod, ham and spinach. ‘Croqueta de jamón’ is the most popular, which is cured ham. Croquetas are made from flour, egg, breadcrumbs and mushed up ham and little bit of nutmeg. So, you can make them at home quite easily. YAY!
Great snack will a glass of locally made wine or beer. Patatas Bravas are thick chips or cubes of fried potato with a spicy tomato sauce. In some bars they are also accompanied by aioli. The only problem with this tapa is that I always want more.
Pulpo a la Gallega
Another tapa from the heart of Galicia, is water-boiled octopus that is served with olive oil and topped with paprika and sea salt. Pulpo is one of the freshest tapas available. You can sit in a bar and see the boats coming in and within a few hours be eating the produce from the fishermen. If you find the octopus to be chewy, try a different bar next time.
A great tapa for the winter months is Raxo. It is seasoned pork with fries. Sounds pretty basic but the garlic and parsley that’s flavours the meat is delicious.
The final tapas on the list is the Tortilla. In English its known as Spanish Omelette. It’s more than just an omelette because it also contains fried chunks of potato and onion. This is a hugely popular dish with everyone, except Vegans. What’s great about the Tortilla is that it can be served both hot and cold. Some people prefer it warm with a little bit of runny egg, while others like it fully cooked and cold. I am one of the latter people. It surprises me how delicious Tortilla is because I am not really a fan of eggs.
There you have it, multiple tapas to add to your food bucket list the next time you are in Spain, and hopefully Galicia. I would love for you to share your favourite tapas so that I can try them to.