Our friends Florence and Mike Lince are doing something fun, every time we hear from them. Florence and Mike are the Six-Monthers, part of a movement of baby boomers going to a new country, sometimes a new continent, every six months. This time, they’re not just having fun; they’re having delicious fun, because It’s Tapas Time!
Every country seems to have a culinary specialty, some dish or food item they areespecially fond of and where everyone in the country makes their version of it.
Here in Spain, the food that makes this list is Tapas. Tapas can best be described as sample dishes of specialties. Tapas can be made up of seafood, salad, sausages, or cheeses. Tapas can be served warm or cold and can include paella, Spain’s most famous contribution to world cuisine. Every bar and restaurant in Spain seems to have a Tapas menu. Tapas are served as less of a meal but more than an appetizer.
Here in Torrevieja, they hold a Tapas Crawl, otherwise known as the Ruta de la Tapa. This competition is held twice a year to see which bar or restaurant has the best Tapas in this region of Spain. The current competition, which ran on two weekends in April, included Tapas offerings from 56 bars and restaurants.
They served their Tapas on those competition days from Noon to 4:30 in the afternoon and from 7:30 to 11 at night. Each participating restaurant also had two different Tapas to offer for each of the two weekends, which meant you could go back to the same place twice and order different Tapas.
A standard Tapas order comes with a drink, usually beer or wine, offered for only two Euros (a bit less than three dollars) and a gourmet Tapas and drink is offered for two-and-a-half Euros.
For this year’s competition there were a staggering 220 different Tapas available for purchase. You literally can eat your way from one Tapas bar to another. Theadded incentive was that if you ate no less than ten Tapas offerings, you were allowed to vote for the best Tapas in Torrevieja.
So on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, we decided to join in on the fun. Armed with a Tapas map and our Tapas ballot, we walked around town and sampled what they had to offer. We were not alone. This region of Spain is a haven for baby boomers from countries like the U.K., Norway, Germany, and Russia, and as we walked from restaurant to restaurant, we kept bumping into the same people over and over.
Tapas are available all year round in Spain. You would be hard-pressed to visit a bar or a restaurant which does not have a Tapas menu, so coming here at any time of the year means you can create your own Tapas Crawl. However there is something to be said for getting to actually vote for the best Tapas in Torrevieja. So forgive us as we leave you, but “There is more Tapas to go before we sleep…” (our apologies to Robert Frost).