Madrid 2013: Madrid Tapas Tour

Madrid 2013: Madrid Tapas Tour

Here is the website of the Tapas tour my wife and I went on. There were three other groups there, a family of three and two other married couples. //www.walksofspain.com/

The tour all takes place within the walls of the first village in Madrid a few hundred years ago. The center of this village was Plaza da la Villa. The walls are mostly hidden because people built houses on both sides of the wall. The houses back wall makes up the wall.

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The tour was made up of 10 people, two groups of three and two couples. Only 9 of us were old enough to drink but on the last stop, the drinking population dropped to 7. This becomes important at the last stop.

First stop:

We went into a small bar that just opens at 8pm. At first all we were starring at was a closed steel gate that made it looked abandoned. The tour leader Andres called the owner for him to open up 8 minutes early, and feigned annoyance in doing so.

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A very local drink is vermut (spelled Vermouth in English). There are a few local regions that make vermut. It is usually on draft and looks very much like Coca Cola (or pepsi if you must). Its served on the rocks but it tastes fantastic. It is a dry vermut but there is no bitterness. I am unsure of the alcohol content. We also had some olives and blu cheese with bread to go along with it.

Across the street is Guinness World Record oldest restaurant in the world.

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Second Stop

The next stop was to sample some wine and have some jamon, which is ham in Spanish. This was probably my favorite stop.

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We started off with a very sweet dessert white wine.

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We had jamon ibericos here, which is the best category of spanish ham available. However, within jamon ibericos, there are supposedly three levels of quality. The jamon ibericos you can easily get at Museo de Jamon (chain restaurant that serves all sorts of jamon) goes about 20EUR a kg. The highest quality jamon ibericos, which was the one we tasted at this restaurant, goes for about 200 EUR a kg. It is hand sliced very thin and you are supposed to lie a piece of it flat on your tongue. Do not fold it as the heat from your tongue can bring out more flavors out of the meat.

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We had just stopped into Museo de Jamon for a sampler platter of their different cuts of jamon. We had jamon ibericos and it was very good. Miles and miles better than the normal ham you can get at the supermarket. The one we had at this restaurant was another step above the jamon ibericos we had at Museo de Jamon. Andres told the group that this jamon can be bought at the nearby market de san miguel for about 200 EUR a kg.

The very sweet white wine had a strong contrast to the salty jamon we had afterwards. Great pairing. Afterwards, we had some bread with a light tomato salsa on it. Very refreshing after the jamon and wine.

Third Stop

We went to another old restaurant that was family owned. At this location we tried out the Spanish Omelet. There is no specific time to have this dish but a common tapas dish. It is made with potatoes and onions. Andres quick five second description of it is that you slow cook the potatoes and onions and then put it into the egg dish. It usually takes a few hours to make as the potatoes and onions take some time to cook.

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The omelet was light and fluffy and so good. There was a good ratio of potatoes and onions to eggs. We were talking to another couple and we both felt as if we could go for a small beer right after the omelet. They were serving mahou lager at this establishment.

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Fourth Stop

The fourth and final stop was the longest of all the stops. We would be trying a total of four wines and two different tapas dishes. We started with a white wine (white Rojas) with croquettes made with spinach, jamon, and cheese. This is another common tapas dish and it was very good. It was paired with a heavy garlic sour cream and we were recommended to finish our wine before the garlic would overpower the white wine.

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We then moved onto a red Rojas and another red wine before the grilled pork dish. At first, it looked like beef as it was red in the middle but we were assured it was pork, which was very interesting. It was amazing. It was paired with caramelized mini onions and a potato and cheese slice that went very well with the pork.

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The fourth wine was a port wine that was made with some raisins. It was sweet and very good. They brought out some vanilla ice cream to go with the port. We were encouraged to pour some port into it and it was amazing. I never thought to pour wine into ice cream before and it worked well. It was a great finish to the night.

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There was plenty of wine on the last stop and we tried some great food. A few of us refused the wine as we were both very full and full of wine as well.

Summary

The tour was 60 EUR a person and all food and alcohol is included in this fee, which was actually a steal. I overheard that without alcohol (in case you were going with your underage kids), it would only be 40 EUR.

We went from stop to stop and I was surprised he didn’t pay anyone during the night. He spoke to each of the owners as if he knew them very well, which means that he has a set agreement with all of these establishments. He may have paid them beforehand.

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