Is there anything better then enjoying a drink and some tapas in the warm Spanish sun?  While savoring this daily ritual in Granada, I am hard pressed to come up with anywhere else I would rather be.

Fascinating people watching, soaking up beautiful weather and scenery, cooling down with cervezas and sangria and indulging in delicious tapas…Spanish cafe culture at its best!  Day and night, Granada’s many cafes, terraza’s, restaurants and bars, all of which spill out onto the adjacent streets, squares and sidewalks are packed with life, laughter and love.  Even though my Spanish skills are rudimentary at best, I love to try to pick up bits and pieces of the conversations going on all around me, and then let my overactive imagination fill in the rest.  If everyone only knew what exciting, cinematic lives I was busy painting for them in my minds eye!

I love trying the endless array of amazing small plates that come as a complimentary snack with your drinks here.  I believe that Granada is one of the few places left in Andalusia, if not all of Spain that still observes the tradition of providing tapas free of charge with drink orders.  It is actually a pretty smart system if you think about it.  I know that I stay far longer (and for many more beverages) then I would without these small savory offerings.  If for nothing else, out of sheer curiosity to see what the next gastronomic treat might be.

I really dug in and did the leg work on researching the true tapas experience on this last stay in Granada, having cerveza after cerveza, day after day.  All in the name of research, of course…to catalog the astonishing variety of tapas for my little blog here.  It was a difficult assignment yes, but I faced it head on, with dedication and vigor.  My liver is still recovering a month later, but what a riot!  Aside from the delightful food and drink, I also enjoy the social aspect of cafe culture.  I find the Spanish to be some of the most warm and friendly people you could ever hope to meet, especially when you show interest in their culture and an openness to new experiences.

I have included a few pictures below that show a small sampling of the variety of tapas that I enjoyed while “researching” this post.  These images do not even begin to do justice to the bold and diverse flavors, or sublime surroundings.  You will have to use your imagination to fill in the sound of the Genil river and birdsong in the background, to feel the warmth of the sun on your face, or hear the distant flamenco guitar.

Please find a brief description below of the tapas enjoyed in these pictures.  Keep in mind, these are all provided gratis…free, free, free!

  • Perfect, crispy fried sardines with lettuce lightly dressed in oil & vinegar
  • Fried breadcrumbs and bits of sausage with refreshing melon
  • Lima beans stewed in olive oil with ham and garlic
  • Seafood paella with squid, mussels and cuttlefish
  • Mushrooms sauteed in cream, wine and garlic – bread to dip…yes please!
  • Buttery, flaky tuna tart with marinated olives
  • A stew of chickpeas, lima beans potatoes and blood sausage
  • Tender squid in a spicy tomato sauce
  • Chicken and seafood stew
  • Delicious jamon (ham) iberico on bread with cheese and a drizzle of olive oil

 

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