Celebrating World Tapas Day In True Andalusian Style

with Bruce Parkinson

Laura Pena Alberdi, Consul in Charge of Tourism Affairs, Embassy of Spain in Canada, with Antonio Martin-Machuca Ales, International Marketing Manager, Andalucia Tourism.

Open Jaw’s Bruce Parkinson with Seville master chef Manuel de Pablo.

(l to r) Insight Vacations Canada President Cris David, From Spain with Love host Annie Sibonney and Trafalgar Canada President Wolf Paunic.

Nadia Matwijiw and Lisa Didus, Active Journeys.

Spanish tapas culture has travelled the world like an armada, conquering the culinary scene wherever it lands. The style of sharing small plates of tasty morsels has been enthusiastically embraced by food lovers, so much so that there is now a World Tapas Day – or more colourfully in Spanish -- El Dia Mundial de la Tapa.

That day is June 14, and Toronto members of the travel trade were invited to celebrate with the Andalusia Tourist Board and the Tourist Office of Spain. The setting was The Chef’s House at George Brown College, where skilled students were directed by Chef Manuel de Pablo, of Seville’s Meson La Almazara de Carmona. Check out the great reviews here.

The evening was hosted by Annie Sibonney, a culinary writer and authority on regional Spanish cuisine, who hosts Food Network Canada’s From Spain with Love.

Sibonney called tapas culture a celebration of life. “With a morsel of food in one hand and a glass of wine in the other, people truly connect. It’s the essence of the Spanish way.”

Chef de Pablo said Andalusia is the birthplace of tapas, and the bright, complex flavours of his creations were based on common ingredients from the region. “These dishes reflect my soul, and the soul of Andalusia. It’s a great pleasure to cook with this fantastic team and share the results with you.”

Attendees of the gala were presented with a thick volume on the many culinary tourism pleasures awaiting visitors to Andalusia. They range from private tapas tours to olive oil tastings, exploring the roots of the wonderful Iberico ham to learning to a sherry-sipping experience in Jerez de la Frontera.

Sibonney called Andalusia “the Spain of your dreams – sun, passion, guitars and heavenly cuisine.”

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