Rick Stein 's Spain

Busy Bars and Tapas

by Steve Homer

An evening with Rick Stein: Unusually for me, these past few evenings have been really very pleasantly spent relaxing and watching a cooking programme series on my laptop. With the absence of a TV in my home, by choice I may add, I rarely get the chance to watch any programmes, but I was so pleased to have received as a gift 'Rick's Spain'.

Rick has long been a culinary hero of mine, alongside the culinary genius Frenchman Raymond Blanc. It’s Rick’s passion for food and now travel that enthrals me together with the simplicity of what he finds and cooks.

One thing that stood out in this series is how Rick gets so overly excited by dishes that we, here in Almeria, consider the norm even to the extent that some of us consider them to be bland to the point of becoming boring in comparison with foods from other areas of Spain. Fresh fish cooked in flour… 

I can’t help thinking that Rick missed a great opportunity during this series by not visiting Almeria Province. A visit to Chris Stewart of ‘Driving over Lemons’ fame in the Alpujarras, was interesting but not exactly the culinary delight I would have wanted. A visit to Almeria Province and to my good friend Chef Antonio Gazquez would have included a taste of our golden gem in the form of Tomato Raf….only grown in Almeria Province. Alternatively, it would have been interesting to hear Rick’s view of Gazpacho versus Salmorejo of Cordoba, the latter being a dish I have always considered to be more up-market and a finer classier alternative to the world acclaimed Gazpacho.

One thing the series did for me, and I am sure many viewers feel the same way, is that it has kindled an eagerness to visit busy bars. The most popular bars are packed to the ceiling with flamenco, loud conversation, singing and merriment. This is real Spain and I am comforted to know that it still exists even in Almeria City. With no TV at home, I have no excuse to get out more, so perhaps next time I write it will be from a fun packed local tapas bar.

Return from Rick Stein to My Food Blog >>> 

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