Did you know that Spanish tapas started over 300 years ago, when inn-keepers along Spanish coach lines would sell sherry to thirsty travelers, while fresh horses were being hitched to the coach?
When patrons began complaining about the number of flies that were getting into their tipple, the inn-keepers began topping the cups with a slice of bread to keep the pests out. To their delight, they discovered that the travelers bought more wine when a snack was included, and the simple, local, and unpretentious tradition of tapas (small plates) was born.
Now, tapas is enjoyed on a daily basis throughout Spain, usually around four in the afternoon, and is often a mini “food crawl” to several favorite spots to hold folks over until the traditional dinner at around eleven at night.
I enjoyed a fantastic night out, last night, with a focus (as you might have guessed) on all things Spain at a local class: Spanish Tapas and Wines from Spain.
This 3-hour In Good Taste Cooking School class explored numerous regions of Spain featuring different Spanish wines and small dishes. It was a demonstration class where the Chef Erika Reagor of Thrive Pacific NW (a local Portland food truck) both entertained and educated ten of us foodies, as we sat back, tasted and enjoyed.
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Chef Erika is also a certified Nutrition Educator, Health Counselor and Nutrition Consultant. She teaches cooking classes based on whole food preparations and alternative ingredients. She has been an in-home chef for the past 6 years, providing the benefits of fresh, whole, and affordable meals for numerous clients.
This was one of the best classes I’ve ever taken, and the most fun.
The braised ribs in adobo were absolutely amazing (and I know ribs), and the Spanish octopus was, hands down, one of the best foods I’ve ever put in my mouth.
If you’re interested in Spanish cuisine, tapas, enhancing you cooking skills, of just sharing some amazing food with some friendly foodies, I strongly recommend taking a class at In Good Taste.
Thanks Chef Erika and In Good Taste for showing us a great time!
Open-faced Crab Empanadas
Crab simmered in a rich tomato sauce and topped on a savory pastry.
Wine Pairing: Segura Viudas Brut Rererva
Spanish Octopus, Confit Potato, with Romesco Sauce
(Pulpo con Patatas)
Tender octopus served with smokey potatoes
Wine Pairing: Tapena Verdejo
Serrano Ham Croquettes with Roasted Pepper Coulis
(Croquetas de Jamon)
Fried little balls of ham and cheese. Yummy!
Tapas-Style Meatballs over Braised Greens
(Albondigas en Salsa)
Wine Pairing: 2010 Ergo Tempranillo – This was my favorite wine of the evening, delicious and not at all tannic.
Grilled Lamb Skewers with Salsa Verde
Marinated and Grilled Lamb with a Spanish-style sauce of 10 different herbs and spices.
Braised Pork in Adobo Sauce
Both pork shoulder and ribs are slow cooked in sherry and spices to create a most tender and flavorful dish.
Wine Pairing: 2009 Las Rocas Granacha
Creme Catalana with Winter Fruit Compote
A baked custard with spices and orange zest.
Pairing: Dry Sherry