Crawling Through Palamós, Spain, For Tapas.
I didn’t get the allure of tapas before setting foot in Spain. Even then, it took a trip to the country’s Costa Brava region for me to fully understand Spain’s tapas culture.
I’d been scorned by costly Americanized tapas menus–not really understanding its draw, just like I don’t get the fascination with Pandora Jewelry. Come to think of it, Pandora tapas charms could be huge this holiday season. And why stop there? Burger King, McDonald’s and Subway could all get in on this action too–foot-long BLT charms anyone? Look, I’m not one to judge. I get into plenty of weird things. Currently, I’m obsessed with a Facebook group dedicated to my childhood mall, which was destroyed for a behemoth Wal-Mart a few years back.
Ah, but I digress–back to the topic at hand: Spanish tapas.
Our crawl started shortly after sundown in the seaside village of Palamós. The town is revered for its fresh seafood and fish, so I expected to eat well. What I didn’t expect, however, was how much I would enjoy this Spanish tradition, which was born in Andalusian taverns. At that time, sherry drinkers used meat and bread slices to cover their glasses as a way to keep fruit flies away. Joining us on our tour was regional expert Alba Plana of the Costa Brava Tourism Board and a few of her friends and colleagues.
During the evening we visited three Palamós tapas bars–Godard, Tauèrnes Urtau and El Galeo–sampling at one and then moving onto the next; each providing a tasty array of tapas, wine, cerveza and aperitifis. The taverns ranged from narrow cafes to large three sided wooden bars all crammed with tapas. Prices ranged from 1 to 3 euros, hinging on how taverns presented its bite-size cuisine. El Galeó, for example, used wood skewers for its simplest tapas, while larger specialized pieces were placed on different style plates–you eat what you want, when you want, paying at the end of the evening when your empty plates and skewers are added up.
El Galeó was our final stop and the largest of the three taverns. In a lot of ways it reminded of the Irish pubs that fill city spaces and suburban track malls. Flat screens hung behind the bar, pictures filled the walls, and the crowd swayed and smiled as drinks and tapas flowed steadily. If we had just stopped in for a drink, I would have dismissed the tavern as just another feel good bar, but this was no appetizer fueled happy hour at Applebees. With Alba and her friends at the helm, I finally got it; this was my kind of night out–a fairly inexpensive sampling frenzy wrapped up in good conversation and good times.
Seafood egg tapas at Tauèrnes Urtau.
Jamón serrano on bread, it doesn’t get any more classic than this.
Mmmm… tasty sea urchin.
Want to visit some of these places yourself?
Av. September 11 91B
17230, Palamos (Girona)
C / Pagés Ortiz, 49
17230, Palamos (Girona)
Mauri i Vilar, 3-5
17230, Palamós (Girona)