The Goldring Travel 2017 Culinary & Cultural Cruise aboard the Seabourn Encore left Gibraltar and headed to Malaga, Spain and another Private Goldring Travel Event: Making Tapas. And that was followed by Eating Tapas in Cartagena, Spain!
|Eric Goldring with the proprietor of
El Barril del Tapeo (The Tapas Barrel) – Cartagena, Spain
This is the first time I have arranged a cooking class (as our Ensemble Travel Experience), but this was no ordinary class…especially after our adventure in Tangier, Morocco purchasing most all the ingredients I and Michelle Shea (our Adventure Dining Guide chef) needed to cook a Moroccan feast only days earlier. This time we had two local guides take us into Malaga’s market to purchase ingredients, but this time: My guests were going to be the chefs!
|Mercado Central Atarazanas|
|Mercado Central Atarazanas|
|We wandered the market not only to make purchases,
but to take all the Mercado Central Atarazanas
had to offer.
After wandering the market (with me, of course, picking up a few things for a later event!) we, bags in hand, headed to Labratorio de Sabores (Laboratory of Flavor), where we met up with our wonderful and charming “grandmother” chef who guided us through the making of four different tapas: A fresh Gapzacho, Meatballs in Almond Sauce, Pil-Pil Prawns and Tortilla (a Spanish potato omelette).
|Our wonderful Food Sherpa and Labratorio de Sabores Guide
But first we needed wine and beer (just open the refrigerator and enjoy…which always makes cooking more fun!) before we started to grate tomatoes.
|Simone explaining that wine was available at all times|
As our “grandmother”, I mean chef, did not speak any English our guide was our interpreter, but as both were so charming it just added to the experience…as you will later read.
|Diving right in:
Grating tomatoes and rubbing it with olive oil on fresh crusty bread
We then made (OK, for this one the chef pretty much did the hard work) gazpacho.
|Our group was “hands on” making gazpacho|
It was then onto making meatballs and potato tortillas
|Tortilla and Meatballs in Almond Sauce in the making|
|Even those a little overwhelmed with the idea of cooking
dove right in…with impressive results!
(“I gotta get a picture of this!”)
This was followed by Pil Pil Prawns…nice and spicy. And while I was cooking away, “Grandma” made sure she gave me a hard time, always criticizing me with a bit of a twinkle in her eye. I think because she could tell I knew what I was doing! There is no messing with the chef, but clearly messing by the chef!
|Goldring Travel’s tortilla and pil pil prawns. Not Bad!|
With the cooking done, it was time to sit down and enjoy our culinary creations. Honestly, I did not know if this would be enjoyed by everyone, but literally everyone had a great time and, of course, were, to the surprise of some, culinary masters!
|A true Culinary & Cultural Experience
Enjoying our Spanish culinary creations in Malaga, Spain
having shopped in the market and the cooked
with our Spanish chef speaking only Spanish
Grandmother was not, however, done! As everyone was turning in their aprons, she pulled me over to the side and told her son to give me a jar of her ground chili (used in the pil pil prawns) as a little gift. Even more special was her grandmotherly hug and kiss on the cheek.
To be sure this was not merely a cooking class in a ship’s culinary center, but a true cultural experience! This had less to do with learning to cook as it did with cultural immersion.
After heading back to the ship it was time for a Private Galley Tour with Chef David. It is always interesting to me how each executive chef explains the galley operations as each one perceives things and talks about it differently.
|Chef David Whelehan explaining the Seabourn Encore’s galley
operations with champagne and mimosas in hand.
I always make a special note that while our private galley tour was at 4:30 p.m., the galley is quiet. That is because on Seabourn every dish is made a la minute; as it is ordered. It is part of the reason a Seabourn guest’s special ordering modifying menu choices is not only possible, it is expected.
|No Seabourn galley tour would be complete without caviar!
(This counts as tapas, right?)
|Seabourn bakes its bread almost around the clock.
Your dinner rolls are baked right before dinner…not the night before.
Our Tapas Immersion continued the next day in Cartagena, Spain. I, along with two friends, took a walk along the charming marina to La Rambla and then to visit the Roman amphitheater and surrounding areas. OK, we weren’t really planning on “the surrounding areas” but we got a bit lost. It was good to see more…and better to finally find our way back to La Rambla!
|Seabourn Encore docked in downtown Cartagena, Spain|
|La Rambla – Cartegena, Spain|
|Roman Amphitheater – Cartagena, Spain
Sort of a curious modification of ruins. Not my favorite.
It was, however, now time to find a place to enjoy some local food. As I normally do, I just find a place. This time we wandered down a fairly austere walkway with couple of tables and a blackboard sandwich sign outside a doorway. I turned to my friends as we approached, skeptically noting the sign said “Spanish Tapas”, like there was any other kind. Fortunately, we decided to peak in the door and we instantly knew this was “The Place” for tapas: El Barril del Tapeo (literally meaning The Tapas Barrel).
|Tapas…Lots of Tapas|
|Tapas included most of the same things we had cooked the day before|
We saw so many delicious looking tapas we didn’t know what to order so, in true Goldring Travel fashion, we pretty much ordered everything..and local beer!
|El Barril del Tapeo tapas…after the fact!|
The apparent owner of the restaurant, who spoke no English (and we had only a little Spanish between the three of us) came over playfully making fun of us for ordering so much food. When I motioned I was so full, he repeatedlyl made a motion I couldn’t figure out…and then we did. He was saying “Stand up fatso…so the food settles and you will have more room!”
|You know when they bring out the liquor after your meal
you are in trouble!
|No idea what is in this old brandy bottle!|
|No idea what is in this old yellow herbal liquor bottle either!|