Midnight fireworks marking the end of Feria 2018 in Sevilla.
So there I was just minding my own business and wondering what to do after a long day of photo editing and writing (catching up on my websites!) when I got an email from a guy called Steve from Australia, who asked if I was free to do a “last minute” tour that evening. And you know what? I really wasn’t up for it, so I said I wasn’t available for a tour but, because my friend Phoebe put him in touch with me, I suggested meeting up for a late afternoon drink.
Steve had just come from judging wine with Phoebe at the IWC in London, and then took a trip to Jerez to visit a few sherry bodegas. He was on his way home with and this was his last night in Sevilla, so he was in a very sherry mood. We met at Palo Santo for a nice chilled manzanilla and a chat and then – somehow! – one thing led to another and we ended up on a Tapeo Extremo. Well, sort of. We only went to two bars – Eslava and La Azotea – but there was definitely extreme sherry involved. And as always, lots of fun talking with the bar staff at both places. An unexpected treat.
The April Feria in Sevilla is not my favourite thing – in fact it’s not even my favourite feria – but I do like stopping by for at least one afternoon to see the splendid horses and the lovely flamenco dresses. By chance this year it has also coincided with the azahar, which is still (just barely) on the trees. It also suddenly became summer yesterday, with beautiful blue skies and temps of around 32º or more.
So here are a few pics from yesterday, with possibly some “feria by night” ones to come. It’s been years since I’ve been to Feria in the evening, but I have an invitation to go tomorrow, so we shall see.
The noche de pescaíto (night of the fried fish) is a time-honoured tradition, taking place on Monday evening before the lighting up (the alumbrao) of the April fair grounds at midnight. Until now. When the powers that be decided last year that Feria should be extended to include two weekends – the more money to make, my dears – this meant that the alumbrao would now take place on Saturday night. Along with the pescaíto. Except at one special location in Sevilla that will not give up the traditional Monday evening custom.
The Antigua Abacería de San Lorenzo is host to all manner of weird and wonderful special events that celebrate various Sevillano traditions. And nobody does seasonal window dressing quite like husband & wife owners Ramón and María Carmen. It’s always a bit chaotic there and always a lot of fun.
I actually learned a couple of things tonight. First that THE sherry drink of the Sevilla feria (manzanilla) is a relatively recent thing – 30 years ago it used to be fino. ALSO… this whole noche de pescaíto thing is also only about 30 years old, and nobody seems to know how it started. Other than the evening before the alumbrao there were obviously people still setting up their casetas and having a casual meal before it all got lit up. Why it ended up being a fried fish meal remains a mystery (since you can actually have fried fish all week long at Feria). But whatever. The pescaíto and manzanilla at the Abacería tonight were great!
So remember the person who got in touch by email last week to tell me about the new vermouth bar Yo Soy Tu Padre? Well, we were able to meet up before they headed home. Meet Sally and Rand from Boston, shown here at YSTP (later we went for a penúlitima at La Azotea). I never know who is reading my stuff, so it’s always great when I get to meet someone who has enjoyed my websites. They plan to come back next spring and spend another month in Triana, so we will stay in touch and hopefully see each other again next year.
By the time I moved to Sevilla Los Gabrieles had already been abandoned, though I think the hostel next door (and above it) was still in operation. It has since closed too. Apparently it is inspected from time to time by the Urban Planning Department, and the paper ads plastered all over this gorgeous tilework are removed.
The original tiles date back to the 1930s and were made in Triana at Mensaque Rodríguez y Cía, which closed its doors for good in December 2006. As you can see, Los Gabrieles was also used as a gaming toom, late last century. What a shame that it is just left like this to deteriorate. I would LOVE to see this place restored and used. Any takers?
I passed this house the other day and felt pangs of longing, remembering how wonderful it was when I also had orange trees blossoming in front of my balcony windows. Ah well… azahar season is almost over now, with the returning RAIN blasting most of the blossoms off the trees. But as always, it was amazing while it lasted.
Ten days ago I was painting my toenails and wearing sandals. Since then the weather has been “variable” to say the least. The past two days I’ve even had to put the heat on again. I know I’ll be complaining about the HOT weather before long, but it would sure be nice not to have to wear tights and shoes.
The other day someone got in touch with me by email. I didn’t know this person, but it turns out they come to Sevilla every spring and spend a month in Triana… and they often check my tapas bar info against their perceptions. Fair enough! This time they wanted to tell me about a new discovery of theirs, a new vermutería that just happens to be in my barrio. So of course I had to check it out.
It’s called Yo Soy Tu Padre (I Am Your Father) and the name stems from what Venezuela born owner Esteban’s grandfather always liked to say to his father, and also is in no small part a reflection of Esteban’s obsession with Star Wars. Below you can see a photo of Esteban’s grandfather, who also became the image for his logo. This is the third location and the newest. I am thrilled! Because not only does Esteban create all his vermouths from sherry wines, but they also do breakfast at this bar … with bagels! Did I mention it’s just down the street from my house? Will be breakfasting there soon, I think.
Meanwhile, how cool that someone I have never met went out of their way to put me in touch with this wonderful place. Thanks Sally!
As soon as I saw the line up for this sherry tasting I knew I’d have to attend. I was already familiar with Velo Flor by Bodegas Alonso, one of the most unique (and delicious) manzanillas I’ve ever tasted, but the Pedro’s Almacenista Selection range by Singular Wines were new to me.
The tasting was at BaQvs in the Hotel Casas de la Juderia, and was led by fellow sherry educator Luis Gutiérrez, who is also the owner of the restaurant. Along with the five fabulous wines – fino, manzanilla, amontillado, palo cortado, oloroso – we were given a history lesson on the origins of wine making in the Sherry Triangle region, and also taken through the sherry making process. It’s clear that Luis really knows his stuff, though I would have liked a bit more tasting note info and discussion on what actually makes these wines “singular”. But it was a pleasant evening, and thanks are due to BaQvs restaurant for the organising and hosting of the event.