I love doing this so much!
Remember back in August when I finally got to meet long-time Twitter pal Francisco and his friends Eduardo and Miguel at La Grulla? Well he sent me this mention in the ABC newspaper today and I couldn’t be more thrilled. Having my work recognised is always an honour, but it feels extra special when this recognition comes from my “fellow Spaniards”. So I especially liked the “Sevillana since 1993” bit. 🙂
For those who don’t speak Spanish here is a translation…
Although several neighbouring cities (which we are not going to name – these are not the times for more regional rivalries) have long been trying to snatch the title of “birthplace of the tapa” from Seville, the truth is that little or nothing is done by our city council to exploit said claim.
In fact, just one person, Shawn Hennessey – Sevillana since 1993 – has done more to make our tapas known (through her blog, organizing tapas tours for foodie tourists, and social media activity…) than the entire tourism delegation.
We continue to be a country of solitary Quijotes, and it always takes somebody from outside to remind us of it.
Aunque varias ciudades “vecinas” que no vamos a mentar – que no están los tiempos para más rivalidades autonómicas – llevan tiempo intentando arrebatar a Sevilla el origen de la tapa, la verdad es que poco o nada se hace desde nuestro ayuntamiento para explotar dicho reclaim.
De hecho más hace una sola persona, Shawn Hennessey – sevillana desde 1993 – por dar a conocer nuestro tapeo (a través de su blog, organizando rutas de tapas de guiris-foodies, moviendo contenidos en redes sociales…) que toda la delegación de turismo.
Siguimos siendo un país de quijotes – o quijotas – solitarios, y siempre tiene que venir alguen de fuera para recordárnoslo.
Every year there is a competition for the official posters for Semana Santa and the Fiestas de Primavera. This year’s winner for the latter is Nuria Barrera. Called La Alma de Sevilla (Soul of Sevilla) it is a still life full of Sevillano symbolism.
Hanging in the wardrobe are three nazareno tunics from the Macarena, Los Negritos and Amargura brotherhoods, alongside two flamenco dresses by local designer Lina. On the wardrobe shelf above there is a wide-brimmed straw hat trimmed with a Triana green ribbon, plus silk shawls and gypsy accessories. Below we can see a drum from the Maestro Tejera band and some clothes worn by costaleros. Hanging on the left-hand door is a 2013 Easter poster (by the same author) of the Immaculate Conception of Murillo, a picture of El Cachorro and a sticker from the 1992 Expo’92. On the right door of the wardrobe there is a mirror with the Giralda being reflected through an open balcony.
Other details include a pot of red carnations and rosemary, corresponding nazareno footwear under each tunic, the traditional striped cushion used at the bullring, polka-dot flamenco shoes and an enea (wicker) chair with a capirote and hood from the Macarena hermandad. Classic Sevillano floor tiling completes the scene. Seriously, this is The Very Best Poster I have ever seen for the fiestas and I seriously want one.
Meanwhile, my good friend Ania Marchlik came across this bit of wonderfulness. Just around the corner from the San Juan de la Palma church, in calle Viriato, a lovely gentleman has recreated this poster in his patio and has left the doors open so people can admire his handiwork. I found the house yesterday and the man was standing in the doorway with Semana Santa music coming from inside the house, and he was inviting people to go in and have a look. Here you can see them together…
My absolutely favourite days of Semana Santa are Thursday and Friday when the women dressed in black with their magnificent lace mantillas come out in force. They are everywhere, and they are wonderful. Ostensibly they are mourning the recent death of Jesus Christ, but they are also totally into looking fabulous. I see no issue with this, though I have a preference for the more mature women who are into looking classy while they mourn (younger women doing “sexy mourning” with short tight dresses and stiletto heels leave me cold).
mantilla photo op next to my old house (on the left)
mantillas & cervecitas
Semana Santa kind of snuck up on me this year, most likely because I was away in London the week before. And by the time I got back – blam! – it was already starting to happen. I still get caught out by the “pre-Semana Santa” processions, so that means getting around town madness begins even earlier.
This year I didn’t actually make any plans to see a particular procession, other than the Borriquita on Palm Sunday. The rest of the time I was just out and about in the afternoon (usually before or after a tapas tour) and them – blam! – came across a procession. So I didn’t see any processions at night this time around.
Maybe next year I won’t do any tapas tours during Semana Santa so I can take the week to get back into it (because it does take energy and planning). I do love it, for reasons I can’t explain. I just do.
La Borriquita nazarenos returning to Salvador Church
La Borriquita paso depicts Christ entering Jerusalem on a donkey
Nuestra Señora de los Dolores, El Cerro procession
handing out estampitas during the San Bernardo procession
El Cristo de la Salud, San Bernardo procession
Jesús de la Paz, Carmen Doloroso procession
Love it when stuff like this happens. I went out late morning to run some errands, and a bit of shopping at the market for a dinner party with friends, and then I stopped off at Lama La Uva (my favourite new wine shop) to pick up some wine. There was a woman there talking with shop owner Ana Linares and so I politely waited my turn and perused the shelves… and then I realized this woman had a couple of olive oil bottles out on the counter, as well as the tell-tale dark blue olive tasting glasses… it could only be an OLIVE OIL TASTING.
So of course I butted in and joined the conversation, and I could tell that this other woman was NOT Spanish. And then the penny dropped and I said… YOU’RE ALEXIS!
This mystery olive oil woman, founder of The Olive Oil Workshop, has been on my radar for AGES, and I’d been meaning to get in touch and plan to meet up sometime. But now I’m glad that never happened. Because meeting Alexis exactly how we met was… well, perfect.
What was supposed to be a quick wine purchase segued into an hour long chat including cheese, olive oil and wine… and meeting a new friend. Both Alexis and I are keen to work with the fabulous Ana, and maybe even with each other! The one true thing is… get three dynamic women together over a glass of wine, all talking about possibilities… I reckon only amazing things will come of this. Also, it was fun.
Another menu tasting invitation this week – this time at the always fabulous La Azotea (I was invited to their Santa Cruz location, aka The Office). As I had a day off on Tuesday it seemed like a good opportunity to drop by and try some of the new dishes on their updated seasonal menu. As you can see… it was all delish.
- Delicious amuse of ajo blanco with mango, mojama and basil oil
- Avocado and tomato salad with pancetta, miso & pipirrana vinaigrette
- Spiced roasted chicken salad with honey mustard vinaigrette
- Ortiguilla (sea anemone) mousse with passion fruit chutney and seaweed mayo
- Hake en papillote (wrapped & unveiled) with vegetables and lemon infused olive oil
- Confit cod with black trumpet mushrooms and SOBRASADA POTATOES
- Steak tartare with green apple slush and spicy herb mustard
- Oxtail meatball with mushroom duxelles, cauliflower and carrot cream
Introducing Sevilla Staycations! Along with my usual hotel reviews and recommendations on Azahar Sevilla and Azahar Spain, I rather like this idea of taking brief staycation getaways in my home town and finding fun things to do outside my typical day-to-day, as well as focusing on what the hotel has to offer. Well, as you can see, this particular staycation tended to be tapas oriented (surprise!) but it’s also not usual for me to be sitting by a cool pool in the middle of a sunny afternoon, or be up on a fabulous rooftop bar at 1 am.
This time I was invited by the Doña María Hotel, a renovated palace that has long had one of my favourite rooftop terraces with killer views. On each staycation I will have a guest with me, and this time it was good ol’ Peter @SVQconcierge. Also, not all staycations will be “invited”. I want to mix it up a bit and, of course, the free stays do not guarantee top ratings. All opinions will be my own based on my experiences. Hotel reviews and Sevilla Staycation experiences will be published separately on Azahar Spain and Azahar Sevilla. Olé!
When I first heard a few months ago that Turismo España had declared that the third Thursday in June was to become known as World Tapas Day, an international celebration of tapas, I was so excited. I started thinking about activities I could either create or help promote and waited to hear more. And waited. And then waited some more. But it turned out that there was very little going on in Spain, with nothing – I repeat, NOTHING – organised for the self-proclaimed Tapas Capital of the world. And most bar owners I talked to here hadn’t even heard about it. So, big time fail, and a real disappointment. Perhaps the city will get their shit together for next year.