Seville: Tapas and Tio Pepe
It is always a good idea when in Spain to eat jamon Iberico de bellota, the ham that comes from the pata negra (black foot) pigs, who, by the way, are also black all over — which is in part why the meat is so dark, along with the acorns (bellota) that these free-ranging in the forests pigs eat.
An even better idea is to wash it down with a chilled, crisp glass of Tio Pepe, dry sherry from Jerez, just south of Seville.
I was kidnapped from the train station in Seville and taken to Bar Las Teresas by Saray Pineda with Seville Tourism and Shawn Hennessey, a most hilarious Canadian who’s lived here 20+ years and has an encyclopedic knowledge of important things like ham and pigs and sherry. Which is why she gives tours of the city’s some 3,000-some tapas bars (not all of them — but we squeezed in two in an hour and a half).
We ate ham and had then went to another tapas place, Vineria San Telmo, just a block or two away, and had blood sausage mixed with rice and topped with a bright orange, brava-like sauce made with pimenton, Spain’s smoky paprika; fresh-caught cod with a tomato-pepper salsa; and pork over pumpkin purée. Then we shared a slice of lemon meringue pie — made with a meringue that was more like whipped marshmallow than any meringue I’d ever eaten — and washed it down with tiny glasses of sherry also made by my friend Tio P. that tasted like eating a box of Sunkist raisins, all liquified. “It’s the Pedro Ximenez grapes,” Shawn said, insisting I drink another glass.
Bar Las Teresas, Santa Teresa 2, lasteresas.com
Vineria San Telmo, Paseo Catalina De Ribera 4, vineriasantelmo.com
Shawn Hennessey with Sevilla Tapas Tours, sevillatapastours.com