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Unmissable Madrid Tapas Fair 2012

The eighth annual Tapas Fair was held at the end of June in the huge Palacio de Deportes building in Madrid. Hosting 38 different bars and restaurants, each with their own stand, the grand venue radiated with the smell of garlicky gazpacho, tortillas, meatballs, grilled octopus, tender pork loin and more!

While each tapa and caña (pint of beer) cost €1,20, visitors could redeem samples in exchange for fichas, which were small tokens purchased in advance. Visitors were also given booklets that described the tapas in detail to help them choose the best signature dishes, Spanish classics and crazy concoctions on display. If there’s ever a reason to visit Spain, the tapas is it!

We’ve selected a few that really made our stomachs grumble, and which would probably justify a trip to Spain on their own:

1. Carrillera or slow-braised pork cheek is cooked over low heat and braised with a variety of sauces to make it a signature Iberian dish. This Pincho Carrillera, served with a creamy jus, mashed potatoes and fried onions, is said to be rich, tender and melt-in-the-mouth.

2. There wasn’t much in store for veggies, but you could have opted for the hearty tostas (toasted breads) slathered with a variety of toppings. Maybe one of the craziest offerings was tuna, potato, sweet fruit, mayo, orange chocolate shavings and pop rocks! Talk about an explosion of flavour…

3. And a delicious, cold gazpacho was presented at the judges’ table with a colourful lobster garnish. Infused with chopped lobster and basil-infused olive oil, this soup was said to be refreshing and impressive – it certainly looks the part! So, what’s your verdict? Are you heading to Spain for the Tapas Fair in 2013?