Avery and I love Spain. A few years ago we went to Italy to get our first European experience as a couple and loved Rome and Tuscany. Italy showed us what can happen when fresh ingredients get involved. In 2018, we made our first trip to Spain and found that the Spanish lifestyle of socialization was a little more in line than what we have to deal with in North America. In our perfect world, we would rather go to 5 bars in over 5 nights and meet a few (sometimes new) people, rather than trying to everyone at once at one event on a weekend. The problem with that is it consumes your weekend. We went back to Spain the following year and travelled the north. After 4 weeks in Spain, we still feel we haven't seen everything. When there is nothing on TV, Avery and I watch James Blick's videos as he travels Spain sampling some of the best food in the world.
In this episode, I speak to James about his company Devour Tours, and how this Kiwi found to his to Spain to become one of Spain's biggest ambassadors to the Anglophone World. If you are planning a trip to Spain, subscribe to his YouTube channel and his Instagram to get you thinking about how you will spend your time when you get there. And food lovers,
James and his team at Devour Tours are on lockdown like the rest of the planet - but that doesn't stop them from connecting you to the food. The company has put together a digital cookbook so you can enjoy Spanish cuisine in your kitchen. Devour Tours hosts events in a number of Spanish cities including Barcelona, Madrid, Seville, and San Sebastian, as well as other European destinations like London, Lisbon, Paris and Rome.
Finally, Avery and I have some personal suggestions that we loved and have shared on the blog page of this episode which you can find here.
Support the show: http://paypal.me/mattcundill
An ‘on location’ episode! Lisa is in Casa Toni, a busy and traditional tapas bar in in central Madrid, with James Blick from ‘Devour Tours’ and the ‘Spain Revealed’ YouTube channel talking Spanish food, culture, history, beer, lamb neck glands, New Zealanders drinking in Shepherd’s Bush, Russian Roulette with padron peppers, Jesus nailed to the cross, General Franco, Civil War, flamenco, four metre pianos, Farah Fawcett hair, Barcelona, Cadiz, gentrification, is Spanish coffee good or bad...What don’t we talk about?! On this episode we talk: Ordering lunch and some cold beers Lisa having ‘soup with Brad’ Lamb neck glands (!) The guy who got a Michelin star for his glands (!) Eat the whole bloody animal Laurie Lee’s description of the morning seafood trains from the coast Madrid having the second largest fish market in the world (after Tokyo) The bocadillo de calamares (squid sandwich) signature Madrid snack Lisa growing up in Malaga in the Southern Spain Mardid, Barcelona and Seville being the key cities Galicia feeling like New Zealand Spanish beer in small cold glasses Pubs in England versus Spanish bars Spanish people not getting as smashed as Brits or Antipodeans Lisa’s ‘worst of both worlds’ on the Costa Del Sol Tasting the menu at Casa Toni James meeting a Spanish woman (his future wife Yolanda) in Toulouse New Zealand being paradise but without tapas bars How moving countries gives you carte blanche to re-invent yourself James becoming a travel writer (the New York Times didn’t call) Developing Devour Tours – helping people understand Madrid through the food The growth of his highly viewed YouTube channel Spain Revealed The ‘downside’ of your job being to hang around bars Gambas al ajillo being made after the Civil War due to a bread shortage Lisa’s university on the social history of Spain through festivals The atrocities of the Spanish Civil War The restrictions on society until the death of Franco in 1976 The burgeoning of the resorts like Torremolinos and Benidorm Women not being allowed to open their own bank account in the 70s James seeing a lot of globalisation and change in Madrid in the last 10 years The erosion of traditional places Laundromats indicating AirBnB has arrived The Costa Del Sol and Fuengrola having improved drastically in recent years Fuengirola’s brilliant tapas scene Londoners (who consider themselves v cool) choosing to go to the Costa Del Sol Spain’s autonomous regions and their vastly different identities The north of Spain just starting to attract more tourism Madrid locals falling back in love with their traditions Newer bars recalling traditional bars…but having some group behind them High rents pushing independent places out of the city Madrid hipsters drinking Vermouth James worrying about skilled cooking being lost due to chain Barcelona’s historic centre being small and much more intense with tourism Madrid being wider and less crowded Rent rises being a concern for Madrid locals Spanish people not having been to Madrid The New York Times suggesting alternatives to the over-tourism destinations James’ parents in law generation not leaving Spain until in their 60s Spanish identifying with the regions and the pueblo rather than Spanish Farah Fawcett hair dos singing around a four metre piano at ‘Toni 2’’ Finding those ‘wonderful moments of Spanishness’ Madrid having timeless qualities (daily reminders of the 40s to the 70s) Casa Toni (where we are eating) not having anything to do with Toni 2 There being a lot of old money in Spain The legacy of the Civil war in Andalucia where people starved to death The eerie grandeur of Franco’s burial basilica ‘The Valley of the Fallen’ Like walking into something out of Tolkien Catholics ‘have it nailed’ when it comes to drama The old man giving the fascist salute placing flowers on Franco’s grave James top three food experiences in Madrid Visiting traditional market Mercado de La Paz and having a picnic the Retiro Park Learning to ‘tapear’ as a verb The flamenco that reminds James of his favourite tangle of streets in Cadiz The beautiful ‘alegria’ style of music Cadiz being one of the most magical parts of Spain And the most fascinating city in the entire country Lisa and James’ great Spanish coffee debate Can you get hangovers in Spain James top recommendation for coffee in Spain – La Mallorquina
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