Last month I was fortunate to be in Northern Spain for a weekend. We travelled to Lugo, in Galicia, for a wedding which was held in the beautiful Romanesque and Gothic-style cathedral nestled in the center of town inside one of western Europe’s best-preserved, intact Roman city walls. Storybook wedding aside, we also spent quite a bit of time in Lugo’s various tapas bars with thirty or so friends getting reacquainted, catching up on each others lives, and eating tapas. Lucky for us, Lugo was holding a tapas competition with thirty five bars participating. Each bar offered a special tapa for the occasion under one of two categories; traditional or creative. I was able to try three of the contending tapas, along with several others acompanied by excellent Galician wines.
At Taberna Daniel, among a tapas style dinner of octopus, squid and mushrooms we tried the “tapa creativa”- The name in Galician is: “bacallau con pure duas cores“. Served in a glass it was a puree of cod, sweet onion and a garlicky tomato sauce which tasted like salmorejo. It was tasty and interesting, but I think I prefer not to eat my tapas out of a glass with a spoon. I would give it 3 out of 5 stars though.
At 101 Vinos, along with a beautifully tart Albariño we were served the “tapa tradicional” of “tortilla á mariñeira” which is a square slice of tortilla española, drenched in a marinera shrimp sauce. Very good. My favourite thing at this bar however were the pimientos de padrón. 4 out of 5 stars.
My favourite tapa was at Cafeteria Restaurante Antas de Ulla. Their own style of clams “ameixas ó Antas” included six clams for 2€ with a spicy vinaigrette sauce served with toastettes topped with a dried red pepper and gulas (imitation baby eels) and drizzled with olive oil. Our group ordered lots and lots of these. 5 stars!
I can’t find information yet on the winners but I do know I didn’t participate in the contest the correct way. You are supposed to have the waiter stamp your card proving that you in fact did try their tapa. After you have visited at least twelve bars you can deposit your stamped map in one of the boxes provided at each establishment for a drawing. You could win something too! A case of wine from the local D.O. Ribeira Sacra or a night in a luxury hotel in Lugo.
So next year, mid-September for about two to three weeks there will be another tapas contest in Lugo, I highly recommend checking it out!