Eating In and Making New Friends

I love to eat. Food is, for better or worse, a large part of how i socialize, open up and talk with people. As someone who loves to eat, it will hardly surprise you to know that I enjoy eating out, especially when i’m on vacation. However, eating out three times a day can get on my nerves when i’m on vacation. There just comes a point when you want a home cooked meal.

This ideology is what brought me to Not Just A Tourist. This local tour operator offers a variety of intimate and unique tours of Seville, one of which happens to be a cooking class. The class features 3+ hours of our host, David’s time, including a tour of the Seville market, homemade sangria and then hands on instruction in preparing and cooking three Andalucía dishes.

Why Andalucía? This area, being so close to the Mediterranean and Middle East, blends dishes and flavors from both regions to create some really delicious food. I actually forgot how good one of our dishes was until i started writing this.

The idea of spending this much time with strangers while being forced to cook, might seem daunting and hardly something you’d want to do on holiday. But we found David put any concerns to rest. While soft spoken, he is instantly likeable because he is so warm and friendly. He doesn’t criticize while you are cooking, and takes time to talk and engage you throughout the process.

While touring Mercado de Feria (that’s the Seville market) we were got more great “insiders tips.” For instance, you should not visit a market looking for seafood on a Monday. The shops have sold out and sent their boats to fetch more. That seems obvious but in the US, we don’t visit markets daily for food. (Yes, we should but that’s someone else’s story).

After agreeing on our likes, dislikes for food, purchasing ingredients and some AMAZING olives, we headed back to David’s kitchen.

Oh my, the most delicious olives!
Oh my, the most delicious olives!

Along the way David wove around the streets, pointing out noteworthy sites and offering suggestions on things to visit for the remainder of our stay.

David showed us another group of Cloistered Nuns, these sell great marmalade.
David showed us another group of Cloistered Nuns, these sell great marmalade.

We arrived an an open kitchen space and David had us begin preparations for lunch, patiently walking us through the instructions for preparing our dishes:

  • Salmorejo. This tomato based soup combines egg, olive oil, bread, garlic and salt for a delicious result. You can also also sprinkle jamon on the top for an even more decadent dish. Absolutely my favorite thing from our lunch!
  • Espinacas con Garbanzos. Served as an entree this dish features a lot of cumin, paprika and garlic with spinach and chic peas. It is incredibly filling and as a picky spinach eater, i can say, this too was suprisingly fantastic.
  • Pisto. Served along with the Espinacas con Garbanzo, this is another vegetable based dish that includes onions, peppers, zucchini, eggplant and tomatoes. This was my least favorite but only because i personally don’t care for eggplant. Mr Os thought is was spectacular.
  • Polea. Last but not least, dessert! This would be a real crowd pleaser if you were preparing a traditional Spanish meal for friends and was a great finale for our lunch. It’s a milk and bread based dessert seasoned with cinnamon and sugar. Yum.

There was so much food, i had to take a “pause” at one point to make room for dessert. I think David thought i didn’t care for the food, which is completely wrong. (I have a minor stomach problem so i have to pause often to avoid issues.) I really look forward to making these dishes at home, especially when the ingredients are back in season.

Cooking espinacas con garbanzos
Cooking espinacas con garbanzos.

If you are in Seville, i recommend looking up David regardless of whether or not you want a cooking class. We found him to be charming in all the right ways and really committed to helping visitors enjoy everything Seville has to offer. You really would not be in bad hands. If you feel the same way i do about food, i would strongly recommend his cooking class. You’ll spend about a half day with David but you’ll come away with a very unique memory and a new friend!

Author: Judi Kennedy

Wanderlust. A professional aunt, fitness enthusiast, dog owner and avid reader the rest of the time.

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