Having had a few quietish days at our Spanish house we headed to Seville for three days.  What a contrast from sleepy rural Spain, and especially last week during their “Feria”.  Seville is such a beautiful city - not too big but full of history, beautiful buildings, stunning parks, the Guadalquivir River running through the middle, an amazing cathedral, the Alcazar Palace, and a maze of beautiful little streets. On the edge of the city, and on the far side of the river, a huge area is designated solely to Feria which happens in Seville at the end of April. It is a massive affair and all credit to the Spaniards that they are able to keep going for 6 days –what a spectacle, a real party for the eyes. Traditional costumes, the most beautiful horses and carriages, elaborately decorated tents, bunting, Spanish music, flamenco dancing and sunshine, and spectators can just mingle and are very welcome.

We hired bikes to get around the city which is such a great way to see things – clearly you are able to cover more ground, but you are able to see so much which would otherwise pass you by - on our travels through the tiny streets we came across “El Rinconcillo” – I had read about this place so was thrilled when it was suddenly there in front of us - it is worth searching out as it is the oldest tapas bar in the city and just oozes Spanish character – www.elrinconcillo.es - you can just stand and people watch, admire the huge legs of “jamon” hanging from the hooks on the ceiling, listen to the locals and soak up the “Spanishness” – we did exactly that with a little sherry and a couple of tapas, and then off on our bikes again. The Alcazar is a must to visit, and I loved climbing up The Giralda Tower in the cathedral, from the top of which you got the most staggering views over the whole city.  The hotel we stayed in was an absolute gem – situated in the tiniest of streets in the beautiful historic part of the city, everything about “Corral Del Rey” was perfect - www.corraldelrey.com.   Three days was heaven.  If you have not been to Seville do put it on your list.

In the meantime you can transport yourself to Spain by consuming delicious Spanish olive oil and balsamic – everything can be bought online at www.finooliveoil.co.uk and will be sent out on next day delivery - you will need some delicious olive oil to try out this scrummy recipe for Sauteed Dates – I would love to say we had it as a “tapas” in Seville but we didn’t – it’s something I discovered here – beware as they are very moreish!

Sauteed Dates

Gently heat some pitted dates in a pan with a slug of olive oil – turn so they are coated and heated through (a couple of mins) then serve immediately on a plate with the olive oil they were cooked in and sprinkled with a good pinch of salt! As they are heated the outsides slightly caramelize and the centres go gooey! Great as a nibble or tapas, or alternatively serve with yogurt.

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