MALAGA TAPAS TOURS
Andalucia is justifiably famous for its excellent gastronomic scene. Using first-class ingredients grown throughout the region's lands and caught along its extensive coastline, cutting-edge dishes are prepared and presented with the flair and innovation for which Spain's chefs are so famous - although the simple, traditional tapas of cheese, prawns and of course jamon are just as recommendable.
But when you come to visit Malaga, how do you know which of the many, many tapas bars in the city to go to? If you want to choose produce yourself to cook in your holiday apartment, how do you find the best market stalls? Which guidebooks, apps, or blogs should you scour for recommendations?
Why go on a tapas tour?
If you'd prefer to let friendly local city experts take the lead, and accompany you to the best spots, suggesting the unmissable tapas and must-try wines - so you can sit back and enjoy the Andalucian tapeo, without worrying about following maps, navigating windy streets to out-of-the-way restaurants and getting lost in the process, then a tapas tour is for you. These people know the places, the owners and the food. They know exactly what to order.
How does a tapas tour work?
Normally your tapas host (always an English speaker) will collect you from your hotel or apartment, or if you're staying outside the city centre, you will meet at a central, easy-to-find location. He or she will take you to two or three bars, ordering a selection of small dishes at each stop, explaining the dishes and their history and cultural importance, as well as suggesting wines to match - in the case of Malaga, sweet muscatel wine would be on the menu, as well as grilled sardines, two unmissable specialities of the city's cuisine. You may also meet chefs, restaurant owners, stallholders and shopkeepers, and get to see them preparing the day's dishes or produce.
How long does a tapas tour last? Do we just visit tapas bars?
The tour will typically last between two and four hours, with small groups of up to 10 people. Some tours also include visits to Malaga's gourmet market, Mercado de la Merced, with stalls offering food that's either ready to eat, or can be freshly cooked. The fresh food market, Atarazanas, housed in a beautiful former shipyard, also has superb fresh fish and seafood stalls; you can enjoy tastings in both, such as hand-carved jamon iberico. Other companies offer specific market tours, as well as tours themed around tapas and art, or tapas and flamenco.
This is a most enjoyable way to spend an evening, with a chatty host who will offer an invaluable insider's insight into the city, its residents, its history and what's hot on today's menu. You will learn more than you ever expected, and taste some delicious tapas - maybe even a dish or ingredient you've never tried before - in some of the city's best bars and restaurants. Many tours offer a list of recommended restaurants to take away with you, and sometimes a glossy of Spanish food terms too.