• Date Posted: 24 July, 2017

Celebrating the Tastes of Spain on Tapas Day

For many professional chefs the mention of Spanish cuisine evokes images of modernist cooking techniques and the chef that introduced it to the world – Ferran Adrià.

But at this year’s Tapas Day the Spanish Economic and Commercial Office in South Africa made sure culinary students understood that even these modern techniques are deeply rooted in a cuisine rich in culinary tradition that boasts a vast variety of regional products.

In its’ third year, World Tapas Day is celebrated around the world to recognise the vital role that Tapas, the sharing of small plates of food, play in Spanish cuisine and culture. This year the South African celebrations, opened by Hon. Mr. Juan Sell, Ambassador of Spain to South Africa was hosted at Prue Leith Chefs Academy.

Prue Leith Lecture team with Chef Inaki


Apart from tasting delicacies like Manchego cheese and Ibérico ham whilst sipping Cava and Rioja, students were treated to a demonstration by chef Iñaki Carretero. Representing the flavours of Spain, Carretero prepared classic dishes such as Ajoblanco, Bacalau al pilpil and a citrus escabeche of baby chicken with aioli – highlighting core Spanish flavours – olive oil and garlic.

Liezl Vermeulen, deputy editor at Fresh Living magazine, also shared her experience of studying in Spain and educated students in the variety of traditional Spanish products, from its famous cured hams and cheese to olive oil, saffron and smoked paprika.

Spanish Food Facts

  • Manchego is the most famous cheese from Spain, the “Land of 100 Cheeses,” and is made from sheep’s milk.
  • Spain is the world’s leading producer and exporter of olive oil – with no fewer than 32 Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) olive oils.
  • Serrano ham is made from white pigs, while Ibérico de bellota ham is made from Iberian black pigs that have been fed on acorns.
  • Spain is the second largest saffron producer in the world and it takes up to 200 flowers to produce a mere 1g of this exotic spice.
  • Spanish products and wine are locally available through Woolworths, Culinary Equipment Company as well as Great Domaines wines.

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