Tag Archives: spain

Colorful Recipes: Shrimp Pil-Pil

Ready for this week’s tapa? Hope you like seafood, because we are doing gambas pil pil, or shrimps in a hot garlic sauce. Here we go!

Gambas Pil Pil

You Will Need:

  • About 40 or so fresh, peeled shrimps
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic (to taste)
  • Parsely
  • Whole mini cayenne peppers
  • Hot paprika
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt to taste


Mince the garlic and a little bit of cayenne pepper (to however hot you want it), and parsely to taste (usually we do half a tsp), and mash it with a mortar and pestle until it is well mixed.

In an earthenware pot, mix in the oil (enough to cover the bottom). Put it on the burner and, when the oil is hot, put the garlic mixture in.

Once all the ingredients are golden brown, put in the shrimps carefully and leave them in the pot for about three or four minutes.

Lastly, sprinkle a tsp of paprika (or less to your taste) on top of your dish. Serve hot and immediately.

Colorful Recipes: Alioli Sauce

Alioli Sauce

If you all remember, a few weeks ago we gave you a recipe for Patatas Bravas. You can use the same recipe to make Patatas Alioli, or even mix the sauces and make Bravioli. Here is the recipe for the zesty Spanish garlic mayo sauce. Have fun with it!

Makes enough for a 4 servings of roast potatoes, prep time is about 10-15 minutes.

You will need:
• 4 medium to large garlic cloves
• salt to taste
• 2 egg yolks
• 1 ½ Tbsp fresh lemon juice
• 1 cup olive oil


Mince the garlic, then crush it with the flat part of a knife.  Then, adding your salt to taste, grind it (best if you have a mortar and pestle) until it is a paste.
Crack the eggs and separate the yolks in a small mixing bowl, then whisk in the garlic paste. Using a hand mixer, pour in the olive oil in a slowly in a thin, steady stream until a creamy sauce forms. Add the little bit of lemon juice at the end, and keep blending so the sauce stays smooth.

Colorful Recipes: Mushrooms al Ajillo

Mushrooms al Ajillo

Mushrooms al Ajillo, or garlic fried mushrooms, are found all over the country, but their specific spices and ingredients vary from place to place. This style is a little more southern, and have a bit of a zing! They are a great starter.

This recipe serves 4 and the cook time is about 10 minutes. Just be careful not to burn the mushrooms or the garlic!
You will need:
• ¼ cup of olive oil
• 4-5 cups of mushrooms, your choice of what kind, cleaned.
• 6 cloves garlic, minced
• 3 tbsp dry sherry, your choice of which kind
• 2 tbsp lemon juice
• ¼ tsp hot paprika (if you care for it)
• 2 tbsps chopped parsley


Heat the oil in a pan and fry the mushrooms, stirring continuously.

Set heat to medium, then add the garlic, sherry, lemon juice, paprika, and salt and pepper to taste.

Cook for about 5 minutes or until the garlic and mushrooms have softened.
Remove from the heat, sprinkle with chopped parsley, and serve immediately!

Colorful Recipes: Tortilla with Chorizo

Tortilla with Chorizo

The Spanish Omelette, or Tortilla, is a staple of almost all regions in Spain. It´s a little tricky to get it right the first time without toasting it too much, but with a few run throughs, it´s easy enough to get the hang of.
This recipe serves 6 and takes 30 minutes approximately to prepare.
You will need:
• 5 tbsp olive oil
• 6 oz of thin sliced spanish sausage (chorizo preferably)
• 1 ½ lb potatoes, thinly cut
• 2 yellow onions, halved and thinly cut
• 4 extra large eggs
In an 8-10” pan, heat 1 tbsp of the oil and fry the sausage until cooked through and browned. Place on paper towel to dry.
Add another 2 tbsp of oil to the pan and fry the potatoes and onions until cooked and slightly browned (the pan will be pretty full). It will take about 20 minutes, turn them every so often.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs, add in salt and pepper to taste, and the sausage.
Without breaking up the potato mix, add it carefully to the bowl of egg.
Rinse the pan and then add the rest of the olive oil. Then add the entire mix from the bowl slowly over low heat. Wait for the eggs to set. Then turn with a spatula so the tortilla does not stick to the pan.
Once the base of the omelette has set, turn gently. Continue until it cooks through.
You can, if you have a grill/broiler, also set it to high and put the tortilla underneath of it, protecting your pan handle with foil. This can be slightly easier, as turning the tortilla sometimes makes it fall apart.

Happy eating!

Colorful Recipes: Patatas Bravas

Want a few easy to make Spanish tapas for your next meal or party? Try some of our favorites!

Patatas Bravas

Bravas are a staple in Spain, from elegant restaurants to your local village bar. They are simple and easy to make and a great starter to whet the appetite.
This recipe takes approximately 30 minutes and serves 4.

You will need:
• 3 tablespoons of olive oil (extra virgin not necessary)
• 4 large potatoes, peeled, and cut to 1-inch cubes (we recommend russets but whatever you prefer will still work)
• 2 tablespoons minced Vidalia onion
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 ½ tablespoons of hot paprika
• ¼ teaspoon Tabasco Sauce (or to taste)
• ½ cup Ketchup
• ½ cup mayonnaise


The Sauce
Heat 3 tbsps. of oil in a pan over medium heat. Slowly add in the onion, then the garlic, and fry until the onion is translucent. Then, turn off the burner and stir in the paprika and Tobasco. Put the fried mixture in a bowl and stir in the ketchup and mayo. Salt and pepper to taste.

The Potatoes
Salt the potatoes lightly and fry in a pan with 1 cup of oil. You want them to be cooked through and slightly browned on the outside. Remember to stir them from time to time. Then, drain them and set them aside on a towel or draining rack.

When this is done, put the potatoes on a plate and drizzle the sauce on top while everything is still warm. Serve immediately.

Learning the Art of Tapas in Madrid

Of course Spain is known for its incredible food. ColorfullySpain is now offering our clients a chance to intimately learn about the gastronomy and food culture of Spain – by cooking it themselves.


We are now offering day and night opportunities for small groups to have tapas demonstrations, specially prepared gourmet meals with award winning chefs, or have hands on one evening cooking courses themselves. And, all of these options are of course accompanied by a short explanation given by a professional about the history and culture of tapas across the country.h04

Why just eat when you can dig in yourself? This summer, make your vacation delicious.


For more information about our gastronomic opportunities, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

4 Things in La Rioja You Can’t Miss This Summer

4 Things in La Rioja You Can’t Miss this Summer

Colorfully Spain’s summer programming has everything you need for a perfect vacation. La Rioja is famous for its wine making, but that isn’t all it has to offer. Here are 4 things that you can’t miss in Spain’s wine country this summer.


  1. The haunted bodega of El Fabulista. You can get wine anywhere in the province, but wine that comes with a story like this one, told by a native storyteller in the spooky cave like cellars of this unique bodega is not something to miss!
  2. A tapas crawl through the Barrio Laurel. Logroño is not an incredibly famous place, but for its tapas, it should be. It is the hotspot of the north, each restaurant in the neighborhood of Laurel specializing in a different tapa, making for an overall incredible gastronomic experience.


  3. The Monasteries of Suso and Yuso. Built up and down from each other on the side of a small mountain, these two monasteries are now an UNESCO Heritage Site, as the elder one, Suso is believed to be the birthplace of the modern Spanish and Basque written languages 1,000 years ago.


  4. The town of La Guardia. If you want a peaceful and picturesque vacation, this is the town to go to – there are no cars allowed in town because the entire village is resting on some 300 underground bodegas! You can see some of the eldest cellars through the glass floors of some restaurants, and many have tours available, and are still functional today. So leave your wheels at the city gate, and take in the medieval architecture on foot.

If you are interested in our summer and autumn tours to La Rioja in 2016, please don’t hesitate to contact us for more information.

Four Great Spanish Wine and Cheese Pairings

Wine and cheese, an inseparable marriage of two great foods. And one that is enjoyed the nation over here in Spain. However, there is a subtle art to creating pairings, especially in a place that offers so many different options of each.

Gourmet Cheeseplate with Wine

One of the biggest pitfalls I see of matching these foods is that there is this stubborn and persistent expectation that cheese should always be paired with a red wine. This is a fallacy for several reasons: one is that as there are so many different tastes, it is a poor move to simply pair them indiscriminately, and two is that when you get down to the chemistry of it, salt and tannin don’t mix well whatsoever.


I suggest not trying to pair highly cured cheese like manchego with any reds, or any bleu cheeses, as it will kill the taste of both the wine and the food. But that isn’t to say there aren’t good pairings for them, or that no red works out well with any cheese.


  1. Manchego and Port – Old manchego especially, or curado. The high salt content mixes very well with the sweetness of a port wine. Alternatively, it goes well with richer sherries, anywhere from Amontillado to Palo Cortado.
  2. Montsec and young Red – if you really do want to have a red with your cheese, goat cheeses from the north of the country work well. But make sure it’s a young red, something soft, and preferably not aged in oak barrels. Often times the bite of a crianza wine or older is too much and overshadows the cheese.
  3. Sweet whites and smoked cheese – I am a big fan of Albariño in general, and of diametrically opposed tastes, so when I found this suggestion I tried it post haste. Since Albariños are fruity, it does play well off of a smoked cheese. I recommend Idiazábal cheese (native to the Basque Country).
  4. Sheep’s milk cheese and Cava – Many of the cheeses from the Pyrenees, such as Tupi or Ombra have distinct tastes that linger, and go well with chilled cava, which won’t overpower and thus mask the unique taste of the cheese. Cava is soft enough to compliment, and I recommend semi dry.

A Movable Bookclub

Colorfully Spain has a great new way to travel Europe; through the pages of a classic novel.

A Movable Book Club’s name was taken from the Ernest Hemingway novel A Movable Feast, which beautifully details his life abroad in Paris in the 1920’s. A Movable Feast is a journey through Paris, and brings Hemingway´s memories to life, letting the reader walk alongside him as he traverses the city and his sea of acquaintances. The idea behind the Movable Book Club is similar; we want to take a traveler on a journey into a classic novel, visiting all of the sights featured in the book, and experiencing a beloved classic by following in its footsteps.

Included in the trip is not only a personal copy of the selected novel for each traveler, but also an accompanying literature talk over coffee led by a professional, to explain and discuss each part of the book as they go along.

If you are interested in our literary adventures, contact us for more information!

Spanish Gastronomy: An Interview

Spanish Gastronomy is quite varied. While mostly what comes to mind when we think of Spanish cuisine is Paella and Sangria, the world of Spanish cooking is wide and wild, and has its roots in Celtiberian food, as well as Arab culture.
Each province of course has its own specialties, but you will find that the large zones, specifically the south, the central mesa, and then the north east and north west, have widely different types of food and wine. To get a little more in depth with this, we talk to food critic Jose Maria Llorente.
^Shrimp Pil Pil
CS: How would you describe the gastronomy of Spain in general?
JML: Succulent, excellent; it is really varied and different across regions. Not just Paella and sangria. There is something for every taste and more importantly, every budget. It’s a really accessible cuisine.
^Spanish Omelet
CS: What are some of the best dishes, the most significant, and the most creative that Spain has to offer?
JML: It is clear, in my opinion that the Spanish chefs that prepare modern, creative, and cutting edge cuisine are the best in the world. I’ll highlight the latest creation by Josep Roca as an example; in his restaurant, Cellar de Can Roca, in Girona, everything pays homage to the olive and olive oil. His menu right now includes gazpacho with olives and olive mousse, buñuelo, which is a type of small pastry ball, filled with black olive, manzanilla ice cream, fennel gelée and picual olive. It is a really rich menu, and avant-garde, but delicious.
In terms of overall traditional food, I would be remiss not to talk about Spanish rice dishes – and not only Paella. There are also the many types of gazpachos, cold tomato soups that is, and traditional Spanish stews.  In the south you can also see how the marinades and desserts come directly from Moorish culture, such as the famous turrón, an especially tasty type of nougat.
CS: So, the gastronomy really varies from region to region! What would you say any traveler should try in the different gastronomic zones of Spain?
JML: Yes, it changes a lot. The base ingredients, the prep work, just about everything in the traditional kitchen is different area to area. For example, if we are talking about the north of Spain we could try a typical marmitako, which is a potato stew with peppers and native tuna. The north tends to do a lot with fish, ox, beef, peppers, potatoes, hearty foods. I would recommend as a complete meal not to miss, a cut of hake fish in green sauce to start, then a grilled side of ox, and canutillos, stuffed pastry rolls with cream, for dessert.
In the south they do a lot of fried fish, gazpacho, and rice dishes. I would recommend gazpacho to start with, of course, followed by a cut of red tuna, then partridge stuffed and marinated in onion, with honey biscuits for dessert.
The central mesa, where Madrid and La Mancha are located, does a lot of roasted meats, especially lamb and suckling pig. The ham from this area is one of a kind and world class. You will never find anything quite like Iberian ham. If you’re in the area you should try a whole meal starting with vinegar soaked fried anchovies, then Madrid’s famous cocido, a thick ham and sausage based step, and some famous frosted pastries called rosquillos de San Isidro for dessert.