Saturday, November 08, 2014
Tap, tap, tapas
Tapas trails, rutas de tapas, are a simple idea. Somebody, usually the Chamber of Trade or the local Shopkeeper's Association persuades a number of bars and restaurants in their town to sell a bite sized snack and a drink, usually either beer or wine, for a bargain set price. They persuade other sponsors to cough up a prize. Then they produce a route map cum leaflet and, within the set dates, punters skip from bar to bar eating the tapas and drinking the drink. Each time the participants have something on the trail they get a stamp on their leaflet. The punters have a good time, the bars get more trade and the towns look busier.
In Sax I think each bar gave clues to a puzzle. Solve the puzzle and win a prize. In Cartagena, where we lived the tapas trail was a big deal with about seventy places taking part and thousands and thousands of tapas served. Everyone who handed in a leaflet with at least six stamps got a free entry to one of the city museums and there was a draw for a bigger prize.
Earlier Pinoso trails may have passed me by but, to the best of my knowledge, the first tapas trail here was this summer. It was tied in with the performances of a couple of classical Greek plays. We made a bit of a half hearted attempt to get involved but we hadn't checked the leflet properly and asked for one of the tapas on a Tuesday when the route only ran from Thursday to Sunday. We felt so stupid we threw the leaflets away and skulked at home till it was over.
There is another Pinoso tapas trail running at the moment. It is blessed with a name in Valencià. It started last Thursday and runs for the next three weeks with afternoon and evening sessions from Thursday to Sunday. Top prize is a weekend in a spa hotel and there are meals out to be won too. There are just fourteen bars involved but each one is producing a couple of tapas so the range isn't bad for a town with 8,000 people.
We asked a couple of sets of our British chums if they fancied doing a bit of the route with us. I think it was a new experience for both couples. It was a good evening. They got tapas in four places but, because I had to come from work I was a little later and just did three. The tapas weren't bad but they weren't inspired either. Most were a bit samey, something on a bit of bread, toast or cracker. Maybe I'm being a bit hard because I was denied the more amusing half of the experience as I had to drive home afterwards. Nonetheless it was excellent to be doing something on home turf
We were in good company too. There were lots of gangs of friends and couples with the leaflets doing just the same as us. Which bar next? We kept seeing the same people strolling from one bar to another just as we were.