The best thing about travel is the opportunity to eat new, exciting things, and sometimes you don’t need to travel very far to see food in a whole new light. The Campo Viejo Tapas Trail has just finished its second run in Galway, it gave just the opportunity to be a tourist in your own home. The passion, generosity, and vibrancy of Spain came to the streets of Galway from August 24 to September 7, taking place twice a week, on Wednesday evenings from 6.30pm to 9pm and Sunday afternoons from 2pm to 5pm.
The Campo Viejo Tapas Trail returned once again to Dublin, Cork, and Galway for 2016. It has become an anticipated annual event over the last few years and something to look forward to in the summer food calendar. This year sees the addition of two new restaurants to the trail, 56 Central and Bite Club. With its combination of arts, culture, food, and wine 56 Central is a natural fit, while Bite Club has world inspired food prepared using the best of locally sourced ingredients. Returning again for 2016 were Cava Bodega, Galway's original and best tapas restaurant, and everybody's favorite boutique hotel, The House Hotel in the heart of the Latin Quarter.
I took some time out to make my way around the trail one Sunday afternoon. It is a simple format, a group of around 20 people visit four different venues in the city centre, all within a short stroll of each other. A glass of sparkling Cava is handed to you while you wait for everyone to assemble, followed by a glass of ruby red Campo Viejo Reserva to accompany the three types of tapas for tasting. Waiters explain the dishes while Spanish musicians play. By venue three, third glass of wine in hand, any ice has been well and truly broken and everyone is rapidly on the way to becoming firm friends. Paul, our tour guide, did his best to make sure everyone was enjoying themselves and the walks between venues were sprinkled with historical facts and anecdotes.
What’s more enjoyable than good food, great company, and a glass or two of wine? Spend a summer evening or afternoon strolling in the sunshine, visit four of the city’s restaurants, and enjoy a selection of Spanish tapas, some more authentic than others but all very tasty, created to complement the full flavours of the Campo Viejo Reserva.
We sampled a pleasantly chilled gaspacho, both beef and pork sliders, goats cheese whipped with beetroot and topped with candied walnuts, olive tapanade crostini and mushrooms in a garlic and chili sauce. Of the nine savoury tapas we tried the standout was a west coast crab taco with zesty guacamole at Bite Club. Even dessert was taken care of with churros con chocolate in our last stop, Cava. Little recipe cards of a selection of the dishes we had enjoyed were given to us to take away, a nice touch.
After an afternoon of pure indulgence – we were exceptionally well fed, entertained and wined – the sun-soaked Galway streets took on a holiday glow. For €30 per person it is well worth looking out for next year. For further information log onto www.campoviejotapastrail.ie