Sometimes, just eating in a new city can be intimidating. You might spend an hour deciding where to go only to be struck by an extensive menu full of unfamiliar dishes. This is where Madrid Food Tours comes to the rescue. Offering a variety of customizable tours, including daytime market visits and evening tapa excursions, they turn Spanish food novices into pros while introducing you to the best Madrid has to offer.
We met up with our guide, Lauren (also the company´s founder) on Sunday morning at Plaza Mayor; the perfect central location to get started. Lauren, like all of the guides, is a food lover at heart with a vast knowledge, not just of food, but of Spanish history and culture. From there, Lauren led our group of four through Madrid’s gorgeous centro streets to begin the tour with a traditional Madrileño breakfast, churros con chocolate.
Our next stop was the San Miguel Market, originally built in 1916 but remodeled in 2003, which houses over 30 vendors each specializing in one of Madrid’s delicacies. We started with a sampling of vermouth, smooth and sweet, along with olives skewered with anchovies, cheese and red peppers: a delicious combination. We continued throughout the market sampling croquetas, bacalao and other specialties all while receiving interesting background details on the history and preparation of each item.
After making our rounds at the market, we ventured down to the charming Huertas neighborhood where we learned more about Spain’s most famous culinary contribution: jamón. Lauren educated us on the ins and outs of classification, explaining how jamón serrano and iberico differed in production and taste as we swirled and sipped some vino tinto from Spain´s many acclaimed wine regions. From there, we went on to try a variety of tapas in a local cerveceria before our final stop, a pastry shop with an extensive array of pastries, cakes and candies where Lauren helped us navigate the vast selection and choose the perfect sweet treat to take home after the tour.
Duration: 3.5 hours
More info: madridfoodtour.com
As delicious as my tour was, the best thing about Madrid Food Tours is the customization available. If you’re not a die hard carnivore or just can´t stand olives, they’ll create the perfect tour for you and help you pick out dishes you’re sure to love. The small tour sizes also keep things flexible and spontaneous: the antidote to your traditional, impersonal tour experience! Tours start at €85 including many food tastings and two drinks, and last about three and a half hours.