A Taste of Andalusia

In celebration of World Tapas Day, which takes place today, the Andalusia Tourist Board and the Tourist Office of Spain held an Andalusian Gala Dinner for members of the travel trade last night (June 14) in Toronto.

The evening was hosted by Annie Sibonney of the Food Network Canada’s From Spain with Love, and the tapas spread was designed by Chef Manuel de Pablo, who was on hand from Andalusia this week to train students at The Chef’s House at George Brown College.

“Andalusia is the birthplace of tapas,” says Sibonney. “The custom of eating tapas has had tremendous influence all around the world, but for me, what really is important to remember is the importance the Spanish people place on the social interaction around eating, of really bring people together through food in celebration of life, impromptu get-togethers with family and friends, to me this really is the Spanish way. There’s nothing more satisfying than having a morsel of delicious food in one hand, a glass of wine in the other.”

Last night’s event was for tour operators and the trade, while another event open to the public is taking place today.

Laura Pena Alberdi, director of Spanish Tourist Office in Toronto, Embassy of Spain, announced similar festivities for World Tapas Day are taking place in 31 countries around the world.

“It’s a pleasure to cook for you and to use ingredients from Andalusia for you,” says de Pablo. “I hope you can taste every ingredient, every flower, that is really my soul and the soul of Andalusia.”

Pictured at the event (at top) are Juan Manuel Ortiz Pascual (l) and Antonio Martin-Machuca Ales (r) of the Andalusia Tourist Board, and de Pablo and Sibonne (at bottom).