Time for Tapas! (Spanish Tapas competition)

In Pittsburgh there is a group of Spanish people losdepatanegra who meet up every Thursday, the majority of which are living here permanently and every year they hold an annual tapas contest.I would definitely reccomend any Spanish people moving to Pittsburgh to visit this group. Although my Spanish friends and I don´t usually meet with them, we were lucky enough to be invited to come and participate in this event.

I have never taken part in any cooking competitions so I was very excited and nervous at being involved.However, this is not your usual "serious" Blue Ribbon Cookoff (there are many cooking competitions held by various companies such as Pillsbury or Crisco or food magazines throughout the USA )this competition is more about friends getting together and having a bit of fun. And of course the TAPAS! There were four categories: Best Tapa, Second Best Tapa, Best Presentation and the best dessert or sweet tapa. I decided to do a dessert due to the complications of a hot tapa and the logistics of getting it to the event warm and as a true British person chose to make something that reflected my culture and background: Delia Smith´s Traditional Trifle. I doubled most of the ingredients though as I made quite a large one (apparently it´s quite strategic as the bigger your tapa/dessert is, the more people will be able to try it and hopefully vote for you) apart from the raspberries (it was a little short on them) and I left the banana out as I don´t like bananas. I decorated the trifle with grated Galaxy chocolate as you can see in the photo although maybe my presentation could have been better.

The contest was held at someone´s house and garden. Luckily, it was a beautiful day otherwise it might have been a bit crowded and even though most people were in the garden, it was pretty packed. There were about 120 people at least! I didn´t realise there were so many Spanish people in Pittsburgh!There were lots of beer, coke, lemonade etc which you could help yourself to. As you arrived you had to write down your name and the name of your tapa and then you had to pose for a picture with your tapa. There was plenty of competition as you can see in the following photo.

There were many tapas I didn´t even try because many of them contained fish or seafood. Some I wanted to try, such as the Pinchos Morunos (a type of kebab), I didn´t even see before they were all gone in the stampede to try all the tapas (and the crowd!) However, I managed to sample a fair few including our friend´s, Zarangollo, typical from Murcia,a scrambled egg type of affair with onion, courgette and peppers, Bob´s Polenta, spinach meatballs and my personal favourite, El Logroñes, toast topped with goats cheese, apricot jam and pine nuts.

I went more to town on the desserts and sampled almost all of them including my trifle. Tarte tatin, strawberries in a cream, tiramasu, mini cupcakes with poppy seeds and cherry were just some of the competitors hoping to win. I voted for the tarte tatin although I secretly thought my trifle was a pretty close second (even if I do say so myself)! The standard was very high and everything I had was delicious....there are definitely some very talented cooks out there! Some of the dishes were presented beautifully especially a chocolate flan which was decorated with forest fruits and another dessert, tocino de cielo, which even had the Spanish flag on it.

Finally, after a slideshow recap to cast our votes and the counting of the votes which seemed to take forever, the winners were announced and the prizes were given. Silvia La Cabra won the best tapa (think it was toast with ham, blue cheese and a bit of olive oil on top)won Best Tapa, Second Best Tapa was Montaditos de Bacalao (toast with a cod spread). Best Presentation was won by the Coctél Castellano (lentils) mainly because the guy was wearing a women´s top or something (I didn´t even notice or see him!) and the tapa that won best dessert was Crema Catalana, which is similar to Creme Bruleé, I think. Apparently, it wasn´t even that good someone told me, they just voted for it because it´s quite elaborate to prepare. I didn´t try any of the tapas that won as I didn´t like them because they had blue cheese, lentils, fish so it just shows that one man´s heaven is another man´s hell!

As for not winning, well I was a little disappointed but you win some, you lose some.Maybe if I ever get to enter another cooking competition, I´ll do better next time! All the winners were from the Patanegra group (surprizingly enough).None of our group of friends were among the winners. It was definitely a lot of fun and as the old saying goes, it´s not winning that´s important, it´s taking part that counts.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Hi! Please feel free to leave your comments-would love to have any feedback-thanks!

Related Posts with Thumbnails