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Top ten heartiest tapas to enjoy when it’s cold outside

Chorizo a la sidra is the perfect winter warmer. Photo; Chispita_666 / Flickr

One of the best things about the weather turning cold in Spain is that it's a perfect excuse to enjoy winter warming dishes. The Local asked foodie experts Devour Spain for the top ten perfect tapas to warm yourselves up on a chilly day.

Spain is said to have more bars per square foot than any other country. Of course, we couldn’t be happier about this! There is something comforting about a tiny Spanish bar with its tall wooden stools, impossibly narrow entryway and more often than not, standing room only.

Everyone inside is laughing and shouting with a drink in their hand. And of course, you’ll also need something to nibble on as you toast with your glass of Rioja or caña of beer. Enter the tapa; that quintessentially Spanish great little bite of food that has become synonymous with Spanish culture.

Now that the temperatures are plummeting, we’ve put together a list of our favourite co..

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Chorizo a la sidra is the perfect winter warmer. Photo; Chispita_666 / Flickr

One of the best things about the weather turning cold in Spain is that it's a perfect excuse to enjoy winter warming dishes. The Local asked foodie experts Devour Spain for the top ten perfect tapas to warm yourselves up on a chilly day.

Spain is said to have more bars per square foot than any other country. Of course, we couldn’t be happier about this! There is something comforting about a tiny Spanish bar with its tall wooden stools, impossibly narrow entryway and more often than not, standing room only.

Everyone inside is laughing and shouting with a drink in their hand. And of course, you’ll also need something to nibble on as you toast with your glass of Rioja or caña of beer. Enter the tapa; that quintessentially Spanish great little bite of food that has become synonymous with Spanish culture.

Now that the temperatures are plummeting, we’ve put together a list of our favourite cold weather Spanish tapas.

1. Champiñones rellenos (stuffed mushrooms)

There are entire bars devoted to the perfect stuffed mushroom tapa. The technique is pretty easy. Take button mushroom tops, fill them to the brim with olive oil, garlic and bits of Iberian ham and wait for them to cook on the grill. This is a cold weather tapa that you can’t miss!

2. Albóndigas (meatballs)

Photo: Krista / Flickr

These delicious Spanish meatballs are usually served in a small clay dish with a little cracker called a pico on the side. You might get one or two meatballs as a tapa and they will be smothered in the most delicious sauce (usually homemade by the cook!) Especially delicious are the meatballs with almond sauce. They’re rich and satisfying on a cold winter night.

3. Dátiles con beicon (dates wrapped in bacon)

You don’t need us to tell you that salty and sweet are a match made in heaven! We also probably don’t need to spend much time explaining that bacon can improve almost any recipe. This tapa is just what it sounds like: a date wrapped in a bit of bacon and then cooked on the grill until the bacon is crispy. Possibly the perfect cold weather tapa.

4. Morcilla de Burgos (Burgos blood pudding)


Photo: Leslie / Flickr

Okay, we know that the idea of eating blood pudding might not be on the top of your list. However, if you are so inclined, we highly recommend this tapa. Generally served with a little slice of bread, the sausage is rich and savory in the best kind of way.

5. Croquetas (Spanish croquettes)

Croquettes, when they are homemade, are easily one of our favorite cold weather tapas. When you bite into the fried croquette, you’ll find a perfect creamy mix of béchamel sauce and bits of chicken, ham, mushroom, spinach (or whatever is on hand in the kitchen). Some say that croquettes are Spain’s answer to leftovers. If that’s the case, then this little tapa is the best use of leftovers we’ve ever seen!

6. Pincho moruno (seasoned pork skewer)


Photo; underthemoonjp / Flickr

The pincho moruno is a very simple concept. The meat is coated in spices that were originally of Arab influence. This is how the skewer gets its name: "moruno" comes from the Spanish for "Moorish." The mix of spices is a lovely blend that is not at all spicy, just very flavorful in what that really enhances the flavor of the pork. A cold weather tapa that pairs perfectly with a good local beer.

7. Callos a la Madrileña (Madrid style tripe)

Again, we’re going to ask you to refrain from judging this tapa by the name and your preconceived notions of tripe. In Madrid this dish is cooked slowly in a spicy sauce along with lovely chickpeas and makes for a perfect little stew to enjoy on a chilly night. We are sure that if you try this tapa, you’ll be soaking up the sauce with your bit of bread after you’ve finished!

8. Chorizo a la sidra (chorizo cooked in cider)

Photo; Chispita_666 / Flickr

If you’ve ever tried Spanish chorizo sausage, you will know that this tapa has to be good! Here, the classic Spanish sausage is simmered in cider until tender and cooked through. The result is a rich and savory tapa typical of the region of Asturias.

9. Buñuelos de bacalao (salt cod fritters)


Photo: Amaya Rodrigo / Flickr

Salt cod is one of the most common fish used in Spanish cooking, and the main ingredient in this cold weather tapa. The fritters are generally served with a bit of garlic mayonnaise, which complements the saltiness of the cod perfectly. We also like to enjoy this tapa with a local beer.

10. Patatas revolconas (paprika mashed potatoes)

Photo: JoaquinMarquezCorrea / flickr

This tapa is typical in the regions of Extremadura, Ávila and Salamanca and it couldn’t be simpler. Homemade mashed potatoes are mixed with sweet red paprika to give them an orangey color and a smokey flavor. There are also typically bits of ham or bacon, or fried pork rinds called torreznos. It’s a hearty tapa, and perfect for a cold evening!

Devour Spain was founded by Spanish food lovers as a way to connect hungry travellers with the local, family run businesses that make amazing food. Offering fun and delicious food tours and tapas tours in Seville, Barcelona and Madrid. Follow them on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter for Spanish food news, tips and recipes.

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Spain

Man jailed for WhatsApp threats to kill Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez

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A man has been sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison for threatening to kill Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez.

Manuel Murillo Sanchez was found guilty by Spain’s National Court of preparing to commit assassination and illegal weapons offences.

The 65-year-old former security guard from Tarrasa was arrested in 2018 after making deaths threats in a WhatsApp group.

The court heard how Murillo Sanchez had offered to act as a “sniper” and “hunt down” the Spanish PM “like a deer”.

The suspect’s comments came after the Spanish government had ordered for the remains of former dictator Francisco Franco to be exhumed.

The court rejected his defence that he had been intoxicated when sending the WhatsApp messages and sentenced him to two years and six months in prison for attempted murder.

He was also given a five-year sentence for possessing illegal weapons and banned from owning any firearms for eight years. The verdict is subject to appeal.

The remains of Franco were removed to a cemetery on the outskirts of Madrid in October 2019, prompting anger from far-right groups in Spain.

In a WhatsApp group, Murillo Sanchez had allegedly told fellow users that he was a “sniper with a precise shot” who could target Prime Minister Sanchez.

“We cannot allow them to humiliate Generalissimo Francisco Franco … If necessary, I will go armed and sit on Franco’s tomb, and if they come close, I will shoot”, he reportedly wrote.

The court said the man’s “determination” and the number of weapons seized from him shows “a high level of danger” even if he had not made any specific plans to kill the Spanish PM.

The suspect had repeatedly expressed “his intention to finish off the president of the government” to “bring about a change in the Spanish political situation”, a court statement read.

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Spain

Barcelona seeks to ban smoking on all beaches, after positive pilot scheme

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Barcelona City Council is seeking to ban smoking on all of the city’s 10 beaches from this July, following a successful pilot scheme that was carried out on four beaches last summer.

‘The measure aims to facilitate healthier places to live together, with less waste and respect for the environment,’ the council said.

It said that there was a ‘good reception’ to the pilot test of smokeless beaches carried out last year, and which was assessed positively by the public with a score of 8.2 points out of 10. It also resulted in ‘a significant reduction of highly polluting cigarette butts abandoned in the sand’, the council added, resulting in the authorities pushing for an extension of the ban on all 10 beaches of Barcelona’s coastline for this summer.

The council said on Friday that it would be launching a campaign this month to inform residents of the new measure, as well as spreading awareness of its benefits. When the restriction comes into effect in July, it will be monitored by the Barcelona Public Health Agency (ASPB).

Last summer smoking was prohibited on four of the ten beaches in Barcelona (Sant Miquel, Somorrostro, Nova Icària and Nova Mar Bella) from 29 May until 12 September. The regulations last year did not allow Barcelona City Council to actually apply sanctions, but bathers could be told to stop smoking by police officers, and if they then refused to do so, they could have faced fines for disobedience.

According to reports, only 2.6% of beach-goers defied the ban at the four beaches last summer, whilst 19% of those at the city’s other six beaches smoked.

The campaign last year highlighted that 13.8% of deaths annually in Barcelona are attributed to tobacco consumption – some 2,200 people. The campaign also focused on the danger of second-hand smoke, considered particularly harmful for children. A study last year revealed that more than 135,000 cases of respiratory diseases and over 3,000 hospitalisations in children aged under 12 in Spain are attributed to passive smoking.

According to the National Committee for the Prevention of Smoking, approximately five billion cigarette butts end up in the sea each year. Discarded cigarettes contain substances such as cadmium, iron, arsenic, nickel, copper, zinc, or manganese – some of which are toxic to both human and marine life.

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Body of US software mogul John McAfee still in Barcelona morgue, seven months after his death

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The body of American anti-virus developer John McAfee remains in a morgue in the Barcelona City of Justice complex, in the northeastern Spanish region of Catalonia, seven months after his death. It is currently located in the Legal Medicine Institute (Imelec), a grey building with honeycomb windows, while a judge has been preparing a report on his death.

That report, released this week, has determined that the software mogul died by suicide in his prison cell in Barcelona province on June 23, 2021 as he awaited extradition to the United States on charges of failing to file US tax returns from 2014 to 2018.

The 75-year-old’s family had raised questions about the circumstances of his death, even though an autopsy concluded that McAfee hung himself inside his cell at Brians 2 penitentiary in Sant Esteve Sesrovires. Prison workers found a suicide note in the pocket of his pants.

The months-long investigation is not quite over yet, as lawyers for McAfee’s family have appealed the Spanish judge’s decision to provisionally close the case. The provincial court of Barcelona must now decide whether to confirm the judge’s decision or order him to keep the investigation open. The family has argued that the autopsy was incomplete and lacked the “basic elements” to draw definitive conclusions about the cause of death, according to defense sources.

The building in Martorell (Barcelona) that houses the court that’s been investigating the case has so many structural deficiencies that in 2019, Spain’s legal watchdog, the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ), ordered two courtrooms closed because of safety hazards. The legal staff in this building is also dealing with a severe backlog of work, which partially explains the delay in concluding the McAfee investigation.

The cybersecurity entrepreneur’s family was very critical of the process from the beginning. His ex-wife, Janice McAfee, traveled to Barcelona and met with three prison officials at Brians 2, but she remained unconvinced by their explanations and questioned the suicide hypothesis. “The last thing he told me was ‘I love you and I’ll call you this evening. Those are not the words of someone who is suicidal’,” she said at the time.

Clear case

But medical experts who examined the body always believed it was a clear case of suicide. McAfee was found hanging from his cell, where he had asked to spend time. He was in pre-trial detention after being charged with tax evasion by the United States. He had been in prison for more than eight months while Spain’s High Court, the Audiencia Nacional, considered the extradition request for failing to file tax returns between 2014 and 2018. On Wednesday morning, McAfee’s lawyers told him that the court had decided to approve his extradition to the US and in the afternoon he killed himself, according to the investigation.

McAfee was the creator of one of the most popular antivirus software programs on the market and was considered a genius in the tech world. His life, however, was plagued by controversy. In 2012, McAfee was named a person of interest by authorities in Belize investigating the murder of his neighbor, but he never faced trial because he fled before he could be questioned. When the coronavirus pandemic hit, McAfee was in Spain’s Catalonia region, where he spent most of the lockdown. Authorities believe he lived in a semi-abandoned hotel in Cambrils called Daurada Park Hotel. Two years earlier, during an administrative inspection, the Catalan police had discovered a cryptocurrency operation in the basement of the hotel.

In July 2021 Spain’s National Police were notified by Interpol about the charges for tax evasion and arrested him on October 3 at Barcelona’s El Prat airport as he was about to fly to Istanbul. The court’s extradition decision, however, could have been appealed, and McAfee’s defense was already working on this process.

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