Virtuoso Life - January/February 2018 - 138
Spaniards like to socialize over tapas
and drinks in the early evening, then
go for dinner later. "Plan a tapas tour
on your first or second night, so you
can dine a bit early (and get over jet
lag). Go from bar to bar with a guide
and try one dish at each place. On the
following nights, do as the locals do,
and dine around 8:30 or 9 PM. It's a
great way to experience the culture."
- Ginny Mabry, Virtuoso travel
advisor, Davidson, North Carolina
Clockwise from top left: La Bulla; Paula Felizón, cofounder of BarroAzul;
and an exhibit at Delimbo Gallery.
ham from acorn-fed pigs. Relaxing on high
stools at the wraparound marble bar, we
sampled paper-thin slivers of air-cured ham
along with glasses of fino, a pale, dry sherry.
The next stop was La Bulla, across from
the massive arched walls of the city's medieval Royal Dockyards, used as a set in the
HBO series Game of Thrones. Seated at a long
table next to a picture of a big red rooster,
we shared truffled artichokes and battered,
deep-fried shrimp, served in a soda glass.
La Brunilda Tapas, with a blue door and
a barely visible sign, stands on a sleepy side
street near the Museo de Bellas Artes. Its
ranking on various top-ten lists means tables fill quickly. One strategy: Plan on a late
lunch. We arrived half an hour before the
kitchen closed. A waiter patiently translated
the chalkboard menu, then put in our order -
salt cod fritters with pear aioli, and grilled
pork - leaving us enough time to snag bread
pudding with caramel sauce for dessert.
Studios and Sisters
THE NEIGHBORHOOD: MACARENA
Paula Felizón calls herself a "ceramics romantic." Working in her studio, BarroAzul
(named for the blue clay taken from the Guadalquivir River), she is one of the few remaining artisans in Triana, a riverside neighborhood that was once the center of Seville's
Moorish designs influenced the colorful glazed tiles found in courtyards, churches,
and street-corner shrines throughout the city. Each was hand-painted, using techniques
Felizón teaches during two-hour classes. (Your travel advisor can arrange a class through
Valesa Cultural Services.)
I learned a method called cuerda seca, used centuries ago to create tiles with geometric patterns. Felizón demonstrated how to trace a design onto a blank tile, outline it in
heavy black pencil, then use a syringe to fill in the spaces with colored glaze. My finished
work - a small square inlaid with yellow stars on a blue background - isn't perfect, but
that's the point. It's one of a kind.
V I RT U O S O L I F E
In the city's northeast, artists' studios, cafés, and restaurants with local followings
are tucked into courtyards and side streets.
Landmark sites include La Feria, one of the
city's oldest food markets, and the Basílica
de la Macarena, honoring the Macarena de
la Esperanza ("Our Lady of Hope of Macarena"; the 1990s dance hit, incidentally, was
about a Sevillian woman named for her).
At the Convento de Santa Paula, cloistered nuns support themselves by selling
homemade jams and turrón, an almond nougat candy flavored with lemon, raspberry, or
cinnamon. Around the corner in the Plaza
del Pelícano, artists welcome visitors into