17 Apr, 2022 @ 13:00
3 mins read

Tapas festival brings post-Covid joy as familiar faces meet up again on Spain’s Costa Blanca

Tapas Los Montesinos Feature Pic

TAPAS FESTIVALS are one of many reasons why people love Spain – and the Olive Press always promotes the positivity that they bring to towns and visitors.

Tapas Flyer

Los Montesinos in the heart of Costa Blanca’s Vega Baja region hosted their own festival of finger food this weekend, April 15 to 17.

Among the thousands of visitors enjoying the weekend were three Olive Press readers who make a habit of attending such occasions.

Anne Muldoon of Consett (County Durham) was celebrating her 61st birthday with family and friends.

She last met up with the Olive Press when we were reporting the International Tapas Day in  Torrevieja back in 2019.

Anne says, “we still love our tapas here in Spain – it’s by the far the best way to sample the many different dishes on offer.”

Also attending were two friends that were also seen by The Olive Press frequenting last year’s Benijofar Tapas Run.

Catherine Buckley, a 49-year-old Liverpudlian entrepreneur living here full-time, also sees such festivals as a great way to meet up with friends old and new.

She proclaimed, “after over two years of Covid and lockdowns, it’s so nice to get out in the sun with your mates and have a catch-up.”

Adding, “throw in a Tapas Weekend and you’ve got the perfect combination of fine weather, friends, food and drink.”

Fellow foodie and festival friend, Nicola Kennerley from Sunderland, admitted that such occasions are one of the main reasons she moved to Spain.

The 39-year-old self-proclaimed ‘lady-of-leisure’ admitted, “During Covid lockdown we missed so much of our family and friends, I was delighted when local Tapas Festivals started up again.”

Adding, “It’s been a long wait but to have the sunshine return after a miserable few weeks of rain, combined with lovely food and great company – THIS is what we moved to Spain for!”

The Olive Press sampled a number of dishes at different bars in and around the lively central plaza of Los Montesinos.

Bar Code 4/5

Although the stuffed deep-fried mushrooms weren’t exactly what was advertised on the menu, they were delightful – and a great start to the afternoon.

Slightly let down by plastic cups of beer which get blown around in the slightest of breeze.

LJ’s Bar Cafe 3/5

We were treated to Chilli and Nachos which certainly had a kick – quite unusual but very welcome.

However, disappointing that both food and drink came served in plastic, with plastic cutlery.

Bar Esquina 3/5

Always a gamble when a bar advertises ‘Tapas of the house”, so we were sceptical.

However, the thin pork steak served on a light slice of soda bread pleased one of our party, mostly.

However, the egg dish was described as “rank” by another.

Didn’t lose any more marks however, as service was good and wine was served in glasses.

La Cantina TexMex 2/5

High hopes here as seating only available inside, such was the business of the terrace.

However, those hopes were dashed with a bland offering of mini open sandwich topped with salami and cheese accompanied by an unimaginative dollop of mash, chickpeas and olives.

The wine was quite possibly the worst I had tasted anywhere in Spain.

Bar Dalia 4/5

Right on the edge of town, this is a great traditional tapas bar that you’d expect in any working town.

Artichokes aren’t always to my taste, but the thoughtful presentation and top service tempted me. 

Gently stuffed with pulled pork and topped with a summer salsa, this really was a delight.

Nice wine in decent glasses added to the score, but a lack of choice meant it just fell short of top marks.

Restaurant Matsya 5/5

Torn betwixt getting the Onion Bhaji or the Chicken Tikka, we ended up having both.

They were light, tasty, perfectly-seasoned and full of flavour – the house wine was dry and cold and deliciously crisp.

What earned Matsya top marks was the friendly service, proper crockery and fine glassware.

Frustratingly, many of the participating bars decided to stop serving tapas midway through the weekend without reason.

Reasons may be entirely valid so it would be unfair to name them.

However, as was the case at Benijofar Tapas Trail in 2021, bars deciding to stop serving or simply running out – doesn’t make a great advert for them, the festival or the town.

Despite this slight hiccup, Los Montesinos was a success.

Sunny weather, new dishes sampled, new bars discovered, new friends made.

As Ms Kennerley mentioned, “THIS is what Spain is all about!”

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