FORMENTERA DEL SEGURA staged its long-awaited Tapas Trail after a Covid-induced three year absence.

Bars and restaurants throughout the village all joined in to celebrate the world-renowned delicacy, with British bars contributing equally alongside their Spanish counterparts.

In the heart of Costa Blanca’s Vega Baja region, Formentera is a town of little over 4,000 registered residents, some 20% of which are British or Irish.

The municipal boundary also includes Los Palacios, which although being part of nearby Rojales, didn’t deter bars from there joining in.

Some 50% of the participating bars back in Formentera itself were made up of British-owned establishments.

These included, Rumours Bar, Floyd’s and Benny’s – who all devised their own signature servings in the battle for the best dish.

Tracey Faulkner, owner of Rumours Bar since 2019, produced a ‘Taco de bacalao crujiente con ensalada’ (crispy cod taco with salad and a ‘Tostada de vientre de cerdo con sriracha’ (Sriracha pork belly toasts).

Everyone present enjoyed both, but (for me) the cod taco was best.

Light and tasty – full of flavour and expertly-presented in a hand-formed edible shell.

Next door is Floyd’s, run by proud Liverpudlian Valerie Floyd, who devised two dishes with Sergio Perez.

Quickly served were ‘curried chicken wings’ and, my preference, a pakora dish paired with a fresh cucumber and mint yoghurt.

Packed with vegetables and just the right amount of spice, this was an absolute delight.

Benny’s is close to the village square and normally serves a variety of popular cocktails to thirsty customers from near and far.

Despite not having a kitchen, owner Ben Greenwood produced a ‘brocheta de table de quesos’ (cheese board skewer) and a ‘Magdalena de quesos’ (cheese cupcake) – much to the delight of regulars.

Local Jean Thompson, originally from Stevenston in Scotland, was thrilled with her cupcake. Describing it as “rich and velvety smooth”, it was the perfect accompaniment to her Screaming Orgasm (cocktail).

Brighton-born owner, Ben Greenwood, 33, said: “Being a new bar owner in the village, this was my first tapas run, so I was unsure what to expect. 

“It was amazing to see so many people out supporting the local businesses and sampling the culinary delights on offer.”

Of the indigenous restaurants taking part, El Cortijo had a variety of dishes available.

We tried a morcilla, egg and green pepper combination which was packed with flavour.

Los Palacios bars didn’t fail to delight, either.

Restaurant Los Carlotas had a banana and mushroom pincho that was as tasty as it was unusual.

Cerveceria Desas3 served mini-hamburgers and a complex courgette and goats cheese combination.

Notably, all three bars in Los Palacios served a much larger range of tapas, many of which came gratis.

Presumably, this was to win favour with the hundreds of people travelling in on the free Tapas Train from Formentera itself – it certainly worked, as we’ll be returning very shortly!

As Spain and the rest of the world gets back to some kind of normality, it really is refreshing to see people out and about enjoying themselves again.

And with so many British bars participating and so many expats turning out to enjoy the tapas, it’s heartening to see that integration is woven into the fabric of social life in Formentera del Segura.

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

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