Haute cuisine in miniature
Very brave you have to be to compete with your culinary skills in a region of good eating and good drinking like Valladolid. For a few days in November, the Castilian capital further enhances its offer with the best of haute cuisine in miniature, as the centre for the National Competition of Kebabs and Bites, receiving only the most talented and imaginative. People able to recreate the planet Mars with egg dumplings and mushrooms or dress a vertical salad.
The flavours in Spain (and the rest of the planet) concentrate in one place. Professionals come from around the country who usually serve in their bars. Besides choosing three winners, the best concept is valued, the most avant-garde idea and also the most traditional to please all tastes.
Some are almost works of art and a unique experience, such as one that was the winner of the previous editions of the National Kebab Competition, the "Buenas Noticias de nuestra tierra ", a creation that contains a dressed steak tartar wrapped in edible paper that looks like a copy of the local newspaper, El Norte de Castilla. As you can guess, the cooks are especially creative in presenting these ‘tapas’, which often are made with products that can only be found in some parts of Spain, such as najerano peppers or the Balearic ‘llengua de bou’ mushroom.
But the most important thing is that, fortunately, the pleasure of tasting their creations is not restricted only to the participants and the jury. The public can also take part. During the week that these meetings are held, the ‘tapas’ have an important role in the downtown bars and restaurants. Up to fifty establishments offer the star skewers of the chefs visiting Valladolid for less than two Euros each. It's best to take a map of the city and track the more palatable kebabs and, on the way, to visit what was once the capital of Spain.
This event is gaining such international gastronomic importance that for years hostelry students of fifteen different nationalities are invited to compete with their innovations. The participants are carefully selected by a large committee of experts, who screen the 1,700 candidate schools. Those chosen compete in the International Tapas Competition. Another reason to be there.
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