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An Homage to Catalan Cooking

By: David Leigh

David has lived in Catalonia for more than a decade, first in Barcelona and now in the forests of la Selva. When not enjoying the food he runs a website specialising in providing FC Barcelona tickets to visitors to Barcelona.

If you think of food in Spain you’ll probably immediately think of the ubiquitous paella, the delicious rice dish that originates from Valencia that in its best known form contains a variety of seafood; your mind may also turn to tapas, those tasty morsels traditionally served on a small plate to accompany a drink and originally used – or so the legend goes – to cover your drink and keep the flies out; “tapa” simply means “cover” in Spanish.

Paella in particular can be quite variable, partially due to the fact that many bars that serve lunchtime fixed price menus serve ready made versions of the dish that bear no resemblance at all to the flavour of one that has been well made. And while many tourist restaurants serve passable versions of the dish, the secret to finding the best paellas is simply to learn where the locals go to eat it.

Standard tapas include “patatas bravas”, which are sautéed potatoes served covered in a spicy sauce, olives, calamari and anchovies, and visitors are also sometimes surprised to find cold cubes of Spanish omelette on the menu. Many tapas bars are Galician and a popular dish you’ll see on the menu is octopus.

Quite different are Basque style tapas, which are served all over the country, they are often served on bread; stuffed peppers, grilled fish and other delights are set on the counter in bars and served with a cocktail stick. Simply grab a plate, choose one of the dishes and keep the stick; your bill at the end of the night will depend on the number and sizes of the sticks left on your plate.

Living in Catalona, as I have done for the last ten years, some of my favourite dishes are local specialities. Three things spring to mind that may appear simple pleasures, but I always look forward to eating.

The first is the botifara, a pork sausage spiced with pepper that is one of the staples of Catalan cooking. While a simple sausage may not seem particularly exciting, they are exceptionally high quality and a big improvement on the standard banger found in UK supermarkets.

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We want a Triptrotter to win Urban Adventures’ London Gold

By: Triptrotting Team

We know all of you Triptrotters are believers in local travel. So when our friends at Urban Adventures started an exciting challenge, we couldn’t wait to share it with our community. Brace yourself, it’s a big announcement, an incredible opportunity, and we want a Triptrotter to win!

Urban Adventures is giving away their London business for the rest of 2012, and not only will the lucky winner have the experience of a lifetime, they’ll keep the profits along the way. Yes, you heard us right. London is one of Urban Adventures’ most successful destinations, and they’re looking for someone to take the helm of operations for a year.

To enter, simply upload a video or a photo that showcases your signature London tour on Urban Adventures’ Facebook page under #LondonGold. Over the last few weeks, we’ve seen amazing photos and videos that you guys shared on Triptrotting’s Facebook page! If you see London like Urban Adventures and Triptrotting see London, you’ll have no problem creating a unique, local perspective of one of the world’s greatest cities.

Facebook voting will determine two finalists, and an Urban Adventures judging panel will determine three finalists. The five finalists will then be interviewed by the General Manager of Urban Adventures, with one winner striking #LondonGold just in time for one of the busiest tourism summers London has ever seen!

If you win, not only will you get to lead your signature tour for the rest of 2012 (yeah, that’s right, people will be paying to see your London), you’ll also get to manage the rest of the London Urban Adventures operations, which includes a portfolio of seven other unique, popular tours and a group of awesome local guides.

The winner will be in charge of London Urban Adventures from 1 May to 31 December 2012, and at the end of it all, any profits made are yours to keep. Income is virtually uncapped, when you consider the massive influx of tourists into London this summer. If you can tap into some good local sales and marketing strategies, you’ll be set. Urban Adventures supports all their destinations with global sales and marketing, so you’ll be covered from all ends.

See why we want a Triptrotter to win? Have a look at the video and head to http://www.urbanadventures.com/london for more the details and the almighty terms & conditions (basically, you have to be over 18, fluent in written and spoken English, be legally entitled to work in the UK, and you’ve gotta know London like a local).

Enter on Facebook at facebook.com/UrbanAdventures, and click on the #LondonGold tab on the left.
Don’t forget to share your entry via Facebook and Twitter – you’re going to want your friends to cast their vote for you!
Contest closes 29 February 2012 – what are you waiting for?!

Questions? Contact london@urbanadventures.com

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