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A middle aged man and women smiling cheerfully for the camera; Man wearing blue shirt; Seville Vegan Tours: Flamenco, Tapas, Sunshine - Why you should add Seville to your must-visit list in Spain | Bruno and Marta | Ep 97

Seville Vegan Tours: Flamenco, Tapas, Sunshine – Why you should add Seville to your must-visit list in Spain | Bruno and Marta | Ep 97

Introducing Bruno and Marta

In today’s episode, we are talking to Marta and Bruno from Seville Vegan Tours, a new tour company based in Seville, dedicated to the organization of gastronomic tours mainly for vegans, vegetarians, and people who want to discover the flavors of Andalusia in a 100% plant-based and cruelty-free way.

In this episode, Bruno and Marta will share with you why you should consider the beautiful region of Andalucia, Spain as a destination for your next vacation!

In this episode we discuss:

  • Food – Sangría, Caña, Gazpacho, Tortilla de Patatas, Churros, Oranges of Seville)
  • How Seville is and isn’t vegan-friendly
  • Landmarks (the cathedral, Reales Alcázares, Triana bridge, río Guadalquivir, Giralda tower, Santa Cruz quarter, Plaza de España)
  • Seville in pop culture
  • Vegan Guide to Seville
  • Vegan Tapas Tour
  • Culture: Flamenco, wine tasting, and tapas

Learn more about what we talk about

Other World Vegan Travel content connected with this episode

Connect with Bruno and Marta

Transcript

Brighde: Welcome, Marta and Bruno. Thank you so much for joining me on The World Vegan Travel Podcast.

Bruno: Hello, Brighde.

Marta: Thank you for us.

Bruno: Thank you.

Brighde: Oh, you are so welcome. I’m really happy to have you here and we’ve been talking about recording a podcast together for so long, cuz I always love these particular episodes where we get to dig deep into a particular destination through the vegan lens. I always love that. But before we get into all of that, why don’t you tell me where you are exactly and who you are?

Bruno: Of course. I am Bruno. I was born in France, and although I am Portuguese, I am French Portuguese to be more accurate, I lived in Paris, for a long time, and then my family moved to Portugal. So my family is Portuguese. I met Martin in Portugal. She’s Spanish and she’s an authentic sevillana, which means that we are in Seville right now and the sunny city of Seville. The people who don’t know, it is located in the south of Spain, in the region of Andalusia. We met basically seven years ago in Portugal because I worked all my life in the tourism industry. Martha was working there at the time as well. Basically she went there for holiday, and then she started working there. To cut stories short, we met, we started living together and at some point, she suggested moving back to Seville.

Basically for her, since it is her hometown. We needed a change in our lives at the time. I thought it was a great idea, I didn’t know Seville, but she introduced me to it. And I must say that when I saw it, it was like wow. I would love to live here and here we are.

Brighde: Well, I agree with you. Seville is a beautiful place. I’ve only spent a couple of nights there, but it definitely is a must-see before we get into all of the Seville stuff, cuz I know you’re going to share some information about Seville. What is it that you do in the vegan space?

Marta: Yeah. So eight months ago, we created and started to run what is today, the first and only vegan tapas tour in Seville. The aim was to introduce authentic Vegan and Andalucian cuisine to vegan, vegetarian, and also just vegan-curious people. Recently we have also started to collaborate with other local businesses to offer all types of vegan experiences as well.

 For example, the Flamenco show, with vegan dinner or wine vegan tastings. Basically, our experiences are focused on authenticity while always respecting our ethical values. For example, what distinguishes us from all the tapas store companies, that advertise, for example, vegan Options?

That our tours are designed by vegans and for vegans. Okay? Because we are also vegan travelers, we fully understand the needs and expectations of fellow vegan travelers. On our tours, guests can taste traditional and delicious tapas, in spaces with, for example, no images of animal cruelty, which unfortunately are more common in Seville, than we wished.

Brighde: Yeah, I absolutely love that. I definitely think that there is a big difference between traveling or doing a tour with, a vegan-owned and operated company. Then there is a non-vegan one where vegans are like an afterthought, like front and center are the vegan values and, that’s where 100% of the care and effort, and attention to detail goes.

That’s what we do in our company. That’s why we do what we do and why so many others are doing the same. Well, that just sounds wonderful. Now Seville is such a beautiful destination Seb took me there a few years ago and I absolutely loved it. But for those people that may not know much about Seville and the surrounding area. Like, why would people want to go there in the first place?

Bruno: Right. Seville has a lot to offer. Firstly, it is the capital of Andalusia, and it’s a city with an amazing and unique heritage that comes from the fusion of the different cultures and civilizations that settled here, such as the Romans, the Moors, and the Christians. Because of its stunning heritage, it has also been the setting for several movies and TV shows. You’re probably a fan of one of those, I don’t know, Brighde, for example, Game of Thrones or Star Wars and so many. Honestly, so many beautiful monuments, and along with Granada and Cadiz, it is the birthplace of Flamenco, for example.

 So it is very important obviously for Spain. It is also basically the that’s a bit bold to say, but we can say perhaps the capital of tapas, since it has more eateries, for example, in Madrid, and like one eatery for every 180 inhabitants, which is a lot. It is incredibly vibrant, and attractive.

 There’s a lot of life in the streets and it has deep-rooted traditions and the food is great. So vegans should definitely not discard it from their plans while visiting Spain. Despite being a city closely linked to its traditions, in recent years, more vegan restaurants have opened. Also, more non-vegan restaurants are now offering interesting vegan options.

On top of that Andalusia’s cuisine, it’s famous for its rich variety of legumes and vegetables since it is highly influenced by Mediterranean and Arab cuisine. Another thing also, Andalusia produces, most of the olive oil that is consumed throughout the world today. Not everyone knows this, but it is the biggest producer in the world. When sevillanos and Andalusians say with great pride, that if you have not visited Seville of Andalusia you have not been to Spain, I think they’re probably right really.

Brighde: We have actually had a few episodes on our podcast even about the south of Spain as well. But it’s always nice to focus on one particular city and I think that many people think that Spain isn’t particularly vegan-friendly. And of course, things are changing. I remember a friend of mine, she’s Spanish and she’s been vegan for about 12 years or so now, she lives in Southeast Asia, and every time she goes back to Spain in the summer holiday, she’s like, I can’t believe I found this in the supermarket and I can’t believe I was able to get this and this.

And there’s this new vegan restaurant. So things are definitely getting better in Spain, for vegans. But would you consider Seville an especially vegan-friendly city? Like is it the cuisine that naturally lends itself to being more vegan-friendly or maybe it’s full of very progressive people who are opening up restaurants? Tell me about that.

Marta: Yeah, definitely. I think Seville is a city that surprises vegan travelers a lot. Although it is not one of the most famous cities in the world for its vegan offer, when you know the city very well, you can really enjoy its guestronomy. That is why we wanted to create a vegan tour because we wanted this information to be accessible to everyone. Not just to the locals. We thought that maybe the best way to pass on that information was creating a vegan guide to the city, with recommendations of restaurants that we have tried ourselves or all the types of vegan businesses in town that are only known by local people. In our guide, we’d recommend places where you can find the best vegan pastry shop, where you can have a drink with the best view over the city, or where you can see a good flamenco show with vegan options. So basically, we give plenty of tips and recommendations to help our guests to make the most of their time in Seville. But yeah, definitely Seville is becoming really vegan friendly.

Brighde: I love it. I think I know the answer to the following question, but maybe our listeners don’t because the information has just become so much more accessible these days with the internet and there are so many incredible apps and you can just search like vegan Seville and you’ll get a number of really good options that will come up, but you are offering an actual tour that people will pay to do. So I guess something that a lot of people might be wondering is like, why on earth would you pay money to do a tour and pay for somebody to take you around, because of course that has a cost and all of these things. Why would a traveler wanna do that when they could just Google something and do a vegan city food tour?

Bruno: Of course, Google is very helpful. Definitely. Marta and I, when we are on holiday and when we’re traveling, of course, Google a lot. There are many applications basically that are very helpful for vegans. 

When you look at the reviews, most of the time the reviews are made by tourists. We have realized that the most popular listings, do not actually represent the local cuisine and they are not often the most valued spots among the locals.

On the other hand, there’s so much more, behind the food tour. Food tours, are normally designed by local people who have a deeper knowledge of the traditional cuisine, and the gastonomical offer of the place, right? So we think that the idea is to combine the two. So you can Google, of course, but try to do a food tour when you travel because the aim of the food tour is not only to inform and to give you recommendations. It provides travelers with a unique experience of cultural immersion if we can say because you will learn about the culture of tapas when you participate in it. We talk about food in our tours. We talk about history. We share curious anecdotes. We give you interesting facts and we also try to debunk a lot of myths, that are held about Andalusia and Spanish culture.

Brighde: I always try and do a Vegan city food tour whenever I travel, if there is one available. And I actually have several blog posts about and of course, you feature on this blog post. I scraped the internet trying to find as many vegan city food tours in Europe as I could and there are surprising quite a few. I’ll link to that blog post in the show notes. But there are so many great reasons to go on a city food tour and all of those things that you say are true, but something that I really appreciate is very often the hosts of the City Food Tour will visit several restaurants in a short period of time, and they’ve usually had an arrangement with the restaurant ahead of time. So often they’ll be like tasting plates or like a small amount of food and you’ll be able to taste a lot of food in a short amount of time. 

Marta: Mm-hmm. 

Brighde: And if you are only in Seville for one day, then there are only like two or three meals that you can have. So this is a really great way to get a wide amount breadth of the food, in a short amount of time, which you know, is impossible to do if you’re just there for one day.

I really love, meeting local people when I go on a Vegan city food tour. Hearing their personal recommendation and tips for that short amount of time. In this case, a Spanish friend showed me around their city and the locals love their city so much. They just really want to show it at its best and show all of the wonderful things about it. You don’t get that so much when you are just following a guidebook or a blog post, for example. It’s just so much fun. I love it. 

Bruno: So 

Brighde: What are some of these widespread myths about Seville and Andalusia, that you’d like to address?

Marta: I think this is going to be fun. Well, I think one of the most widespread myths is, for example, sangria. They think that it is a traditional drink from the south of Spain. Okay. I know there is a very popular drink outside of Spain I don’t know, in the States, in Canada, probably, and the United Kingdom too? But the fact is that most local tapas bars in Seville, don’t even know how to prepare it. Because when we go out for tapas, we never drink it. Okay? It is not an Andalusia drink. Although you can still see it advertised in the city. It is more common to drink it in other places in Spain, like the Mediterranean coast like Valencia, and Barcelona. What we do drink is Tinto de Verano. I don’t know if you have the chance to try, Brighde.

Brighde: have and this is so funny, my friend who spent a lot of time in southern Spain, saw me on Instagram stories one time in southern Spain drinking Sangria, and she put me right. So yes, I can confirm that I definitely fell for that one and I have tried them, tinto de verano. I have tried it. 

Marta: Yeah, it means summer tinto. Yeah.

Brighde: I love it. Yeah. Guilty. Guilty What others do you have to share?

Marta: Okay, this one made me laugh a lot at the time. It was that bulls running through the streets in Spain? So I remember that once we got asked if it was safe to travel to Seville because of the bull racing thing in Spain. So I think the idea that the bulls run through the middle of the street in Spain, comes from the popular festival, San Fermin, which is celebrated once a year in Pamplona, a city in the north of Spain. It is true that in some towns in Spain, they still maintain that tradition, but they are specific events. They are previously organized and located in spaces, fenced off from the public to control the bulls. So there is no way that you will ever be caught by surprise on the street or that you will attend it by accident. In Seville, this tradition does not exist.

What they still do, unfortunately, are bullfights. But this takes place in close spaces. The bullfighting rings. So they can only be accessed by buying a ticket. It’s not easy to witness it. Another myth would be, I must admit that some sevillanos find this very funny. Some people who travel to Seville, during the winter months are tempted to try some of the oranges that they can easily collect from the Orange trees present, everywhere in 

the Exactly. But what these people do not know is this variety of orange is not supposed to be eaten raw because they are extremely bitter. these oranges are used for other purposes like Marmalade for example. The oranges that we eat are grown in the countryside. So if you want to eat oranges in Seville, do yourself a favor and buy them in a market. Don’t grab them from a tree, please. 

Brighde: I love it. And actually, I’ve just made that connection, like the best quality marmalade, is actually Seville marmalade. I’m thinking about that now and because of these amazing oranges,

Marta: But they’re always bitter that’s why you can only eat them in a marmalade because they put a lot of sugar in it. Another myth would be: we have to face this nearly every day is about Gazpacho. Probably our most internationally known dish. What happens with Gazpacho, that it is one of the dishes of our guestronomy that requires the most education.

Brighde: Really? Okay.

Marta: It’s very known, but no one knows how to make it or what it really is. The point is, most of the people that come to Seville think that Gazpacho is cold tomato soup. I dunno if it happens with you, Brighde.

Brighde: No, No. Usually, when I have made Gazpacho in the past it’s been with raw tomato, so I was doing that part right. Is that correct? 
Okay, good. Pleased to. 

Marta: correct. you got that right. Yeah, so that’s the thing that since some of the people think that it’s a cold tomato soup, some of them are a bit unwilling to try because they think that it is something weird, cold tomato soup Yeah. They don’t want to try it. But what they don’t know is Gazpacho for us, for Andalusian people is actually a drink. It’s not soup. It’s actually one of our favorite drinks. It’s nothing but a smoothie of raw veggies. We drink it, we literally drink it from a glass. We don’t eat it with a spoon. We have it especially during the summer, just to cool off and accompany our meals. And the good news is that the Gazpacho is always vegan. So please don’t be afraid of trying Gazpacho.

Bruno: I love Gazpacho. If I can basically perhaps add something that just came to my mind 

Brighde: of course 

Bruno: which are Churros? Uh, have you tried Churros?

Brighde: I have.

Bruno: Well, many people think that churros are like a sweet or a dessert that you can have after a meal, but it’s not the case in Spain. So you have churros basically on a Sunday morning, with your family for breakfast, and also basically on a festive day for example, or after a night out.

So when you come back from clubbing. If you’re into clubbing and you are starving. Let’s head for churros and also the tortilla the Spanish tortilla. We had people on our tours basically thought the Spanish tortilla and the Mexican tortilla were the same. Before they tried it, but then they found out, that it was totally different.

The Spanish tortilla, to put it simply, is a potato omelet. The original recipe calls for eggs, but it’s easily replaced by chickpea flour, and black salt to give that eggy flavor it’s very tasty and on our tours, it’s one of our guest’s favorites.

Brighde: Oh my goodness. I absolutely love tortillas as well. It’s so delicious. Oh my goodness. I desperately want to go back to Spain. Wow. Okay. I’m curious, when is the best time to visit Seville, because I know it is extremely hot in summer and I think a lot of people, maybe myself included, make the mistake of maybe going in the summertime. When would you say is the best time to go to Seville and are there any particularly interesting festivals or events that people might like to plan their visit around?

Marta: Well, the best time, to come to Seville is spring because the weather is perfect. It’s not too hot or not too cold. Sometimes it can be a little bit rainy. During a few days, but normally it’s really good weather. We have two big festivals or two big events during the spring. The first one would be Holy Week or the week just before Easter, which is a really big thing in Seville. I will say, it’s one of the most important Holy Weeks in Spain. The other one is the Feria de Abril, which is the April Faria. That is also one week during which we go to have several drinks and we eat and we dance flamenco. It’s really fun. If you have the chance to come during that week, you will have a lot of fun. So I advise everyone to come to the Feria.

Brighde: Thank you for that tip.
I love it. Okay, great. So some people are maybe a little bit short of time when they go to Seville. Maybe they only have a full day. What would be the perfect Seville day, according to you both?

Bruno: One day is definitely too short. Definitely too short there’s so much more real. There’s so much to see. But there are several ways to do this. You should start your day with a good Andalusian breakfast, which consists of fresh orange juice. Made with the sweet orange, bought in the market, not the ones picked up in the streets. A toast, with fresh tomato puree and olive oil, and any traditional bar in Seville, serve it. You could spend the morning seeing some of the monuments in the old town, definitely the cathedral. The cathedral is the largest gothic cathedral in the world. It’s absolutely stunning. It is the place where Christopher Columbus, let’s say a historical character that arouses, passions on both sides is buried. There’s the Giralda tower as well attached to the cathedral, which is the landmark of the city. So basically if you want to stay fit as well, do some exercise in the morning. You can just climb the 35 ramps to the top. It’s 104 meters to get to the top and you enjoy the perfect views of Seville. There’s also the Reales Alcázares, it’s all in the same area. It’s a beautiful Mudéjar style palace with a deep Moorish influence in its architecture.

 It has been the residence of many kings in Spain. It has spectacular gardens. Again, if you like Game of Thrones, you would feel like you are in the water gardens, of the Kingdom of Dawn. If you have watched the series. After the visit, I would say perhaps to walk and discover the old Jewish quarter.

Again, very close to that, which is a neighborhood of Santa Cruz. It’s like a maze, so you can get lost eventually, but it’s part of the fun and you always find your way out. Every little narrow street ends up in a beautiful little plaza then you can have something to drink. It’s beautiful and there’s also the Plaza de España also next to it. You can head there and take some selfies and send them to your friends. Of course, a food tour, a vegan food tour because you are probably still hungry. So that would be a nice idea also to socialize with other vegan travelers.

Marta: Yeah. I also think the perfect plan for the evening will be to take a walk down Guadalquivir by the river. Just watch the sunset over the Triana bridge because I might say that it’s definitely one of the best sunsets in Seville. It’s really, really beautiful. Then I will have dinner, of course, you will be very hungry at the end of the day. Maybe choose one of the many tapas bars or restaurants included in the vegan guide, you will get at the end of the tour. One of the things that I like to do the most in Seville and I think it will be fantastic for ending this list. It would be to just have a glass of wine on one of the rooftop bars near the cathedral.

 Just look at the Majestic Giralda Tower lit up. I think it’s a very nice experience, just to end your day and that will make you never forget Seville. 

Brighde: You have described my perfect day. Wow. That’s so much great information. This has been such an informative and fun episode. I cannot wait to go back to Seville and I will definitely be doing one of your Seville Vegan city food tours, and I’m sure so many people listening to this are definitely gonna put it on their bucket list. So why don’t you tell us exactly how people can get in contact with you and book a tour with you and learn about what it is that you are doing and keep in touch with you?

Marta: Okay the best way to book one of our tours is just to email us at [email protected] and if they need to find more information about our tours, they can always go to our website, which is www.sevillevegantours.com. They can also find us on Instagram and Facebook. 

Brighde: Mm-hmm. Okay. Do you have to join in tours or do you have a minimum number of people to go, what’s your smallest group? Or do you have to organize a private tour? How does that work?

Marta: The minimum group is just two people. Even if you are just one person, just email us and we will fit you in any of our groups, and that’s all right. Okay.

Bruno: Exactly.
Brighde: That’s really cool that you do that. I absolutely love it. I really recommend people that are heading to Seville, even if you’re just by yourself, maybe ask around and maybe there are some other vegans around you that would love to jump on this tour as well to make the group a little bit bigger and have more friends.
Fantastic. Thank you so much, Marta and Bruno, thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us today. Listeners, all of the links to all of the places that, Marta and Bruno have shared with us are in the show notes, so make sure you go and have a look over there. Thank you so much, Marta. Thank you, Bruno.
Bruno: Thank you so much, 
Brighde: It was great. It’s been a pleasure.

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