A couple of months ago, when I was still traveling Southeast Asia, I received an email from Withlocals letting me know that they would be soon launching in Spain and asking me if I would like to try one of their dining experiences in Madrid, Sevilla or Barcelona. I hit “yes“ without even thinking about it. I rarely decline an invitation to try something new (especially when there is food involved!). And the truth is, I was very happy to attend this event because, not only I think Withlocals is a great idea, but this invitation showed me that being a blogger also has perks one can even taste. Today I’ll explain to you what is Withlocals and how was my first and definitely not my last experience with them.
What is Withlocals?
As the name suggests, Withlocals is a peer-to-peer marketplace that connects travelers from every corner of the world with locals offering home dining opportunities and unique travel experiences.
Withlocals experiences are sorted into three categories:
1) EAT Withlocals: offering travelers the opportunity to experience authentic cooking and make friends by dining with a local family in their home.
2) TOURS Withlocals: to really experience a new place you will want to uncover its hidden secrets, get to know its people and wander off the beaten track. However, these places are usually not on the travel guides, let a local show you around!
3) ACTIVITIES Withlocals: take part in activities and learn traditional skills taught by talented locals (e.g: how to prepare a Paella, how to dance flamenco, etc.)
Withlocals was launched in 2013 in Southeast Asia. They are now slowly spreading out to Europe with the Netherlands as the first country. Since July 1st, 2015, we can also enjoy Withlocals experiences in Spain (Madrid, Sevilla, and Barcelona for now)
My Withlocals dining experience with Clara and Carlos in Sevilla
Last week I was invited to attend the launch of Withlocals in Sevilla. Since the invitation was for two people, I asked my friend Cecilia to come with me. Having worked together at Airbnb, Withlocals concept not only was familiar to us, but we loved it!
At 9 pm we met our hosts Clara and Carlos in Plaza del Pumajero and, shortly after, they guided us to their house at the very heart of Seville. Clara and Carlos offer an authentic experience of Andalusian cuisine and we were so hungry and excited about it!
Dinner started with some classic appetizers: olives, almonds and fresh anchovies with chili. To cool down, we drank manzanilla, a typical Andalusian white wine (very popular in the Feria de Sevilla).
After the appetizers, Clara and Carlos filled the table with all kinds of warm and cold Mediterranean tapas: marinated sardines with “picadillo“, tuna loin with onion and dressing, shredded pork with asparagus salad, carrot bread skewers with ratatouille and goat cheese, etc.
The table did not miss the most famous Spanish dish either: a tasty Spanish omelet accompanied by another Andalusian classic: a delicious salmorejo (cold Andalusian tomato soup).
In addition to these traditional Andalusian dishes, Clara and Carlos knew how to surprise us with some creative dishes such as an aromatic ripened cheese salad with figs, one of the dishes that emptied faster. I assure you we were not hungry after this amazing dinner!
But, even though the food was really good, what we most enjoyed were the nice conversations with our hosts who, born and grown up in Sevilla, told us lots of stories about the neighborhood’s history and local life in the city. Thanks to Withlocals, you will not only taste the authentic local food, but you will also share it with your hosts, learn about the local culture and why not? maybe even end up the dinner with some new friends.
I want to say thank you to Withlocals for inviting us to try one of their dining experiences in Spain. Especially, thank you very much to Clara and Carlos for being the best hosts, welcoming us into their home and delighting us with their cuisine and hospitality!
If you pass by Sevilla, Madrid or Barcelona and, like me, you travel not only to see new places but to also live experiences through activities with local people, I highly recommend you to check out Withlocals. Bon Appetite!