BAR VARETES, LLIBER 659243832/640788329
Tapas under the False Pepper tree
The village of Lliber in the Vall de Pop, otherwise known as the Jalon Valley, must rank as one of the prettiest in the Marina Alta.
Many of the streets have had the tarmac stripped off to reveal to the original stone base and one street has a wonderful display of flowers outside each house.
There is a set of steps that is often used for wedding photographs and Lliber´s imposing church overlooks the Plaza Mayor.
In fact when our group of lunchers are not heading to the coast we often meet for a pre-lunch drink in the Plaza Mayor under the False Pepper tree just outside Bar Varetes, one of three bar/restaurants in the village square. The tree has become a bit of a legend for freeing up the tongues of those sitting under it.
Bar Varetes changed hands in late 2017 and the new enthusiastic young team have developed the food offering, with a substantial tapas menu. There are almost 30 tapas dishes to choose from as well as other meat and fish plates but we selected a total of seven different tapas to share between us.
Our selection included a wonderful Pate del Hierro, Pelotas, Calamar á la romana, Gambas á la plancha, mini burgers called Figatelles and nicely spicey Patatas bravas.
The only tapa that did not meet with universal approval was the Aspencat, a dish of two grilled vegetables served cold.
The wines accompanying our delicious array of tapas were Dársena, a verdejo from Rueda (€9.50) and Montelciego from Rioja (€8.00).
We completed our lunch under the False Pepper tree with the usual coffees, but the brandies were very generously offered by the casa. The cost of this delightful, relaxed repast in the interior of the Marina Alta was a modest €17.17 p.p.