Meet David Pope, our favorite Australian eating his way through every tapas bar in Seville—and beyond!
Born and bred in Brisbane, Australia, David didn’t think that anywhere in the world could match his home country for flavor and fresh produce. But after moving to Seville, he’s happy to say that he’s been proven wrong!
Being a self-proclaimed history nerd as well as a food fanatic, it was love at first bite when David first arrived in Seville. With its rich culinary traditions spanning centuries, every mouthful of sevillano cuisine is full of the flavors of all of the civilizations that have made this city their home over its long past. This means that David gets to combine his two greatest passions in every meal!
After starting his Seville experience as a university student, David soon realized that he had to make his move permanent, and cancelled his return flight to Australia (his mother has yet to forgive him!). Now, after almost two years of guiding with Devour Seville, he loves nothing more than being able to share his love of Seville with anyone lucky enough to join him on tour, as well as on his excellent Seville-based food blog!
In between his busy schedule we caught up with him to ask him some questions that we have been dying to get his answers to! We are sure you’ll have as much fun reading them as we did asking them.
David thank you so much for coming to chat! There are a lot of questions we need to get through—but let’s start where it all began! What brought you to this wonderful city?
I originally came to Seville as a student on an exchange program from my home university. It sounds a bit ridiculous, but I chose Seville completely on a whim! I was your typical ignorant student, and I’d never actually heard of Seville before seeing it on the list of options for studying abroad. But it was the only choice I had in the country, and I knew I wanted to come and see Spain, so I thought why not give it a go! It’s almost like a little bit of destiny.
That definitely is great luck for Seville, and of course for all of Devour Tours’ lovely guests that get to tour with you! So now that you’ve been here so long, and have become an expert on all things Seville, what do you most love about living in the city?
It would have to be just how social the lifestyle is here, and how warm and inviting everyone who lives here is as a result! I think sevillanos have it all figured out—they say here that while people from other countries live to work, in Seville people work to live; your job isn’t the most important thing in your life, you just need it to have the funds to spend time socializing with everyone you know!
Agreed! That is what makes everyone want to visit! What are the biggest differences between Seville and Australia?
To be honest, there are a lot of similarities. Brisbane and Seville are both incredibly hot in summer, the beaches nearby are fantastic, there’s palm trees everywhere, and people love getting together for a barbecue! But I think the main difference is definitely how the typical Seville day is based around food. There’s a work break for breakfast with colleagues, another one for lunch with family, pastry on the way home, and then tapas with friends in the evening! Having that sort of lifestyle in Australia would send you broke in about a week!
That’s very true, plus you do have beaches and barbecues here too, while saving the Euros too! So come on—it’s time for some secrets of Seville! Are you ready?
We love that answer! So, can’t miss foodie-stop in the city while visiting?
Being a history nerd as well as a food nerd, I always recommend visitors to the city to check out the Mercado de Triana (Calle San Jorge, 6). A food market in the quieter, family neighborhood on the other side of the canal from the Seville old town, it’s got some of the freshest and best produce from Andalucía on display! It’s a great spot to go to for a stickybeak at all the beautiful fresh-caught fish, before sitting down to lunch at the fantastic bars inside the market that serve that same produce! It’s also housed in the fort that was once the national headquarters of the Spanish Inquisition, so it combines both of my geeky passions!
That sounds like a definite must-see. Thank you for the tip! Would you say it’s one of the city’s best kept secrets? Or can you give us another insider tip?
Well, I could tell you about some delicious pastries!
Please, everyone reading this will be forever grateful!
Some of the best pastries in Spain are still made by nuns in cloistered convents around the country. There are a few of these dotted around the old town of Seville, but they’re not usually sign-posted except for a small note on the door. Open only for a few hours each morning, a visit to one of these convents is a great way to see a unique side of Spanish culture—and indulge a sweet tooth at the same time!
Now that is what we call insider knowledge! It also sounds like it would be something truly special to remember. Talking about memories, do you have any favorite memories from your time here?
There are so many to choose from! Seville is a city that never fails to leave a lasting impression, but my best memory would have to be having a sandwich named after me at my favorite bar. I was such a frequent customer at the husband-and-wife-run vermouth bar down the street from my apartment that they let me design one of their summer montaditos! Called El Australiano, it was a delicious combo of pork loin and pineapple.
Sounds like the perfect day! You’ve also sold us on life in Seville with just the mention of vermouth! So, that brings us to one very tough question! Quickfire: sherry or vermouth?
That’s a hard one! I love sherry, especially since it’s all produced a short drive from Seville. But there’s something about the variety of flavors that you can find in vermouth that captivates me. So I’d say both, together! I actually like to make my own DIY vermouth at home using flavors that I love, so there’s always a bit of that beautiful, nutty sherry that goes into my special recipe.
Wow! That’s impressive. Can we have some please? Okay, I think it’s time to get to know you a little better! First things first, aside from being an amazing tour guide, how else do you spend your time?
I like to think that training for marathons is a great way to burn off all of the extra calories I get to enjoy while working as a guide, so I can usually be found enjoying Seville’s beautiful 300 days of sunshine and jogging down by the banks of the canal.
That is very balanced of you. Do you train with fellow guide Jaimie? In his interview he also told us about running. Maybe Seville really is the perfect work-life balance! And of course, you are an incredible tour guide for Devour Tours too! What is your favorite memory from on tour?
After my first year with Devour, I’d gotten pretty used to people on tour seeing my blue eyes, hearing my Australian accent, and realizing that I wasn’t your typical sevillano! But my favorite moment from a tour happened right at the end of this first year, when after four hours together, one of the couples turned to me and said “David, we just have to tell you, your English is incredible!” It’s the only time I’ve ever been mistaken for a local, and I loved it! I guess my love of Seville had convinced them that I couldn’t possibly come from anywhere else.
That’s amazing! We can see why they would think that! You truly are as passionate as any local would be and seem to love this city dearly. If you can give travelers to Seville one piece of advice before they visit the city, what would it be? Anything they should know before stepping off the plane?
Spain is known for having late meal times, but this applies double in Seville! In the middle of summer, when the sun doesn’t set until around 10 o’clock at night, it’s not uncommon to sit down to have dinner at around 11 pm or even midnight. Don’t worry though, if you feel hungry earlier, there are still plenty of places to have a quick snack!
That really is late! And also great advice. Maybe they should stock up on those delicious nun’s cookies you told us about for a mid-evening snack! You have to tell us, and of course our lovely readers, is there one thing they just can’t leave the city without doing?
I never let friends or family who visit leave without doing an olive oil tasting. Andalucía produces a huge amount of this liquid gold, as well as some of the best in the world! There are plenty of fantastic, gourmet olive oil vendors around town, with dozens of different of olive varieties on offer. Most also let you try a few samples to see which style you prefer! My favorite shop is La Oleoteca de Sevilla (Calle García de Vinuesa, 39), so say hi from me if you’re ever there!
Sounds great. Thanks for the tip and the contact! Okay, so you clearly know the best of the best in the city and Spain in general, but is there anything left on your bucket list of things you have yet to do in city?
Learn to dance Sevillanas! Every year in spring, there is a big fair in Seville where all of the locals get together for a party. There’s loads of food, sherry, and of course, Sevillanas, which is a flamenco-style partner dance! After years of living here, I still haven’t learnt how to properly dance them, so I’m starting classes in the next few weeks so I’m prepared this time!
Food, sherry and dancing? That’s a fair not to miss out on for sure! So, finally, we are at our last question. We have saved our most important one until last! What’s your number one tip for any guests visiting Spain?
Don’t get frustrated in bars if you need to ask for the bill a few times before it comes—the waiter isn’t forgetting you or being rude, they just don’t want you to feel like you have to leave if you’re not ready!
And of course, we are sure they never will want to leave after a visit to Seville! Thank you for answering all of our questions; you’ve been amazing!
If you had as much fun getting to know David as we did interviewing him, why not join him on a tour in the incredible city of Seville? Whether you love local neighborhoods or bustling tapas bars, we have tours for every taste! And of course, if you loved David, we are sure you’ll love all of our other amazing guides just as much. From art experts and historians to private chefs and sommeliers—we have so many incredible guides just waiting to show you a great time. Come, be curious and explore with us, bite by bite and sip by sip!