Studying abroad in Spain exposed me to the country's cultural traditions expanding far beyond siestas and soccer. I learned firsthand about the outrageous food and drink scene in large and small cities alike. Spain is known for its sangria, a drink made of wine and fruit, and tapas, small food dishes often meant for sharing. Sangria and tapas are two quintessential elements that I urge anyone who visits the city to consider trying. 

During my sophomore year, I seized the opportunity to study nursing abroad in Spain in which I took a course on campus and then traveled to Barcelona and Pamplona for the final two weeks of the semester. This program compared the health systems of the United States and Spain. Our course concluded with an immersion in Spanish life and culture by visiting hospitals, famous landmarks, restaurants, and more. As with any traveling experience, one of my favorite elements of visiting Spain was exploring the food and drink options throughout Barcelona and beyond. My dinner at a famous sangria and tapas bar left me fascinated by the significance of these two aspects of Spanish culture. I became inspired to appreciate them and share the experience so that I can inspire others to value these cultural components as well. 

Breanne Mastromarino

Located in Barcelona and Madrid, Casa Lolea is a sangria and tapas bar that aims to provide exceptional Spanish cuisine and service to those who dine and enjoy its homemade sangria. My professor chose this restaurant for our study abroad group to dine together, which helped us get to know one another and immerse ourselves in Spanish culture at the beginning of our trip. The first time that my professor brought her students to Casa Lolea was a wonderful experience and since then, Casa Lolea has been included in our program agenda each year.

As soon as our group stepped into the restaurant, we were in awe over how beautiful it was decorated. Polka dot red and white bottles lined the walls, creating the illusion that the bottles were infinite. I immediately noticed the eye-catching way that each place setting was arranged: a round white plate with red trim, a polka dot coaster, a beautifully decorated menu, and utensils under a black napkin. The red, black, and white color scheme appeared so chic and novel to me. This restaurant truly had me at "hello." 


The tapas I ate at Casa Lolea were some of the best I tasted during my entire two weeks in Spain. The menu includes a variety of foods such as tapas, meats, salads, pasta, and dessert, that are perfect for one person or shared between a few. Our group shared dishes including octopus, patatas bravas, and risotto. I enjoyed dining by sharing many small portions because I was able to try so many unique dishes by taking a little bit of each. Passing plates around the table contributed to a novel and exciting dining experience in a country I could not wait to explore. 

Lolea Sangria

What better place to try sangria in Spain for the first time than a restaurant that produces its own? Lolea sangria is an all-natural, refreshing beverage made with red or white wine and a little bit of sparkle. Only a small amount of Lolea sangria is produced each year, making it even more special. The restaurant produces many different kinds of sangria, each containing its own blend of fruits and flavoring for a unique fragrance and taste. 

Our group enjoyed three different flavors of Lolea sangria during dinner: red, white, and sparkling. Each arrived in an adorable polka dot bottle, which we got to take home as a souvenir. I was especially excited about the sangria because I had not yet tried it before. I found it so appealing and satisfying due to its sweet, fruity taste and how well it paired with the foods we ate.

#SpoonTip: If you are looking to get your hands on Lolea sangria without traveling all the way to Spain, you can buy it in the United States. Lolea sangria is sold all over the world!

Breanne Mastromarino

This sangria and tapas experience at Casa Lolea was a wonderful way to celebrate the start of a memorable adventure in a new country. I learned to appreciate a style of dining that I was once unfamiliar and now enjoy. Casa Lolea prepared me to embark on a food adventure around Barcelona that became the trip of a lifetime.