Membrillo is a Spanish-style quince jelly and can be ordered from, if you cannot source locally, which is increasingly easy to do. You can buy it in blocks, which you slice thinly, or in softer pastes like jelly, but the blocks are traditional. This is traditional tapas food, all on its own, but some tapas bars (“tabernas or tascas) jazz it up with jamon and piquillo peppers, or marinated anchovies and sliced manzanilla olives.  The word tapa means “cover” or “lid” and was said to referred in the early days to the slice of ham or cheese laid across the tops of narrow sherry glasses handed by innkeepers to coach drivers, to keep insects out and to keep them from spilling.
  • 8 thin slices of toasted or grilled French baguette, sliced on the diagonal,
  • 5oz./150g Manchego Cheese
  • 8 tsp./40 ml Membrillo Paste
  • a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • a few turns of French sea salt from the grinder
  • the same for freshly ground black pepper


Cut each slice of bread into halves, having dropped a bit of olive oil on each and toasting on the grill or in the oven. Cut the manchego cheese into medium slices, just big enough to top the bread, and remove any rind. Place a slice of cheese on each bread slice and top with a thin slice of membrillo paste.  Season with a grinding of French sea slat and a grinding of black pepper. Arrange the tapas on a serving platter or cover each glass with one per guest.