Tapas, the great Spanish custom
Who doesn’t know it, this typically Spanish appetiser, the Tapa, a traditional, appetising bite that is often consumed together with an alcoholic drink? Tapas have also become popular outside the Spanish borders, but what exactly are they?
What is it?
Tapas come in all sorts of colours, tastes and sizes. A tapa can be a slice of baguette with some ham, a spicy sausage, fish or a plate with potatoes.
Eating Tapas in Spain also has its own verb, “tapear”.
The concept is also very different from region to region. But the culinary bite is really established. Logical; a nice tasty snack to go with your drink, who would object to that?
There are various theories about the origins of tapas. We have listed three of them for you below.
Tapa is a derivation from the verb “tapar”, (to cover). On the basis of this theory the tapa was created to prevent flies from entering the glass.
This theory relates to King Alfonso X. It is suggested that the king was travelling through the country and took a rest break around the area of Cádiz. He ordered a glass of jerez (sherry) and relaxed while sitting outside. But the waiter noticed that a strong wind was blowing which was stirring up dust and sand. To ensure that he would not displease the king, the waiter decided to put a piece of ham on top of the glass.
The king was impressed by this. When he ordered a second glass, he insisted that a tapa (lid) be provided again.
Although the above 2 theories are plausible, it seems less logical in either case to eat the tapa. Maybe theory 3 will bring clarity.
It concerns King Alfonso X again. This time, the king was traversing the country and had a rest stop in a bar. He found that several guests were under the influence of alcohol and that this led to disputes.
In order to prevent this, he decided that from now on all drink outlets should serve a bite to eat with every alcoholic drink.
(We really like the king!)
Unfortunately, tapas are no longer served everywhere. Neither is it always a free extra with your drink. Nowadays you often have to order a tapa separately (and pay for it).
Most pubs and bars in Spain also provide tapas. Due to their popularity, there are also catering businesses that devote themselves entirely to the tapa. In these establishments you will find an abundance of delicious snacks. Many of these snacks are also made with special or regional products. The new generation of chefs conjure up beautiful pieces of art on your tapa plate, which are almost too pretty to eat.
A popular establishment, located in several places in Spain, is called Lizarran. This is a chain that focuses on an audience that wants to enjoy drinks and tapas.