If you have ever been to Spain we are sure you know what does the word tapas mean. Food is an important part of the culture of each country and together with the many typical dishes in Spain (paella, tortilla and gazpacho…) tapas are probably one of the most representative item of the Spanish culinary tradition.
Known by different names depending from the region, like pinchos or picadeta, literally tapa means cover; its use to describe a culinary habit is explained by the ancient practice to cover the glass of wine with a slice of bread or ham to avoid insects to fall inside.
The evolution of this habit led to the costume of consuming a light appetizer between meals, while drinking wine or beer.
Tapas are modest and simple food portion highly tasty and satisfactory but served with few attention at the preparation and traditionally they are free in bars to combine with the beverages.
Through the centuries, by the way, this tradition evolved and now a day going “de tapeo” could be quite expensive, above all for all the tourists that choose to go in some renowned tapas restaurants.
The variety of tapas is enormous and obviously they vary accordingly to the gastronomic tradition of each region and its climate.
However, among the others, the most common tapas are usually olives, crisps, tortilla slices, anchoas (anchovies), ready-sliced meat, small vegetables, montaditos, patatas bravas, small fishes and seasoned slices of bread.
As already said, tapas are traditionally a free and snack-size portions but the evolution of tourism changed the tradition, and today in bar and restaurants it’s easy to find small portion of food you have to pay for.
By the way, if you really want to taste the traditional experience of tapas we suggest you to walk off the beaten paths and look for some traditional taverns where to start a real route. Some of these bars may not have tables and you could be invited to join tapas at the bar’s counter, while drinking and talking with the bartender and other clients.
As obvious, going for tapas outside Spain could not be as satisfactory: beside this habit, in fact, lies a well established cultural custom and this is what really makes the experience of tasting tapas in Spain something unique. The costume is designed to invite people to interact and talk to each other while eating and drinking together.
The social tradition that goes together with this habit then, is a must that you absolutely have to experience in Spain as it forms part of the Spanish culture and way of living.
This become so peculiar that is now considered a national identification element and an authentic way of consider cooking as a fixture; therefore tapas embody the essence of going out and enjoy life and good food typical of the Spanish culture. Here in fact, particularly in southern and hottest areas, the life of the inhabitants is completely aims toward the external spaces, towards these meeting points and towards people and social life.
Considering these cultural bases as representative of the Iberian Peninsula, we invite you to organize a Spanish night in your houses: invite some friends and try to reproduce, not only the original tapas, but also the environment that surround and characterize this tradition.
We are sure it will be a successful funny night!