What are tapas?
Tapas are a typical Spanish dish. They were born in southern Spain, more precisely in Granada, and are popular especially in the beautiful region of Andalusia. They are a real institution.
For those of you, sooner or later, will go to visit Seville, Cordoba, Tarifa (spectacular) or any other beautiful Andalusian city, don't forget to take a tapas tour. The Spaniards call it "ir to tapear" or also "ir de tapas”And it's a real one rite; they go from tapas bar to tapas bar between a glass of wine (in theory they are born with a glass of Sherry) and a small ration of food. Here, these small portions are what are called, in fact, Spanish tapas. Tasty dishes that make you want to drink more.
The history of tapas
Tapas are tradition and, like all traditions, they have a history, indeed, more stories. First of all, “tapear” means to cover. What does Spanish tapas have to do with the need to cover something? I'll explain it to you right away.
Several stories are often linked to a tradition. In the case of tapas, the best known and most valid one concerns a trip to Andalusia by King Alfonso XIII. It stopped at a bar and ordered a glass of sherry. The bartender, to avoid the possibility of insects getting into the glass, covered the glass with a slice of ham. The king, finished consuming wine and ham, requested another glass of wine with another tapa. With this request from the king, tapas were born.
Different types of ir de tapas, in Granada
I still remember that Granada tapas bar I walked into during mine itinerary in southern Spain about 10 years ago. It was not far from the Cathedral if I am not mistaken.
It was after 9, the small bar was full of people crowding at the counter. I don't remember how I ever happened to be in this bar, maybe it was a suggestion from the Lonely planet, in any case it was a good experience. In this case the tapa was a free accompaniment to the glass, the more rounds you did, the more with each round of drinking the tapa became of better quality.
I have to be honest, after a few glasses, the tapa becomes better by definition and due to force majeure.
Tapas, racione or half racione?
Tapas are often there mignon version of classic Spanish / Andalusian cuisine. For this reason, when you are in a tapas bar, you will find on the menu the words ration / half ration / tapa. This means that you can also order that dish as a full-fledged course and not just a very small portion.
Basically the tapa should be free, as it happened to me in Granada; in fact, also considering the trendy trend of tapas, on many occasions it can be chosen from the menu and each one has a price of its own.
What are the most common?
A tapa is a relatively simple portion of food. Over time they have grown sophisticated; some Spanish dishes have also been prepared as a tapa. Among the more traditional ones you can find:
- The classic potato tortilla
- Patatas bravas or, sometimes, potatoes with oils
- The fantastic jamon serrano (ham)
- Various cheese and olives
- Croquetas (Croquettes) of potatoes and jamon
- La morcilla (black pudding)
- The Chorizo
If you are in Spain and want more ideas on which ones to eat, HERE you can make your mouth water.
From Andalusia to the rest of Spain
This Spanish tradition also spread to the rest of Spain as a custom, taking on various forms and various names. In fact, if you go to Northern Spain in cities like Santader in Cantabria, you will not find tapas, but pinchos.
The difference with the pinchos?
Are Tapas or Pinchos the same thing? If we were to ask an inhabitant of the Cantabria, I think the answer would be no. On the other hand, parochialism is not to blame and we Europeans, from a gastronomic point of view, understand parochialism.
Let's say they are not quite the same. Pinchos are "pinciati" by a toothpick and almost always the base is a piece of bread.
Differences so obvious that you consider tapas and pinchos extremely different? I wouldn't say, the concept is always the same: drinking a glass of wine in company, share (share) a little food with the other diners and spend some carefree time as our Latin culture rightly suggests.