Spanish tapas - these tiny dishes that are getting so famous and eaten every where in the world.
But what is the story behind this well know dish?
There are various ideas about their origin but as the verb “tapar” means to cover in Spanish we will belive that the theory of a small snack that you could balance on your glass to keep the flies out is the best.
It is said that the original tapas were the slices of bread or meat which the wine drinkers in the southern part of Spain used to cover their glasses between sips. This was meant to keep the flies away from the sweet wine they where drinking at that time. The meat used to cover the wine was normally ham or chorizo.
Both very salty and activated the thirst. This way a variety of snacks was made and started to increase the sale of wine. In the end the tapas eventually became as important as the wine.
Far back in time In Madrid, Castilla-La Mancha, Castilla y León, Asturias, Extremadura, and in parts of Andalucia, when you go to a bar and order a drink, often a tapa will be served with it for free. This still happens in sertain cities like Granada, but also in some bars in Madrid and Barcelona as an attrctions for the clientes.
In Spain, dinner is usually served between 9 and 11 p.m, leaving significant time between work and dinner. Therefore, many people in Spain often go to the bar and eat tapas in the time between finishing work and having dinner. Since lunch is usually served between 2 and 4 p.m., another common time for tapas is weekend days around noon as a means of socializing before proper lunch at home.
Tapas can be "upgraded" to bigger portions, equivalent to half a dish (media ración) or a whole one (ración). This is generally more economical and more social since the the portions are usually shared by a group of people.
In several cities, entire zones are dedicated to tapas bars, each one serving its own unique dish. In León, one can find the Barrio Húmedo, in Logroño Calle Laurel and in Burgos Calle de la Sombrerería and Calle de San Lorenzo. But normally in the cities old town you find the best tapas bars, but always far away for the cities tourist attactions.
Sometimes, especially in northern Spain, they are also called pinchos (pintxos in Basque) in Asturias, in Navarra, in La Rioja (Spain), the Basque Country, Cantabria and in some provinces, such as Salamanca, because many of them have apincho or toothpick through them. The toothpick is used to keep whatever the snack is made of from falling off the slice of bread and to keep track of the number of tapas the customer has eaten.
Are you going to Spain and want to try this unique and traditional dishes you "must" visit a tapas bar where you are going and try for yourself.
We can also go with you and add some history and local city information to a tapas tour and you will get a fantastic tapas experience.
Contact us if you want to do our tapas tour in Spain.