FOR SPANISH TAPAS?
& COOKING ARTICLE
is a country of passion, life, colour and contrasts
and nothing represents this quite like the Spanish tapas
and the ritual of enjoying them.
are a true celebration of the Spanish culture and social
way of life for which the Spanish are famous. Tapas
are in effect bite sized morsels of food served with
a drink in the bar and the Andalucian region of Granada
is the only place where tapas are still complimentary.
word 'tapa' means cover and this is one of the historical
explanations of their origin, when bar or tavern owners
used to place a small piece of bread over their patrons
glass to keep the flies out. Other early 'tapas' were
pieces of spicy Spanish chorizo or slices of cured Serrano
ham and as these are a bit salty, customers had to order
another drink to quench their thirst, so the tapa was
a good business idea as well as a delightful treat for
popular theory behind the origin of the tapa is that
travelers on their way through town or villages would
stop at the local inn or tavern and be served a drink
and a bite to eat at the entrance whilst still on their
horse or in their carriage as there was no time to enter
the premises for a full meal. This small offering was
enough to see them through during the next leg of their
is actually no written record of the origin of the Spanish
tapa, but the concept has blossomed from serving the
simplest slice of bread or 'jamon' to a gastronomical
delight and social institution.
represent, in modern times, the warmth and openness
of the social Spanish lifestyle - there is nothing quite
like a drink and a chat with some friends and some delicious
tiny nibbles to enhance the experience.
Spanish phrase, 'ir de tapas' means going from bar to
bar or 'tasca' as a tapas bar is known, having a drink
with friends or family after work and of course, sampling
the array of dishes on offer. From the thinly populated
pueblos of Andalucia to the largest modern cities, tapas
bars and the tapas culture are an important part of
the Spanish lifestyle.
reputation of a bar is based on the quality of their
tapas as the tapa is the most important aspect of these
social gatherings. You can often find up to ten different
tapas dishes ready prepared to be served and you will
never get the same dish twice. Usually you order your
drink and then the tapa will arrive shortly afterwards,
but in the Basque country there are bars with the tapas
dishes already laid out on the bar and you can go along
sampling a little bit here and a little bit there!
people will enjoy a drink and tapa at the bar before
moving to their table for a meal or they will simply
spend the evening moving from once place to another
enjoying tapas en route. You can have a full meal just
by trying out the tapas in three or four places.
key to the Spanish tapa is their size, they must be
small as some are served complimentary or included in
the price of an alcoholic drink. The whole point of
them really is to accompany a drink and satisfy the
customer. Tapas, although small are often mini tasters
of the menu of the day anything from small pieces of
marinated chicken to tiny paella portions, you can sample
some of the finest local cuisine just by enjoying a
tapa. Of course tapas can also be some local cheese
and olives or a few slices of Serrano ham with almonds
but they are always beautifully presented and encompass
the finest examples of traditional local dishes.
popular tapas dishes include: Serrano ham with melon,
Manchego cheese and almonds, gambas al pil-pil, cheese
and ham croquettes, meatballs, anchovies in vinegar
tortilla de patatas.
Copyright 2008 Orce Serrano Hams - www.orceserranohams.com
21 January 2008
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