small Spanish dishes, often served as a snack
snack; Cantina appetizer; Madrid munchie; Bar food in Barcelona;
Seville snack; Acapulco appetizer; Spanish hors
2 times a year
in English language:
(tapas) 56410 / 86800
Spanish Tapas at Meson Rincon de la Cava, Madrid
is the name of a wide variety of appetizers, or snacks, in
Spanish cuisine. They may be cold (such as mixed olives and
cheese) or warm (such as chopitos, which are battered, fried baby
squid). In select bars in Spain, as well as some parts of North
America and the United Kingdom, tapas has evolved into an entire,
and sometimes sophisticated, cuisine. In Spain, patrons of tapas
can order many different tapas and combine them to make a full
meal. In some Central American countries such snacks are known as
serving of tapas is designed to encourage conversation because
people are not so focused upon eating an entire meal that is set
before them. Also, in some countries it is customary for diners
to stand and move about while eating tapas.
word "tapas" is derived from the Spanish verb tapar,
to legend, the tapas tradition began when king Alfonso X of
Castile recovered from an illness by drinking wine with small
dishes between meals. After regaining his health, the king
ordered that taverns would not be allowed to serve wine to
customers unless it was accompanied by a small snack or "tapa."
to The Joy of Cooking, the original tapas were the slices of
bread or meat which sherry drinkers in Andalusian taverns used to
cover their glasses between sips. This was a practical measure
meant to prevent fruit flies from hovering over the sweet sherry.
The meat used to cover the sherry was normally ham or chorizo,
which are both very salty and activate thirst. Because of this,
bartenders and restaurant owners began creating a variety of
snacks to serve with sherry, thus increasing their alcohol sales.
The tapas eventually became as important as the sherry.
have evolved through Spanish history by incorporating ingredients
and influences from many different cultures and countries. Most
of the Iberian Peninsula was invaded by the Romans, who
introduced the olive and irrigation methods. The invasion of the
North African Moors in the 8th century brought almonds, citrus
fruits and fragrant spices. The influence of their 700-year
presence remains today, especially in Andalusia. The discovery of
the New World brought the introduction of tomatoes, sweet and
chili peppers, maize (corn), beans and potatoes. These were
readily accepted and easily grown in Spain's microclimates.
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