This week I took my palate to Spain and took a break from pasta. Tragic I know, but much needed nonetheless. In Spain it is all about tapas, and paella of course, but in this article I’m talkin’ bout tapas.
Tapas came to be when Spanish kings were served a glass of wine with a tapadera — a thin slice of cheese or ham laid over the top of a glass to protect the drink from dust, bugs, and other undesirables that no one wants in their drink. Even though it was not their intended use, the kings started to eat the tapaderas, introducing Spain and the rest of the world to tapas as we know them today. Now we enjoy tapas as small dishes to share over drinks that can even make up a whole meal.
I am a big fan of sampling many items from the menu so I love the concept of tapas. For the most part they are cheap and delicious and you can try many more dishes than the standard entre allows. They are similar, in a way, to the Italian aperitivo, or happy hour in the United States.
If you find yourself in Spain make sure to visit as many tapas bars as possible and enjoy many different types of tapas. Some traditional and delicious ones you won’t want to miss are:
- Croquettes – fried balls of dough or rice stuffed with meats or cheeses;
- Iberian ham – the prosciutto of Spain;
- Pan con tomate – a flaky ciabatta like bread toasted then rubbed with tomatoes;
- Manchego cheese – delicious sheep’s milk cheese similar to the Italian pecorino;
- Patatas bravas – crispy potatoes covered in paprika, garlic and lemon aioli; and
- (In coastal areas) Anything with seafood — enough said…
Enjoy any and all of these with good friends and a pitcher of house-made sangria and you will be sure to enjoy your tapas experience.
Until next time, stay hungry my friends!
Paige McNeil, a Junior at the University of Denver, studying Hospitality Management. Through time at the Umbra Institute, she seeks to learn about food and eat her way through Europe; taking what she learns to one day open her own sustainable restaurant or catering business. View her Food Blog.