Tapas are what Spain is all about! They are an excuse to meet up with friends and family, to move from bar to bar talking, drinking, and sharing delicious little dishes whilst soaking up the atmosphere of the city. What better way to spend your afternoon or evening than that!
Tapas began in the 1800s, when in a bid to keep out the flies in the midday heat of Southern Spain, people began to cover their glasses of sherry with a thin sliver of bread or slice of jamón, a tapa, (meaning cover), which was eaten once the drink was finished. In time this progressed to bars serving small dishes to accompany drinks, which workers would eat to sustain themselves until lunch or dinner, and these little dishes became known as tapas. Now days this sociable way of eating is popular not only throughout Spain but across the world, with restaurants serving small tapas dishes of their own local cuisine for people to share in every corner of the globe.
My own love of Tapas began whilst living in Seville, known as the home of tapas in Spain! My friends and I would spend hours hopping from bar to bar (a pastime known as El Tapeo), sharing tasty morcels of traditional local fare like jamón ibérico (dry cured ham), gambas pil pil (prawns with chilli and garlic), croquetas (breadcrumb coated mashed potato mixed with meat, fish or cheese) and espinica con garbanzos (spinach with chickpeas). These days Tapas are more varied and often have a modern twist. On a recent trip to Seville I enjoyed cerviche con lima (raw fish cured in lime juice), originating from South America, and hamburguesitas de buey (mini ox cheek hamburgers).The traditional dishes still hold their own though, and I would always recommend trying a variety of both old and new!