Spain is famous for its tapas and, whichever Spanish bar you
frequent, in whichever area of the country, you are sure to
So, what exactly are "tapas" and where did the name come from?
Tapas are, essentially, snacks and the word literally means
"cover". The name originates from the card which used to be
placed on top of your drink to protect it from the flies
(this can be a hot country!).
At some point in time, it became popular to place a little
snack on top of this card. At first, this would just have
been something simple like a few nuts and olives, or a fresh
slice of crusty Spanish bread plus topping.
In those, not-so-far-gone days, the tapas were free! That
is not usually the case these days, although you will
occasionally be presented with a small dish of crisps or
olives to go with your drink.
Nowadays, there is a wide variety of (paid) tapas, with
some bars really going-to-town on them and offering
highly original, magnificently presented snacks.
But, even a fairly humble bar will present you with the
opportunity to enjoy a slice of tortilla (Spanish omelette),
boquerones (fresh, marinated anchovies preserved in olive
oil and garlic), calamares (squid), champi?ones al ajillo
(garlic mushrooms), jam?n serrano, Manchego cheese, etc.
Are you keen on cooking? Then perhaps you would like
to try out this tapas potato recipe called "Patatas
Bravas". An old Spanish favorite, it is simple to
prepare, using fairly basic ingrediants but, it should
only be savored by the courageous as it is quite spicy!
Ingrediants are for four people.
750 g potatoes
4 dessertspoons olive oil
Salt and black pepper
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
? teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 dessertspoons red vinegar wine
2 teaspoons tomato pur?e
1. Peel potatoes and cut into chunks.
2. Fry in oil for 3-4 minutes until lightly colored.
3. Add salt and pepper to potatoes.
4. Cover pan, lower heat and cook for 20 minutes.
5. Sprinkle with paprika and cayenne. Increase heat.
6. Mix wine vinegar with tomato pur?e. Add to pan.
7. Cook a couple of minutes, constantly stirring.
8. There should be no loose liquid or oil in the pan.
Should you fancy coming to the country to try the original
version, there are plenty of afternoon Tapas Tours available
throughout Spain for you to enjoy!
Linda Plummer is webmistress of
Top Tour of Spain
providing comprehensive information on Spain for travel, food,
language and living.