Do you know what “tapas” means?
Since a few years ago, this “tapas” issue is going crazy, now any restaurant from any cuisine has the word “tapas” on the Menu. For us, it is quite funny to see that, and we would love to explain to you the real history behind it.
Why do we eat tapas:
Nobody knows why we started eating tapas 😉 These are some possible explanations:
There’s a tale about King Ferdinand of Aragon stopping on a “taberna” on his way to a battle. The owner worried about the flies that the glass of wine had around, offered him a cover or “tapa” for his drink, and the tradition says that the cover was a plate with some ham or cheese on top.
Another version is that King Alfonso the 10th started eating some small portions of food with the glass of wine that doctors had recommended him a few times a day—eating while he drunk alcohol would help him not to get drunk. When he recovered, he ordered all the “mesones” to offer some food with the wine to prevent/cover, “tapar” the effects of alcohol.
And we should not forget that eating small portions of food before the main meal is quite popular in both Jewish and Muslim cultures that are an essential part of our heritage.
Where does it come from:
Everybody is quite sure about where in Spain the tradition started; it was in Andalucia. And became very popular in Madrid at the beginning of the 20th century. It was then when the newspapers began using the word “tapa,” and in 1936, the RAE (Royal Spanish Academy) added the gastronomic meaning of the word tapa to the Spanish language dictionary.
Eating & drinking:
As you can see, the relationship between food and wine is the main issue here, and the size of both the tapa and the amount of alcohol it is quite essential too.
The real typical way of eating tapas is :
going to a few places; usually, old wine stores and have a glass of wine or beer with a small portion of food, many times standing up because there’s not so much room inside.