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Spanish Tapas

Spanish tapas are tiny, tasty, high-protein portions of food usually taken with a small glass of wine or a small beer while standing at a bar. They are the most famous culinary tradition of Spain. Visitors can find tapas in tascas, bodegas, cervecerías and tabernas. Tapas bars are popular early-evening pastime and tourists will often find that the tapas are so good and filling that they don't want to go and eat in a restaurant afterwards.  

Most tapas bars have a comedor to the rear, where clients can order a full meal. The broad tapas spectrum ranges from the Spanish omelette, a lump of potato omelette on a piece of white bread, to all sorts of elaborately presented morsels, particularly delicious when they incorporate olives, peppers or other regional vegetables. Spaniards usually eat tapas until dinnertime or lunch.

Spanish Tapas History

Most Spanish historians assure that Spanish tapas were born when the Spanish King Alfonso X had to take small bites of food due to an illness. He ordered that in all inns of the land of the Castle that people must drink wine with something to eat. However, other historians say that tapas appeared because of the need of Spanish workers and farmers to take a small portion of food during their working time that allowed them to continue working until the main time of meal. Regardless of its origins, this snack became popular in the middle-age; most people accompanied their wine with something to eat, because alcohol enhances the strength and enthusiasm.  

Typical Tapas in Spain

Nowadays, tapas are a typical tradition around Spain. They also have been adopted and disguised in several countries worldwide. The habit of eating a tapa is known in the south of Spain as “tapeando” that means literally tapasing.  Tapas are known as pinchos in the north part of Spain like the Basque country. Pinchos mean skewers and this is the reason why northern Spanish tapas are always skewered.

There are several types of tapas such as the Spanish omelette, patatas bravas, Spanish croquetas, and Gambas al Ajillo. These delicious Spanish dishes are included onto the menus of most tapas bar.  However, tapas can be also a simple bowl of potato chips or small bites of pork stew.  Tpas are usually advertised on menus by size. Visitors can order a ración that is enough to share between three or four friends. You can also order media-ración or a pincho that are small portions of tapas.

Cooking Spanish Tapas

If you want to prepare a tapa, we recommend cooking Papas Bravas. They are fried potatoes in a spicy tomato sauce. This Spanish recipe is one of the most popular tapas in the southern and northern Spain.


  • 1 Kg potatoes.

  • 300ml olive oil.

For the sauce

  • 6 tomatoes skinned and seeded.

  • 8 tablespoons olive oil.

  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar.

  • 2 red onions, finely chopped.

  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed.

  • 15 blanched almonds.

  • 12 blanched hazelnuts.

  • 11 sliced brown bread.

  • ½ teaspoon mild paprika

  • Salt.

  • Ground cayenne pepper.


  1. Peel and potatoes.

  2. Cut into  ¾ inch cubes the potatoes.

  3. Wash the potatoes.

  4. Fill a deep-fat fryer with oil.

  5. Heat the fryer to 180°C (350°F)

  6. Fry the potatoes.

  7. Drain them into kitchen paper.

  8. Serve with the spicy salsa brava.

The sauce:

  1. Toast the bread.

  2. Dry fry the garlic, hazelnuts and almonds.

  3. Blend the garlic, tomatoes, onions almonds and hazelnuts in q food processor.

  4. Add 2 pinches of cayenne pepper, vinegar, salt, oil, toasted bread and paprika.

  5. Once more blend this mixture to get the salsa brava.

  6. Set aside.
The true tapas and raciones of Spain are not merely things to eat; they represent an important part of folk Spanish cuisine. The word tapa means "lids" in Spanish language, and refers to a slice of bread being used to cover the top of a wine glass. You can find tapas on bars; Spanish people usually accompany their drinks with these small snacks. Tapas are currently disappearing, because it takes a lot of work to prepare them and their tiny size means that they must be given away very fast, so they represent a huge investment for their producers.


One can ask for raciones, if tapas are too small for one's appetite. Raciones are large portions of food, they are easier to prepare than tapas and they bring in much higher profit. However, Spanish people avoid raciones, because they aren't as delicious as tapas, they always recommend eating tapas to preserve their traditional food, but travelers can always take their own decision.

Spain Tapas
Spain Tapas
Spain Tapas
Spain Tapas

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