Monday, June 6, 2011
Is tapas the next big food "thing"?
We're had pizza, thai, sushi - is tapas the next "IT"?
You'd think so if you live near me with 2 tapas resturaunts opening in the last couple of months (to mixed reviews!)
What is or are tapas?
Basically they are snacks, small plates of food usually served with a drink.
Tapas originated in Spain and means literally "cover".
There are many stories of tapas' origin including that is is simply a lid put on top of a glass of wine to keep the flies out! The lid could be a card or piece of bread or became ham or cheese as bar owners realised that salty food increased their customers thirst!
Another romantic explanation is that King Alfonso was travelling around Spain and stopped in the dusty town of Cadiz. The bar tender placeed a slice of ham on top of the galss to keep the dust out. The king so enjoyed the combination of ham and sherry that he asked for more "tapas".
Whatever the origin it is a very popular custom in Spain where dinner is normally eaten quite late - after 9pm and so people need a snack to keep them going until dinnertime.
I think that the interpretation of tapas has evolved as it has travelled across the world with every place that adopts the style putting their own spin on it.
Common threads seem to be olives and olive oil, seafood as well as meats and potato dishes are very popular.
One of the fun things about tapas is that the plates are meant to share making it all a very social experience.
Have you had tapas?
What is your favorite tapas dish?
Do you have any recipes to share?