What Are Tapas?

Tapas is a delicious dish of Spanish origin that is often served in bars and restaurants. If you have come across this dish on a menu, you may be confused as to what it means. After all, tapas can contain a plethora of different foods. 

What Are Tapas?

Fortunately, this guide covers everything that you need to know about tapas, including the dishes that are commonly included in this serving style. 

Tapas: What Is It?

Tapas is a form of small snack that originates from Spanish cuisine. Rather than referring to a specific food, tapas refers to a serving style whereby small portions of food are served. 

This tapas can include a variety of different foods, which may be served hot or cold. Some of the most popular varieties of tapas include patatas bravas, olives, croquettes, or battered squid. 

As a result, you can pretty much include whatever foods you desire when serving tapas. Often, foods that are in season are included in tapas dishes. Additionally, they may use local ingredients. 

Tapas is commonly served in bars, where these foods will often be consumed alongside a delicious glass of wine. This dish has developed a sophisticated reputation. 

Tapas: What Is Its History?

The word “tapas” derives from the Spanish word “tapar”. This Spanish word roughly translates to “cover” or “lid”. Aside from this, not much is known about the history of tapas, as it is believed to have different origins. 

One such origin claims that tapas originated from a tradition whereby bread was used as a lid by bartenders as a method of keeping flies away from bottles of beer.

Additionally, sherry drinkers would cover their drinks in between sips to protect them from insects. Eventually, this evolved into the modern concept of tapas.

Meanwhile, another origin claims that tapas is tied to King Alfonso X of Castile. According to this legend, Alfonso had to eat small amounts of food alongside wine whilst recovering from an illness.

Consequently, this encouraged other people to consume tapas, as the king decreed that alcohol should be consumed alongside small snacks. 

What Are The Benefits Of Serving Tapas?

Serving tapas offers an assortment of different advantages, including: 

  • You can customize the dishes to suit your tastes by including whatever foods you desire.
  • Tapas allows you to include a range of different flavors in one dish. As a result, it is perfect for trying something new. If there is a dish that you don’t like, you won’t have wasted much food since there are only small portions. 
  • Tapas is ideal for groups of people, as there will be something for everyone. It is easy to meet different dietary requirements when making tapas. For example, you can make dishes that are vegan, vegetarian, or suitable for meat-eaters. 
  • This style of food is fairly easy to make. Many of the dishes that are commonly served as part of tapas are quick and simple. 
  • Portion control is much easier since the portions are much smaller. 
  • It is fairly simple to provide a well-rounded diet because you will be cooking an assortment of different dishes. These dishes will include some of the main food groups that you need as part of a healthy diet, such as proteins and vegetables.
  • Tapas is a tasty serving style that many people adore. 

Tapas Inspiration

If you are interested in making tapas, here are some of the most popular dishes that you may wish to include: 

Patatas Bravas

What Are Tapas?

Patatas bravas is one of the most popular tapas dishes. It is a common feature on tapas menus. This Spanish dish translates to “spicy potatoes”. 

To make this dish, the white potatoes are typically boiled for a few minutes and then fried. Consequently, they will develop a crispy texture and brown hue. The potatoes will then be coated in various spices to give them a potent flavor and covered in a tomato sauce. 

For example, this brilliant recipe uses a patatas bravas sauce to create these spicy fried potatoes.  

Mixed Olives

What Are Tapas?

Like patatas bravas, mixed olives are also a tapas staple. Spanish olives are particularly popular inclusions for tapas thanks to their larger sizes. Additionally, you could add stuffed olives to your tapas board. 

Perfect for tapas, this recipe will help you to make marinated olives. These flavorsome olives have been marinated in magnificent herbs like oregano, parsley, and garlic. Plus, they will be ready in just 5 minutes.

Jamon Serrano

What Are Tapas?

Up next, jamon serrano is a variety of dry-cured ham that originates from Spain. This marbled ham has a smoky taste and a deep aroma. Slices of this cured meat will regularly be added to a tapas platter. 

Alongside your cured ham, you may want to provide different types of cheese as well as other forms of cured meat.

Using this jamon serrano, you may wish to make this luxurious Spanish tomato bread. This will be an amazing appetizer. 

Spanish Omelet

What Are Tapas?

This is a traditional Spanish dish that is usually made with potatoes and eggs. Onions are also frequently added to Spanish omelets. Made with just 7 ingredients, this Spanish omelet recipe is super straightforward. 

Fried Calamari

What Are Tapas?

If you have a passion for seafood, we recommend that you try fantastic fried calamari. This scrumptious squid will be cooked in a brilliant batter. Seasoned with paprika and lemon juice, this fried calamari recipe is especially flavorsome. 


What Are Tapas?

Last but not least, croquettes are also a worthwhile addition to your tapas. This French dish is often known as croquetas in Spanish restaurants. This dish will often include placing a filling in a bread coating and then deep-frying it.

Usually, croquettes will be made with a mashed potato filling. 

With this tantalizing recipe, you can add cured ham croquettes to your tapas board. 

Final Thoughts

If you have a passion for Spanish cuisine, we suggest that you try making tapas. This dish is not only super simple to make, but it also allows you to try a variety of different tasty snacks. This means that tapas is a customizable dish that enables you to taste a range of fabulous flavors.

Mark Williams
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