If there is one aspect of Spanish cuisine that is best known around the world, it is the custom of eating tasty and varied tapas.
For all you foodies out there… today is our day! World Tapas Day, observed annually on the third Thursday of June, is an international holiday celebrating the small Spanish tapa dish that is usually served with drinks. Who else is craving them yet? Guilty as charged!
A BIT OF HISTORY
Traditionally tapas are savory dishes, snacks or appetizers of Spanish cuisine, and they come in many different forms and can vary greatly throughout Spain - even from town to town!
There are several stories about the origin of tapas, which are a part of the folklore. One legend involves King Alfonso X, El Sabio or “The Wise One,” who made sure that Castilian taverns serving wine always accompanied it with something to eat so that the wine would not go straight to the clients' heads (and potentially cause rowdiness and disagreements).
Another story claims that while on a long trip, King Alfonso had stopped to rest in the town of Ventorillo del Chato in the southern province of Cádiz, and he ordered a glass of jerez or sherry wine. There was a gusty wind, so the innkeeper served him his glass of sherry covered by a slice of ham to prevent the sherry from getting dirty with sand in the air. King Alfonso apparently liked it, and when he asked for a second glass, he requested another tapa (which means 'lid' or "cover") just like the first.
WHAT’S IN TAPAS?
There’s really no definitive answer, as it depends on who you ask. In Spain, tapas can include practically anything — from the classic gambas al ajillo (garlicky shrimps) or croquetas de jamón (made from bechamel sauce and Spanish cured ham) to patatas bravas (spicy potatoes) and tortilla de patatas (Spanish omelette) ¡Qué rico!
Tapas are served day in and day out in bars and cafés throughout Spain - though each has a different interpretation of the word and different prices. A tapas menu broadens the dining experience by giving you an abundance of choices and flavors to boot!
The term tapear, or ir de tapas, means going form bar to bar from drinks and tapas. It literally means “bar hopping”. With tapas you have complete freedom to choose what, where, and how to eat—sitting or standing—when to start, and when to finish: it's up to you.
TAPAS: AN ON-TREND CULINARY ICON
The tapa is now universally recognized as a symbol of the easy-going generosity from which it emerged. There is no doubt about it: tapas have become a world-famous gastronomical model, reaching far beyond Spanish borders.
"Tapas is a style of eating. It's not just what you eat, it's how you pick it up and the way you share the tapas experience," claimed once Rafael Ansón, President of the Spanish Royal Academy of Gastronomy.
From YOKO, we wish you a happy World Tapas Day. We hope you celebrate it the Spanish way… TAPEANDO!