This guest post was contributed by London Food PR agency Wild Card
In Spain it is a very popular tradition to go out for tapas. It is very important to note that there is no specific type of food that makes up tapas- rather the term ‘tapas’ refers to the way the food is prepared and eaten. Here are few facts about tapas that you probably didn’t know!
They Are Not an Appetizer
It is not a hard-fast rule that tapas are eaten before the main course. Instead, they can be enjoyed at any point during the meal at any time of day. It is simply a smaller portion of food; however it is not multiple smaller dishes of food served at once as a full meal. Tapas are both served cold and hot.
Tapas Originally Covered Drinks
Before the term ‘tapas’ was widely spread because of tourism a piece of cheese or sometimes ham was served over a glass of wine. There is no concrete answer as to why this practice was started, however it is debated that it was one of three reasons- to keep flies from entering the drink, to mask the smell of bad wine, or to prevent the wind from sloshing the drink out of the cup.
Tapas Help Establish Friendship
Because people eating tapas are less immersed in their meal due to its smaller portion they are more likely to focus on socializing. In Spain, it is a common practice for friends and family to go out just for tapas and nothing else.
Tapas Is Not a Specific Food
There are thousands of different varieties of tapas available to order. As long as it is about a quarter of the original sized meal it is considered tapas. They can vary from small chunks of steak all the way to shrimp and meatballs.
The More Drinks the Bigger the Tapas
At many bars in Spain it is a very common practice to serve a larger portion of tapas to customers who purchase more drinks. This of course has its limit otherwise the owner would go broke; however it’s almost always worth sticking around to see what you can get next.
They Doesn’t Stay the Same
Even if you are planning on eating at the same bar or restaurant the entire time you may get different tapas served each time around. Some establishments do not adhere to this, but many do. The easiest way to tell ahead of time is to observe what other patrons are receiving.
Tapas Aren’t Exclusive to Spain
Even though tapas originated from Spanish culture they are very popular in the United States. With a little bit of research it is very easy to find tapas bars to go eat at. Just like in Spain each bar has its own unique tapas.
Tapas Aren’t Served Alone
Tapas will always be served with a drink of some sort- generally wine or cocktails. For this reason tapas are generally very spice-oriented so be prepared for a kick! If you are unable to consume higher amounts of salt or other certain spices you should ask for ones that are not as heavily spiced.