By: Tom DeFeo
Your officially in Spain, it’s time to start acting like a Spaniard. Stop being such a noob and learn everything you need to know about tapas.
You’ve heard of them before in Spanish class. You see the word written on all the signs outside all the city’s unassuming cafes, but what are they? where do they come from? What’s the deal with tapas? The origins of tapas has long been contested, ranging from those of legend, having said to be the miracle cure for an ailing king, to practicality, said to have originally been a defense mechanism used to keep fruit flies out of glasses of sweet sherry but looking past its long and indistinct past one thing is certain,
tapas are delicious.
Tapas are usually consumed in bars between the end of the work day and the beginning of dinner, anywhere from 9 to 11 at night in Spain or around noon on weekends before lunch. They can range anywhere from pieces of cured chorizo on a stick to plates of traditional cheeses served with transparent fruit jelly. In Barcelona one must remember to take advantage of its coastal location and try the amazing assortment of tapas incorporating fresh seafood such as the razor clams and seafood salad at Tossa to the salmon with truffled honey and tuna dotted with fresh caviar and balsamic syrup at Quimet I Quimet.
One thing foreigners fail to comprehend are the small portions of these culinary jewels. When considering tapas it is important to realize that the food itself is only a part of a multi faceted tradition. Tapas are traditionally served in small portions similar to traditional appetizers, the reasoning behind these small serving sizes are to feed into the social aspect of the meal. The tapas themselves serve as a tool to draw a lot of people into one place to have a drink and socialize, an important aspect of any culture especially those of Mediterranean origin. The small serving sizes correlate to more time allotted to drinking and talking, providing Spaniards with their daily fix of human interaction, something that seems to be in severe jeopardy in places like the United States where the advent of social media sites like facebook has created a somewhat socially challenged generation of “indoor kids.” So get out and eat tapas, they may save your life.