Tapas are becoming more and more popular. I am amazed, happy and proud when I see more and more tapas bars popping up all over the world. In most cases they are actually quite good.
What very few people know, is where the name and the tradition come from.
First you need to know, that the word “tapa” means “lid” in Spanish.
Then, you need to grasp a bit of our culture: Spaniards love to talk, discuss, joke and sing together. We love also to go out. A perfect evening has often been to leave home and go “de tapeo”. Could be translated in “go tapa-ing”.
This has always been like this, also in times where higenic laws were more easy going, and bars -specially in the summer- were full of flies. We don’t drink quick. Steadily and during hours, but not quickly. To avoid flies getting into your glass of vino tinto (red wine), you got your glass served with a lid. That lid was a sliece of bread or a tiny plate with something on top. It could be a slice of jamon serrano (the best ham in the world, which deserves an own post), cheese or any other tasty something.
And as you might have guessed, this bite literally served as “lid”, which in spanish is “tapa”. That’s all the mistery.
Some things have changed with the time: bars are clean, have few/no flies etc. We still love to talk and drink and eat at the same time. And we love the tradition of offering a tasty bite.
Unfortunately you get charged for your tapas in more and more places every time. But not everywhere! I will soon get back to you with more about this though
Till then: enjoy your tapas with a glass of “The Spanish Quarter” or your favourite Spanish wine.