What Are Tapas
Tapas are little snacks and a great way of eating. Originally, when you ordered a drink the barman would provide a free morsel to eat on a tiny plate on top of your glass.
The word tapa means a cover or lid. Obviously time passed and what with free competition coupled with the infinitisimal
imagination of a human before long Tapas was being produced in lots of different guises and no longer free.
But nowadays, Tapas have come to encompass more or less any hot or cold dish that can be served in small portions, and they may be quite substantial.The Spanish thing to drink with Tapas is a dry (fino or manzanilla) sherry, or a glass of tinto (red wine) or cerveza (beer). Of course gin & tonic is wonderful too ... just not terribly Spanish!Tapas are an integral part of the Spanish lifestyle. In the sun drenched streets of Spain, the lively Tapas bar hung with smoked Serrano hams provides a local point for every community.
Twice daily, Spaniards from the most remote of mountain villages go to the thriving cosmopolitan cities of Madrid and Barcelona head for their favourite bar for a chilled sherry, or a glass of wine or beer, conversation and, of course, Tapas.
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Tapas by Region
Because Spain’s landscape is diverse and the climate ranges throughout the country, tapas are different in each region. The northern coastal regions, for instance, specialize in seafood tapas that are rich and hearty and feature fish from the Atlantic Ocean. The eastern coast, on the other hand, has a Mediterranean-like cuisine, with oranges, almonds and aromatic herbs.
How to Order Tapas
Spanish tapas have long been famous as an original and unique culinary option. However, ordering small amounts of several different dishes creates certain difficulties that are not present with more traditional options. Therefore, you should consider several steps before ordering
Think like a team. Since tapas are a series of little dishes, they are often shared, family style, among the group. Therefore, it is best if you decide what you would like as a group. Try to get everyone to contribute and don't let one person run the show.
Mix it up. One of the benefits of family style dining is the opportunity to try a little bit of everything. Try a series of dishes that run the range from seafood to salad, from fresh vegetables to finely cooked meat. Give your palate a range of flavors to sample and enjoy.
Take advantage of the things that Spanish cuisine is famous for. Spanish cuisine, particularly tapas, is renowned for using the freshest ingredients. This is especially true of certain specialties that feature different kinds of seafood. Spanish ham is also a delicacy.
Be adventurous. Take chances. Order something you've never had before. Order octopus or squid, if only to see what it tastes like. If you're in Spain, order something even if you don't know what it is. A tapas dinner can be more than a meal, it can be an adventure.
Draw it out. Order your courses gradually; you don't want all your food to come at once. Begin by ordering fewer dishes than you'll eventually eat. Tapas are not a food that should be hurried. Once you've eaten the first few dishes, decide what else you want to eat. This way, you'll have a better idea of the types of dishes you like and what you'd like to continue with.
Enjoy. Sit around with a group of friends and spend a couple of hours over dinner. Order a couple pitchers of Sangria or a bottle or two of a nice Spanish red wine. A tapas dinner is an event, so enjoy it. Appreciate everything: the food, the drink and above all else, the company.
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