One of our favourite things to do in Spain has been “tapearing”, the Spanish art of strolling from bar to bar and sampling a small Spanish tapas at each. The bars are often informal and noisy and a great way to experience the Spanish social scene. What makes this pass time even more appealing is that, in many places, the small plates of food are free with any drinks ordered.
The origin of tapas in Spain is debated but a common theory is that the plates of food were a practical way of keeping insects out of wine. The word “tapa” literally means lid and were served on small plates which covered the wine glass and kept unwanted critters away from the nectar.
Whatever the origin, tapas in Spain are still a huge part of socialising and can be eaten as a meal consisting of many small plates or as an accompaniment to a drink. Heather and I have enjoyed sampling the different plates on offer at each bar rather than ordering a selection in one. Here are some of the plates we have received (free!) with our small draught beers (known as a çana):
Merluza a la Romana With a Pickled Slaw
Another great example of fresh seafood, these tapas are both fresh Mediterranean hake battered and fried then served with a sort of pickled coleslaw. This was a common type of Spanish tapas.
Tortilla Española with Pickled Veg and Crusty Bread
This tapas in Spain was a classic Spanish Omlette of potato, egg and onion served in the traditional way, with a pickled chilli on top. The dish also had pickled olives and vegetables as well as crusty bread.
This small plate of Estofado (beef stew) tasted better than it looks. The sauce was very rich and meaty, perfect for mopping up with the crusty bread. A very tasty and filling tapas in Spain.
This ham had been cured for an impressive 18 months and tasted great. Cured ham with some crisps is a commonly found tapas in Spain.
Olive Tapenade Panini
This delicatessen/bar makes its own olive tapenade amongst other things. The panini was freshly baked and served hot, oozing with the tapenade and sprinkled with tarragon.Not one of the most traditional types of tapas in Spain that we tried but it was certainly tasty.
This seafood paella was as good as it looks. It contained mussels and squid and the rice was cooked to perfection.
Other dishes we have tried, but didn’t have the wits about us to photograph, include calamari and fried anchovies.