Tapas are quickly growing in popularity all around the world. They are no longer only found in their country of origin, Spain. There are tapas restaurants popping up all over Europe and the United States, there is even a paella restaurant in Bali! However, many people, when enjoying these delicious foods do not know the history behind them. Tapas are small dishes, they vary from meat dishes, to seafood to cheese plates. They are often served between meals and go best with alcohol, a fine glass of Spanish wine perhaps.

The Legend

You most likely already knew that they originated in Spain, but do you know the legend behind them. Apparently King Alfonso 10th, known as The Wise King of Spain, came down with a horrible illness and he was unable to eat a full meal. So he only ate small portions of food with small amounts of wine. Once he recovered from this illness he issues a decree that no wine should be served unless it was accompanied by small amounts of food.  

As with all legends, there are of course various versions. One of which says the decreed was issued because of a problem with peasants. They did not want the, drinking on an empty stomach when they could not afford both food and wine. Another version says that tapas were first eaten by farmers who would have small amounts of food and wine throughout the day to give them nourishment and energy throughout their laborious day before their main meals. No matter the version of legend you chose to believe you no doubt are glad they exist and are here for your enjoyment.

Modern Day

You’ll be hard pressed to find a tapas restaurant that serves tapas without alcohol. The two just go together. As tapas have grown in popularity they have become more a meal than they were originally meant to be. A true tapas chef cooks in a tapas bar, not a restaurant. As tapas are only to be snacks between meals, not a meal in itself.

Tapas can be almost anything you want them to be. A plate of nuts, cheese and olives. Roasted meats and stews or small plates of paella. The options are endless as long as it’s served in small portions in can be a tapas. The best part about tapas is that they bring together family and friends to enjoy good food and drink together. It is part of the Spanish culture, taking time out of the day to slow down and enjoy life.

So the next time you are looking for the perfect foods to entertain your guest with why not try a Spanish tapas night. Our simple and easy to follow recipes will ensure that you impress your guest and most importantly enjoy fantastic food together.