The exact moment of the birth
of the tapa is lost in time. The closest estimate of its humble origins would possibly be sometime in the eighteen century.
Weary travelers would disembark from coaches and saddle horses, to be met by eager innkeepers with glasses of wine
or sherry covered with a slice of bread. In the Spanish language, this covering referred to as a tapas, from the
verb tapar, ‘to cover.’ This ‘tapas’ kept insects, dust and unsavory debris from settling into the wine and also
served to whet the appetite of the hungry travelers. From this simple beginning the tapa evolved. A slice of Serrano ham,
a bit of Manchego cheese with marinated olives, were added as toppings, as enterprising innkeepers vied to attract
the travelers interest ~ and money ~ by offering inventive and luscious dishes that induced yet another glass of wine…
Tapas today are small, delectable portions of food, served individually, or in groups as a custom designed meal. The use of lean, grilled meats and fresh seafood, vegetables, olive oil and that wonderful flower of flavor ~ garlic ~ ensure not only a heavenly taste experience, but also a light, healthy fare. They can be enjoyed sparingly by the dainty eater and in more abundant assortments for hearty diners. They are traditionally enjoyed with beer, wine, sangria, or the quintessential Spanish drink ~ Sherry. The enjoyment of tapas is a way of life for the Spanish casual dining in an unhurried atmosphere where spirited conversations flourish and are shared among family, friends and new acquaintances.
Anytime friends gather is a time for tapas!