Written by Joseph Parish
Tapas Hopping in SpainHaving resided in the stunning and gracious country of Spain for about eight years, I developed a sense of awareness for both the people of the country as well as their cultural dishes. Without a doubt, I found that Spanish cookery was amongst the most superb in the world.
Even though the restaurant cuisine is untouchable from a culinary viewpoint one of my preferred diversion was to travel from bar to bar sampling the assorted tapas which they so generously make available. To those unfamiliar with tapas, they are modest food samples that the bars in Spain afford to their drinking customers.
It is not abnormal to enter a neighborhood bar and order a glass of wine or one of the local beers only to have the bartender bring you a small saucer with food upon it. These little dishes are merely a sample of what you could order in larger quantities.
You may accept a sampling of rabbit, pickled octopus, fried squid or possibly a taste of their more exotic foods such as wild boar or even small sparrows. The tapas served in Spain are analogous to our fashionable hors d'oeuvres.
To go Tapa hopping in Spain is to travel from bar to bar with friends in tow sampling some sort of exceptional and highly delicious fare in each of the bars. A quick rule of thumb in tapas hopping is never eat before going out.
The theory behind tapas as I have been told is that in early years of Spain, there was a custom whereas if the barman served a customer his glass of wine the glass would be covered with a piece of oven baked bread and a small slice of pork.
To fully comprehend and appreciate tapas as well as the culture that centers around them you must certainly try them. To try them you have to visit the assorted bars and taverns of Spain. Keep in mind that bars in Spain are not equivalent to those found in America, as in Spain a bar is a social meeting place. Complete families including the children generally go to the bars where they meet and converse with friends or other family members. Many of the bars have dirt floors where small paper napkins or leftover food would be tossed onto it. At the end of the evening and sometimes in between the proprietor would sweep this rubbish up and place it in the trash.
The bars in Spain take great pride in the tapas that they serve, in fact some of them will even conceive personal variations of tapas for their own bar. Some will specialize in certain types of tapas such as pork or seafood only.
Although the types of tapas could produce an nonstop list there are particular ones that have earned a specific reputation such as papas bravas, tortilla de patatas, blue fish, octopus, peppers as well as a variety of cold dishes like olives. You could very well encounter fish dishes like anchovies or small squid. Let us not forget the superb Spanish bread with the tasty cheeses offered with it. Spain offers bar hoping at its finest so be sure to check it out on your next visit there.