First of all, let’s find out the true meaning of the word itself: tapa. In Spanish, this means a cover, a lid. Evidently the whole story begins from the need of covering something. In the Middle Ages, in the old taverns, they used to cover the glass of wine to stop any flies getting inside. This tapa (cover) used to be made of wood, or could even be a piece of cloth. As time went by, the wood cover was gradually replaced by a slice of ham or cured cheese, with the same purpose of avoiding flies.
There is, however, a big number of medieval stories and legends that tell how the tapas were created. Such as for example, the one that tells that the Spanish King Alfonso X, in the 13th century, once he was very ill and the doctors prescribed that he should take little wine tumblers, that he accompanied by small portions of food to avoid the effects of alcohol. When he got well, he set a new law for “tapas”: every tavern in Castille should serve a small portion of food every time alcohol was served, just to avoid the wine going to their heads and also avoid the danger of tavern fights.
But, from those simple tapas just to cover the glass, now tapas have evolved so much in most of Spanish bars. From delicious meatballs in homemade sauce, to a juicy potato omelette or some nice fresh bread with olive oil and a slice of cured ham… Authentic Spanish cuisine, in little portions so that you can taste all of them!
Join us in any of our Tapas Tour, and find out more about the art of going out for Tapas.