Tapas, Tapas, and More Tapas!

What is a Tapa?

Spain is know for their food and wine culture. An instrumental part of that culture is “tapas”. Tapas are a traditionally Spanish way of eating. This way of eating consists of small plates of food made to share. At any given tapas restaurant, it is typical to order three or four tapas to share between two people.

My first week in Spain, I lived off of tapas. As I awaited my grocery stipend to come in, my roommates and I investigated some local tapas bars. We exposed ourselves to a major piece of Spanish culture and we were not disappointed. Going out with multiple people allows you all to order a couple of dishes and everyone can try a little of everything. It’s a great way to dine while trying a variety of foods. Tapas are a different concept to me coming from the United States where it is typical to order one dish per person in larger portion sizes.

What Kind of Tapas are There?

One popular tapa is “patatas bravas”. This dish consists of fried potatoes with “bravas” sauce on top which is comparable to a spicy aioli. This is what I would consider to be the Spanish version of french fries, but so much better! Patatas bravas is easily one of my favorite tapas.

Another typical tapa is croquettes. These are small fried balls of various fillings. Most start with a potato and cheese base and are filled with other ingredients. I have tried ham and cheese croquettes, mushroom croquettes, and spinach croquettes. These are an inexpensive and delicious tapa. They are best fresh, but are also available to buy at supermarkets to take home to cook and eat.

A staple at any tapas bar in Barcelona is pan con tomate – one of the most simple but tastiest tapas. The dish consists of hearty bread doused in olive oil and rubbed with a garlic clove. Finally, the bread is then rubbed with a tomato (or sometimes grated tomato). My friends and I would usually order pan con tomate along with a meat and cheese board featuring manchego and local Iberico ham.

In summary, there are so many other delicious tapas and I cannot wait to try them all. I am thankful to experience Spanish culture through food and I hope to learn how to make some of these classic dishes at home.

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Published by ariannacinque

Class of 2023 Communication Major, Business Minor IES Barcelona, Spain

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