If you’re planning on taking a trip to Spain, then Oskar Gomez, owner of Pasa Tapas restaurante Barcelona, has some valuable tips to help you do tapas just like the locals!
It is impossible to visit Spain and not at least see a variety of tapas on display in bars and cafés. One has to try tapas when in Spain! And let’s be fair, the temptation to sample at least one or two of them from the display is almost impossible to resist!
No-one can be absolutely sure as to the origin of tapas. There are several legends as to its origin and each legend will have its passionate advocates. But the good news is that tapas has evolved over the centuries and although tapas remains simple fare, they can be a culinary delight and make perfect accompaniments when relaxing with a drink and some good company.
This is more in keeping with the Spanish tradition. Most non-Spanish people eat tapas as if it is a meal on a platter like Italian antipasti, but tapas is not meant to be eaten this way. Instead, Spanish people enjoy tapas say on a night out, where they will enjoy a tapas dish with a beer or a glass of wine in each bar they visit.
Indeed, Spanish people will rarely make tapas at home. And when Spanish people are eating out, the custom is to pop into a few bars beforehand to enjoy a drink and a tapa whilst making their way to the restaurant. This custom is known as “Tapeo” where one can enjoy good company, a pre-dinner drink and prepare the palate for the meal ahead.
You’ll find tapas on offer at various eateries. There’s a popular belief that tapas bars are replete with beautiful tiles in hues of red, yellow, green and blue; have wooden beams and oakwood barrels; where pictures of flamenco dancing and bullfighting adorn the walls and where hungry diners sit at mahogany tables illuminated by candles but this really isn’t the case!
You’ll find great tapas in much more modern establishments complete with designer furniture and bright lights and in small, simple little cafés and bars that have basic furnishings and are quite common, indeed, the best tapas bar in Barcelona that I visit regularly is just like this. And you’ll encounter people from all classes, from all ages including young children, whole families, groups of friends and couples in these lively establishments all enjoying the tapeo experience.
So when you next visit Spain, you’ll know how to do tapas just like the locals!