Tapas are the backbone of Spanish cuisine and one of the biggest trends in global cuisine of the last decade.
Strictly speaking, tapas refer to wide variety of appetizers, or snacks. Legend has it that King Alfonso X ordered Castilian bar owners not to serve alcohol unless it was accompanied by food in order to avoid drunkenness.
Today, tapas have evolved into a sophisticated art form in bars and restaurants across Spain. The serving of these small dishes (click on photo to enlarge and see slideshow) is designed to encourage and stimulate conversation, freeing people from the formality of a traditional full-course table meal.
The best way to enjoy tapas is to stand at the bar with a group of friends, share a few dishes, and wash them down with wine or beer. Afterwards, pick a new bar, a new spread of tapas, and repeat the process.
This practice – called “tapear” – reflects the laid-back, love-and-pleasure approach to life for which Spaniards are famously known.
Focal Journey (by Gustavo Espinola)