The wonderful Spanish tapas philosophy

What are tapas?

Tapas can be a wide variety of appetizers, or snacks, in Spanish cuisine. They may be cold (such as mixed olives and cheese) or hot (such as chopitos, which are battered, fried baby squid). In select bars in Spain, tapas have evolved into an entire, sophisticated cuisine. In Spain, patrons of tapas can order much different tapas and combine them to make a full meal. In some Central American countries, such snacks are known as bocas. In Mexico, the vegetarian varieties of similar dishes are called “botanas.”

The serving of tapas is designed to encourage conversation because people are not so focused upon eating an entire meal that is set before them. Also, in some countries, it is customary for diners to stand and move about while eating tapas. Our lunch starts between 13:00 and 15:00 and nobody knows when it will end. We eat, without any hurry, two dishes, accompanied by bread, beer, wine or whatever, and after that, we take a dessert and a coffee, this last part of the meal is affronted with even calmer than the previous and it has a special name, “Sobremesa”. During the Sobre-mesa we talk while drinking coffee and it can last for a couple of hours. When it ends is the time to take a “siesta”.

Ir de tapas

Besides a traditional meal, meal that you can have at your’s /someone else’s house or in a restaurant, you can also “Ir de tapas”. When you go to a bar in Spain and you order a beer or another drink you usually get some food, that food that you get for free with your drink is called “tapa” and it can be anything edible. it’s size, quantity, quality, and the variety depends on the city and the specific bar where you are.

These tapas may be just some “patatas fritas” (chips) or “aceitunas” (olives); or they can be something very elaborate and big “tortilla de patata”, “alitas de pollo” (chicken wings)… So one of the best things a food-lover can do when coming to Spain is to find a local person to show him where the best bars and tapas are.

“Ir de tapas” is going to one bar, ordering one or a couple drinks with their respective tapas and after finishing (remember, without any hurry) head to the next bar. Don’t mistake “tapa” with “ración”. Raciones are like tapas (a variety of products such cheese, ham…), the difference is that they may be bigger, are usually to share between several persons and you have to pay for it. There are a lot of bars in Spain that try to get tourists selling “raciones” as tapas.

Ir de tapas” is going to one bar, ordering one or a couple drinks with their respective tapas and after finishing (remember, without any hurry) head to the next bar.

Difference between ración and tapa

Don’t mistake “tapa” with “ración”. Raciones are like tapas (a variety of products such cheese, ham…), the difference is that they may be bigger, are usually to share between several persons and you have to pay for it. There are a lot of bars in Spain that try to get tourists selling “raciones” as tapas.

So one of the best things a food-lover can do when coming to Spain is to find a local person to show him where the best bars and tapas are. “Ir de tapas” is going to one bar, ordering one or a couple drinks with their respective tapas and after finishing them (remember, without any hurry) head to the next bar. Don’t mistake “tapa” with “ración”. Raciones are like tapas (a variety of products such cheese, ham…), the difference is that they may be bigger, are usually to share between several persons and you have to pay for it. There are a lot of bars in Spain that try to get tourists selling “raciones” as tapas.

Raciones are like tapas (a variety of products such cheese, ham…), the difference is that they may be bigger, are usually to share between several persons and you have to pay for it. There are a lot of bars in Spain that try to get tourists selling “raciones” as tapas.

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