Informality, variety and fine ingredients make for the best “tapas” party. A taste if Spain, good friends and lively conversation. What a privilege it is to have a good time surrounded by people you love. Tapa means literally a “cover” or “lid”. In Spain, it is customary to get together with friends and “ir de tapas” to go bar hopping sampling these little appetizers along the way. If you are curious about the custom, walk along the Rambla in Barcelona around 10pm on a Friday night…you can’t help being in a good mood, it’s contagious. These people know how to have fun, I tell you!
Tapas are small portions of food, usually served as an appetizer with a drink. There are different theories about the origin of tapas. Legend says that King Carlos III was concerned that his army was getting too drunk on an empty stomach, so he decreed that all drinks had to be served with an accompanying slice of bread and some nourishment. To simplify compliance, publicans simply slapped the bread on top of the glass of wine (hence the name of “tapa”) and added a slice of cold meat, cheese or chorizo. Salud!
Tapas are a perfect party food because they are designed to eat with your fingers (or a pick). The key is to keep it simple and use the absolute best ingredients. Manchego Cheese and Jabugo Ham are the most delicious tapas on the planet, and they are so simple to prepare. Slice, serve on a plate, done. Manzanilla olives, pickled onions, fried calamari. There are hundreds of ideas for simple tapas.
Here are some ideas by basicjuice for a tapas party paired (por supuesto) with a good Spanish wine.