Tapas are a type of aperitivo, or appetiser, usually eaten with beer, wine or cider. They can be cold, hot, served on toast, or in clay pots, and many establishments have house specialities. Although they are meant to whet the appetite before lunch or in the late afternoon, if you end up eating lots they can substitute a meal.
There are various myths surrounding the origin of the tapa: from that in the seventeenth century King Alfonso X asked to be served small portions of food to accompany wine to that it was once customary to serve a drink tapada, or covered, with bread and cured meats so insects would not fall in. Whatever the truth may be, the tapa has won us over. Ultimately, the most important thing when going out for tapas is to enjoy the food, the company and, of course, life itself. And that you ask things like, ‘Where can I get the best croquetas in the city?, that you invite someone out for cañas, that you make friends…and that your mouth waters.
More about the 20 recommended and highly popular Spanish tapas in the August edition of Polo Luxury & Country Life Magazine