What is Tapas anyway?
Is Tapas just for the Spanish, or does it mean you’re obliged to share the dish with your friends? We investigate its origins and what all the fuss is about.
Where did Tapas originate?
If you didn’t know already, Tapas are plates of food to be enjoyed whilst indulging in wine or other beverages. It is derived from the word ‘tapar’ which in Spanish and Portuguese means ‘to cover’ as initially the dish served was used to cover drinks and stop the flies joining in the beverage. Other stories talk about a Spanish king a long time ago who supposedly decreed tapas to be ‘a thing’ as he believed he was cured from a bout of illness by eating only these small Tapas dishes whilst washing them down with wine (not a bad remedy). Others say it was a means to stop peasants drinking on an empty stomach. Either way, now we get to enjoy rituals of Tapas as they have well and truly crossed borders and made their way into our world food culture.
Classic Examples of Tapas
With so many beautiful Spanish coastlines it isn’t surprising that seafood features heavily in their creations. Many different versions of dishes utilising octopus, fish, and prawns are a go-to for many, though I’m sure many of us non-Spanish speakers who have traveled to that part of the world went with the much more identifiable options such as papas bravas or tortilla de patatas. The great thing is for those adventurous ones among us, if you don’t like the taste, there are always plenty of other options to try.
The Secret to Good Tapas
The truth is, it’s not really a secret. Simplicity is the key. Fresh ingredients and a little preparation are all you need. Olives such as the Arbequina olives served on the rooftop are a great example. A simple marinade, some chili, thyme and citrus and they’re done. Even the Asian glazed king salmon skewers, a quick brush of sauce, a few minutes in the pan and a light salad and it’s ready to share. The final test though is a simple question – does it taste good?
And Now, Let’s Eat.
On the menu at Sixteen Antlers are a number of simple and expertly composed dishes that are constantly updated throughout the year. Definite favourites include the basil pesto & bocconcini arancini balls and the charcuterie boards – if you haven’t seen the photos on Instagram of these yet, you’re not trying very hard, they’re hard to go past.
Ask your bartender what their favourite dishes are next time you’re up on the rooftop, grab some drinks, and toast to a Spanish king who helped bring this wonderful culture of food, drink and friendship to the world. Salud!
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