A Unique Tradition, The Spanish “Tapa”
Tapa stems from the word ‘Tapar’ which, when translated means ‘to cover’.
Legend has it that the History of “the tapa” was born when an illness besieged the Spanish King Alfonso the 10th. He had to take small bites of food with some wine between meals. Once recovered from the disease, the wise king ordered that in all inns of Castile’s land, wine was not to be served if not with something to eat. It was mandated to be considered convenient and wise in order to avoid the alcoholic disturbances in the body to the ones that drank the wine. And, further, those that hadn’t enough money to pay themselves should still have the “tapas”, mostly a regular and full of proteins appropriate meal.
Once the “botillerias” (“bottle-shops”) and “tabernas” (taverns) expanded to all of Spain, the wise Kings’ demand continued being implemented. And for that reason, the glass or jar of wine was served covered with a slice either of smoked ham or cheese, with two aims: first to avoid that insects or other impurities could fall into that jar and then for the guests to soak the alcohol they drunk with something solid, like King Alfonso had advised. That was the origin of “la tapa”, the word of such a rooted Spanish tradition, a solid food that covered the wineglass.
This tapa’s tradition was spread throughout all of Spain, even nowadays, and it has been adopted and disguised in other countries.
The story of the royal disease is one legendary historical accounting of the beginning of the “tapa”. Another theory is that the “tapa” first appeared because of the need of farmers and workers and other “trades” to take a small amount of food during their working time, that allowed them to continue the job until the main meal’s time.
This main meal, normally with lots of fat, made the internal organism so busy doing the digestion that a “siesta” had to be done for a couple of hours before going back to the fields or in the workshop. The longer the morning working hours took the less one had to do after the meal.
*** Good News ***
We will have a booth at the local International Food Festival!
We’re very excited about our new trade show booth and the great job that Steel Head Productions has done for us.
Come and check it out and try some of our great food.