There is no person , foreign or not, that once in her life , in Spain , has not heard about the “ tapas” . Everybody eats them , everybody knows what they are, but what were they born ? what’s its story ?
The “tapa” , with the today’s meaning , was born in modern times after the period of shortage caused during the Spanish civil war, although it is conceivable that ancient custom in Spain is to eat small bites with which eliminate hunger.
The “tapa” is evolving from a more basic appetizer to a particular way of understanding the culinary culture , as it is today. Set its origin in the Spanish culinary history is complicated, for having changed his concept after various periods.
It is quite possible that the “tapa” was born with the appearance of the bars that began to serve it as courtesy to customers and that, with its point of salt, incite the consumer . Popular culture sometimes is surrounded by stories about its origin which have a purely oral tradition.
A simpler popular version told that tapas tradition was born by the laborers’ need to eat something that would allow them to reach the noon lunch with strength to keep working , and that this need is best covered if they take a brief food accompanied with some wine. Early versions of the tapas , soon became something more elaborate and thus, they were gaining in quality and variety.
Another version of the origin of the creation of the term tapa, originates from a visit of King Alfonso XIII to the province of Cadiz , where he stopped with his entourage to take a sherry at an inn in the area, called ” Ventorrillo Chato ” ( still exists today) . While sitting on the deck, it suddenly rose the “levantera” ( very typical wind in the area ) , and the innkeeper , trying to keep out any dust or sand from the beach in the real glass , came as a solution putting up one slice of ham to cover (“tapar“) the glass . It seems that the action of thr innkeeper was very pleased to the king , as he ate the tapa and ordered another similar.
The tapas mix the concept of eating with the socializing one, and it is for this reason that the tapa is attached to the act of ‘ tapear ‘ . The bars , defined as meeting places, are the ideal space for the tapa. From this concept came out the verbs : ‘ tapear’ (to eat tapas) , ‘ ir de tapas ‘ (to go and walk to various bars ).
In Almería , Granada and Jaén is customary to add a free tapa with any drink , being some areas famous for its tapas and quantity, for example in the area of Calle Navas, next to City Hall in Granada .