Tapas bar crawl in any Spanish town will satisfy any traveler’s desire in adventure and hunger.
It’s all part of the ‘Spain experience’, sharing both food and chatter, with many welcomes from locals and smiles combined.
Many describe ‘Tapas’ as what Spain is all about. Standing whilst eating and drinking is a foreign concept to many, and loud bars, taverns and restaurants filled with loud people is different and exciting too.
Tapas are those irresistible delicacies that are usually displayed behind glass at the bar, and which in Spain are either an introduction to the main meal or often a substitute for it.
Eaten hot or cold, served plain or with a flair of fancy — tapas can be as simple as a bowl of olives or more hearty, such as slices of Ibérico ham or traditional braised chorizo sausage in red wine sauce.
If you walk into a local tavern or ‘meson’ (name for tapas and wine bars), you are likely to get the assortment of tapas of the day written on a chalk board, often three of four dozen tapas.
Today tapas has become also a huge tourist attraction and tapas bar have adapted to serve a bit of everything. However, back in the day, tapas bars used to specialize in either seafood and fish, ham or certain types of sausage, vegetales and/or braised dishes… Tapas are usually served in a ‘cazuelita’, a ceramic small glazed dish. ‘Montaditos’ are tapas with bread, be it croutons or slices of bread and ‘pinchos’ are skewers or kebabs, but never really presented as such (not skewered).
It is certain that in Spain if you go bar and tapas hopping, a very traditional custom, it is not as easy as one might think to “get drunk” as you are constantly filling your belly and absorbing the alcohol.
It’s somewhat an actual ritual to go for tapas, hopping from bar to bar (or not), eating and drinking (delicious Spanish wines, that is) and chatting the lunch, afternoon or evening away…Often served with a glass of wine from the region or a glass of sherry. Today, however, it very usual to have a ‘caña’ (draft beer) with ‘tapeo’ (tapas).
Where to enjoy them
It is sure that every town, city, village in Spain has some form of bar that serves tapas — it’s a must! Seville (located in Andalucia)is still today considered the capital of tapas, but Madrid and other northern cities have caught up. Many bars in other Andalusian cities such as Granada, Córdoba, Cádiz have their own specialties in tapas. In the last decades, tapas culture, of origin Andalucia, has spread throughout the country. In Andalucia it is still custom to serve guests with a complementary tapa with every glass of wine, sherry or beer — some only give with the first glass.