Tapas is amongst the staple foods to try during your holidays in Spain. Being one of the most readily available dishes, tapas can be enjoyed day and night and on a multitude of occasions with the addition of an ice cold Cerveza or soft drink. Because not all tapas are created equal, those may differ throughout Spain by incorporating each region’s distinct produce and traditions. So before you embark on your next holidays in Spain here are 4 types of tapas to try in order to get a proper taste of each distinctive region and the tastes it has to offer.
Situated on the northern parts of Spain, the Basque province is blessed with great fish and seafood fresh from the Atlantic Ocean as well as succulent cattle, sheep and dairy produce raised and produced in the fertile Ebro valley. The dishes served are well refined and usually served in large portions with the traditional Pintxos taking centre stage. The Pintxo or ‘small spike’ usually consists of small, grilled bread slices topped with seafood such as salted cod (bacalao), hake, anchovies or vegetables such as stuffed peppers, tortilla de patatas or even croquettes. The name derives from the toothpicks used to fasten the ingredients to the bread and served along the traditional white wine ‘txikito’ or a pint of beer aka ‘zurito’. This dish serves as a distinct cultural element as its consumption is an important part of socialising in taverns, restaurants and bars across the region.
The tapas served in Catalonia are definitely exciting as they feature a variety of tasty sauces such as Allioli and Romesco, accompanied by aromatic herbs thus resembling French degree to a large extent. Although not a traditional dish of the region, tapas have been incorporated well and given a tasty twist which can be traced to the rich legacy of the Catalan cuisine. If you are a fan of seafood, the traditional Zarzuela fish soup is the perfect accompaniment to a white wine and along with toasted bread form a great dish to try overall. The palette of flavours of course cannot go without the complement of Butifarra spicy sausage and the upmarket delicacy Gambas al ajillo made with fresh shrimp flavoured with garlic and chili, served sizzling hot. A definite recommendation after trying it on our last holidays in Spain.
Valencia and Murcia
Home of the authentic Paella Valenciana along with a myriad other tasty dishes, the region of Valencia and Muria is perfect for culinary explorations! The traditionally served tapas include the all favourite patatas bravas which consists of freshly fried potatoes served with a spicy tomato or Allioli sauce, croquettes made with béchamel sauce and usually flavoured with bacon and Calamares a la Romana or battered and fried calamari rings.
Its long coastline provides plenty of fish and seafood which with the expertise of the local chefs turns into a magnificent variety of mouthwatering dishes. A small variety of locally fished octopus is battered and fried in order to form the flavourful Chopitos which are also known as Puntillitas. The well-known tortilla Española served throughout Spain takes its own twist with the addition of asparagus in the mixture of fried potatoes and onions formed into a delicious omelet style tapa, influenced by the Andalusian produce. A must-try during your holidays in Spain and especially in Andalusia, Pinchitos moruños or ‘moorish kebabs’ are small pork cubes marinated in a hearty and spicy mixture of oil, garlic, cumin, chili, coriander and turmeric and skewed and cooked to perfection over a charcoal grill.