Travels in Spain, The Origin of Tapas

According to one legend, the tapas tradition in Spain began when the King of Spain, Alfonso XIII, visited a tavern in the town of Ventorillo del Chato in the province of Cádiz, and ordered a glass of sherry.  On this particular day there was a gusty wind, so the innkeeper served him his glass of sherry covered by a slice of ham supposedly to prevent the sherry from getting dirty but more likely because he didn’t want to have his head cut off!

The King finished the sherry and ate the ham, and when he asked for a second glass, he requested another tapa or ‘cover’ just like the first.  This evolved into the practice of using slices of bread or meat as a practical measure meant to prevent fruit flies from hovering over the drink. The meat used to cover the sherry was normally ham or chorizo, which are both very salty and activate thirst and because of this, bartenders and bodega owners began creating a variety of snacks to serve with sherry but, more importantly, increasing their alcohol sales as a consequence.

There are alternative stories about the origin of tapas but so far this is my favourite.

 

26 responses to “Travels in Spain, The Origin of Tapas

  1. I think we need to know the other stories…

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  2. I like this version too.

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  3. It’s a good story, but, even if the drink remains fly free, doesn’t the meat tend to attract its own little band of admirers? Just a thought.

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  4. Oh, pretty plausible!

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  5. Fascinating. I hadn’t known the meaning of the word

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  6. I’ve heard a similar story of covering drinks 🙂 I just love tapas regardless!

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  7. Mine too, although I think the ham tapa might attract even more flies!

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  8. Tapas= covers is from Andalucia, very hot, lots of flies and so therefore the tapas; Just like flamenco and bullfights are from Andalucia.All spread out but not of all Spain…. as for the king well different legends have it on Alfonso XIII, Alfonso X the wise and even the Catholic kings (Isabel and Fernando)…..Enough for another book of Don Quijote part II ::)

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  9. But then, covering the drink with food to keep the fruit flies from the drink means that the flies now are hovering over and on the tapas. So I’m not sure that Alphonse would have been completely satisfied with the innkeeper’s solution. Off with his head!

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  10. A pint of lager with a packet of pork scratchings on top is not quite the same!

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  11. Sounds at least semi-plausible!

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  12. Reminded me of the sandwich, I’m now wondering how many ways /things have become part of the norm from incidents like these

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  13. I love the idea of getting a little snack with your drink. After fishing countless fruit flies of out my wine during the summer, putting a tapa on it makes sense.

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