Tapas are a very popular way of eating in Spain and have been for generations. Tapas refer to a variety of small dishes akin to appetizers and are generally eaten communally amongst a group of friends. In Spain the philosophy tends to be, "Eat when you drink, Drink when you eat" so traditionally tapas are always served with wine and in fact, tapas were created just for that reason.
According to The Joy of Cooking, "The original tapas were the slices of bread or meat which sherry drinkers in Andalusian taverns used to cover their glasses between sips. This was a practical measure meant to prevent fruit flies from hovering over the sweet sherry. The meat used to cover the sherry was normally ham or chorizo, which are both very salty and activate thirst. Because of this, bartenders and restaurant owners began creating a variety of snacks to serve with sherry, thus increasing their alcohol sales. The tapas eventually became as important as the sherry." Very crafty indeed but today tapas are a popular option for any dinner party because they are quick to prepare, suit the tastes of many palettes and most importantly, they are delicious. Consider serving tapas at your next dinner party for a sure-to-be crowd pleaser.
Popular Tapas Include:
Prawn and Scallop Ceviche, Gambas al Ajillo which is a garlic shrimp dish, stuffed mussels known as Mejillones Rellenadas and all of these dishes pair wonderfully with a crisp dry Sauvignon Blanc. Two very popular meat tapas are Albondigas (Spanish Meatballs), or Empanadas and these both do well with a lovely aged Spanish Rioja.
Overall, throwing a tapas party is a great option for any host. Whether you want to keep it simple with just a few tapas and one wine or prefer to have an elaborate spread, a tapas party ensures plenty of variety.