This the second part of the “Spanish Tapas” blog. This time, we write about Spanish regions known for special tapas and the places where you can get the best treats.
Will I have problems if I want to try different “tapas” and I’m not in a popular destination?
Spain is the European country with the most bars per capita: a total of 280,000 establishments across the country. One bar for every 146 inhabitants. Andalusia alone, the second largest Spanish region by territory, situated in the south of the country, has as many bars as Denmark, Ireland, Finland, and Norway together.
Which is the favourite “tapa” for Spaniards?
The Spanish omelette is the most preferred tapa for the Spaniards, followed closely by the Spanish dry-cured ham. In a ranking prepared by a Spanish online newspaper, appeared other typical specialties such as croquettes, prawns with garlic, tomato bread (pa amb tomáquet), Russian salad, anchovies served in vinegar and olives beside Spanish cheese and meat.
Are you brave enough to try “criadillas” or “rabo de toro”?
As in other European countries, also in Spain visceral organs are often eaten and considered a delicacy. In this sense, Spain has “tapas” made of this type of food. It’s the case of the so-called “criadillas”, which refers to the testicles of a bull or sheep. For this “tapa” the testicles are first skinned, and soaked in cold water, then cut into thick slices and finally deep-fried in boiling oil. On top of the slice, a fried quail egg. You will find this “tapa” in the south of Spain, in Jaén, Andalusia.
The oxtail is also considered a delicacy in Spain. Since the 17th century, when bullfighting first took place in the south of the country, only families of bullfighters received this part of the animal because they knew how to clean and cook it. The oxtail was a trophy of sorts, that some bullfighters also cooked, and with which they boasted of being the best.
Where can I find the best tapas bars when I travel?
The best option is to ask the locals, or alternatively, at the Tourist Office on the spot. The tapas have become recently so popular that some locations, such as Valladolid and Burgos, have their own “tapas” routes and the “best tapa contests” in which residents choose the best one.
Are there only tapas bars or tapas restaurants?
The type of “tapas” bars, known abroad, do not exist as such in Spain. Many Spanish tapas bars also offer meals and menus with alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Usually, the “tapa” is served to whet your appetite with the only intention to make the customer consume more in the establishment. If you want to eat “tapas”, it is common to go to different bars, and not to sit but stand at the counter if you find a free place!
What is a “gastrobar”?
In a “gastrobar” you will find signature cuisine, also called “signature tapas”, tapas made by renowned Spanish chefs who come from the haute cuisine and create new, modern, exotic “tapas”. If you want to know the true culture of “tapas”, we recommend that you approach the traditional bars but, especially, being advised by someone in the area who can tell you where to go.