The Belazu Ingredient Company spend their time travelling around the Mediterranean basin seeking to bring the best ingredients to the UK.
Throughout the year we take part in foodie festivals and events, where we often showcase our ingredients with a variety of bespoke Tapas dishes.
Tapas, which are appetizers that are commonly served with alcohol, are a Spanish phenomenon that have filtered into dining culture around the globe.
Here’s an insight into the history of Tapas, where you can eat them and what they generically consist of.
The origin of Tapas isn’t exactly clear, however there are several myths surrounding the provenance of the eating style which we are familiar with today.
For instance, one story dates back to the 13th Century. King Alfonso X of Castille found that, while he was recuperating from an illness, he could only tolerate food and drink in small amounts. He eventually recovered but by then, his majesty had taken to the miniature eating style and decided that all drinks should be served with small snacks.
Another anecdote from the 19th century claims that King Alfonso XIII ordered wine in a popular but windy, sandy tavern in Cadiz. Supposedly, the bartender placed a slice of cheese on top of the King’s glass of wine to ensure no sand got in. The King ate the cheese and requested a repeat order on all his following visits. Thus, a trend was set.
Alternatively, some theorize that because tapas bars used to be standing-only affairs, people who ordered snacks were forced to place them on the top of their plates as there was no room elsewhere.
Some people think that tavern keepers were sneakily attempting to disguise their cheap wine by covering it up with plate of strong cheese.
Where to find them
Although Tapas originate in Spain, you can now find the food form, or interpretations of it, elsewhere in the world.
Western destinations such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Ireland all commonly offer a version of Tapas.
‘Cantinas boteneras’ are the Mexican version of tapas and they say that in Mexico, provided the patron is still ordering drinks, ‘botanas’ meaning snacks keep coming.
In Argentina, cold dishes such as olives, ham, salami and cheese go by the name ‘picada’.
Alcoholic drinks in Brazil are often accompanied by ‘tira-gostas’.
Small dishes named Cicchetti are served in Venice.
Even Asia are making the most of Tapas style dining, where in Korea drinking establishments serve cold dishes like, meat, seafood and vegetables.
Meanwhile in Japan, ‘izakaya’ is the name given to a place which serves food alongside drink.
The idea of Tapas is that the salty snacks make customers thirstier and therefore encourages them to order more drinks. No wonder the concept has caught on!
There are a huge variety of dishes which fall into the Tapas category, however there are a handful of distinctive plates which are at the heart of the cuisine.
Garlic Prawns, are infused with the flavors of garlic, olive oil and chilli.
Croquettes usually consist of mashed potato and variants of ground meat or fish. The delicacy has a bread crumb, deep fried coating.
Spanish Omelette, is made with eggs and potatoes, fried in oil and often served cold.
Find us at Thame Food Festival on the 30th September and 1st October to give our Tapas a try.