Tapas bars are a very common sight here in Fuerteventura and are always a hive of activity. They are not just about eating delicious food, but also a place where people meet up and socialise. But are they actually Canarian?
Eating tapas can take hours and you will often see people sitting around enjoying each other’s company over a few drinks, while the waiters bring out copious amounts of small plates that everybody shares. Tapas are a great way to try lots of different dishes and many of them are made from traditional recipes that have been handed down through the generations.
THE HISTORY OF TAPAS
The word “tapas” is derived from the Spanish verb tapar which means “to cover” and this relates to the history that surrounds their creation. The origin of tapas is believed to come from Andalusia in mainland Spain, in particular the taverns that served their world famous sherry. Fruit flies were attracted to the sweet aroma of the sherry and so a slice of bread was placed over the top of the glass to prevent them from getting in. It would be lifted each time the person wanted a sip and then replaced again, like a lid or cover. Bar tenders soon realised that using salted ham or chorizo instead of bread made their patrons drink more and so they began to get inventive. They created a variety of small snacks that would accompany the sherry and it was not long before the tapas became just as important as selling the sherry was.
EVOLUTION OF TAPAS
The tapas that we now eat have evolved through Spanish history as different cultures invaded and bought their own tastes and ingredients with them. The Romans invaded and introduced olives and a few centuries later the Moors arrived with almonds, citrus fruits and fragrant spices. Then, thanks to the advancements in ocean travel, potatoes, peppers, corn, chilli peppers and peppers were introduced from the New World. All of these foods are still grown in abundance and have found their way into the kitchens of the tapas bars, as well as other local products including fresh fish and seafood from the ocean, local meats, sausages, hams and cheeses from the farms and wild game such as rabbit.
SPEAKING SPANGLISH – IN THE TAPAS BAR
The quickest way to pick up a language is to mix with the locals. Food and drink has always bought people together, so here are a few common words and phrases to get you started. Why not visit a local tapas bar and give it a go! You never know, you may surprise yourself!
¿Qué me recomienda? – What do you recommend?
¿Puede darme…? Can you bring me…?
¿Cuál es la comida típica de las canarias? – What is typical Canarian food?
Quisiera… – I would like…
Camarero (a) – Waiter (Waitress)
Quisiera hacer una reserva para dos personas – I would like to make a reservation for 2 people
¿Me puede dar un poco de…? – May I have some…?
Una tapa de… – A tapa of… / Media ración – Half portion / Ración – Full portion
La cuenta, por favor – Can I have the bill, please
Tengo alergia a… – I am allergic to…
Soy vegetariano (a) – I am vegetarian
Propina – Tip
Albóndigas – Meatballs
Gambas – Prawns
Jamón – Ham
Tortilla de patata – Spanish omelette
Chorizo – Spicy meat sausage
Calamares – Calamari
Pulpo – Octopus
Papas arrugadas – Canarian potatoes
Patatas bravas – Potatoes with spicy sauce
Agua sin gas/con gas – Still/sparkling water
Cerveza – Beer / Caña – Small beer / Jarra – Large Beer
Café (con leche) – Coffee (White)
Vino – Wine
Refresco – Soft drink
Con/sin hielo – With/without ice
Mesa – Table
Silla – Chair
Chuchillo – Knife
Cuchara – Spoon
Pan – Bread
Aceite de oliva – Olive oil
Sal y Pimienta – Salt &Pepper