There are very few things I enjoy as much or more than cooking, and traveling is certainly one of those activities. Traveling offers plenty of thrill & excitement while fulfilling that part of your brain that is full of curiosity. That’s in addition to plethora of knowledge one gains from the experience offered by their destination. I find this to be especially true for when one crosses the pond to visit any number of the pleasurable countries in Europe. Of the many cities I have found myself visiting over the years, Barcelona would probably top my list of most fascinating. Their long history and rich culture is imbedded in every aspect of their beautiful city. As a chef, I was naturally pulled towards their cuisine; everything from their Mercado De La Boqueria market, café sidewalk fooderies along La Rambla and their tasty tapas.
Tapas are small snacks traditionally eaten at a neighborhood bar or inn, with groups of friends after work. In Spanish culture, dinner isn’t usually served until much later at night than we are accustom to here in America. Sometimes this can be as late as 11 or 12 at night! Tapas were meant to be a small meal to hold over ones appetite until their much larger dinner later on in the night. These delicious snacks are usually served in a multitude of variations, with most bars or eateries carrying an average of ten to twelve assortments. These bite sized appetizers are made in the morning, and placed in glass display boxes on the counter in view of the customer; much like a pizzeria would display their slices for the day. Once ordered, the finishing touches are placed over them, whether it’s warming them back up or drizzling a touch of olive oil over top.
As with most traditions among cultures, there is many different variations to the folklore story behind the origins of tapas, and how they came to become so popular in Spain. Tapas translates to “top” or more directly “to cover” in English. One of these stories says that when people long ago were havin