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Friday, January 21, 2011 (read 1217 times)

Anyone for tapas?

by Amy Lambert

Having been in Spain for a few weeks now, I’ve had to the chance to try some national cuisine, in the form of tapas, or pinchos, as they are commonly known. Going out for tapas is an important part of Spanish culture and lifestyle as it combines two of the nation’s favourite interests: food and socialising. Tapas are essentially small snacks that the Spanish have with their drinks in bars, and typically consist of many different items, including bread, ham, cheese, tortillas, other cold and hot meats, seafood and potatoes, along with a variety of seasonings and condiments.

As a non-native confronted by a selection of foreign delights, I’ve often had to ask the question "¿Qué lleva?" i.e. "What’s in it?" before I order. So here’s a quick rundown of some typical things you might come across, and what they actually are!

Tortilla: A very typical Spanish dish made with eggs, potatoes and onions. Other ingredients can be added for variety and you may also find them with a layer of filling.

Croquetas: A mix of mashed potato and often other ingredients, including meats and cheese, rolled in breadcrumbs and fried.

Gazpacho: A traditional cold soup made with tomatoes, onions, peppers, cucumber and garlic.

Pan con jamón: A simple dish of bread with ham, which comes in many varieties.

Pan con queso: Bread with cheese.

Patatas bravas: Mashed potato with tomato, seasoning and chilli.

Chorizo: Traditional Spanish sausage, usually sliced.

Lomo: Sliced pork, considered one of the best parts of the meat and sometimes eaten in a sandwich or with a sauce.

Bacalao: The Spanish word for salt cod, this has a delicate taste and is often served in batter.

Costillas. Pork ribs.

Sometimes, however the contents can be surprising! Especially when it comes to pork, the nation’s most popular meat, the Spanish don’t let any part of the animal go to waste, meaning that many tapas bars will offer tongue, tail and more. For the more adventurous among you, why not try these delicacies on your next visit to Spain:

Morro: Meat from the pig’s face.

Jeta: Also the face, but fried to give it a tougher chewier texture.

Oreja: Pig’s ear.

Rabo de toro: Bull’s tail.

Callos: Tripe, sometimes served with a tomato sauce.

Morcilla: Black pudding, or ‘blood sausage’.

Lengua: Tongue.

Obviously it goes without saying that this is all washed down with a good vino tinto (red wine) or a caña (a small beer), and it’s perfect for when you get a little bit peckish in the evenings. ¡Que aproveche!

Photo by: Duul58

Keywords: spain, tapas, pinchos, food


1 » Jim (on Friday, January 21, 2011) said:

Gazpacho doesn't have onion in it.

2 » adrián (on Friday, January 21, 2011) said:

Sorry Jim, but gazpacho has onions

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