If you have ever heard of Spanish food or have been visiting the country, you have more than likely heard the expression “irse de tapas” or “comer de tapas”, but do you know exactly what Spanish tapas are or which ones are the most appropriate to order in each region?
Don’t worry because we are going to give you a hand with it. Tapas, or pinchos, are an indispensable part of Spanish culture and take advantage of the most characteristic products of each place to offer small individual portions or dishes to share.
And that is one of the keys. Take note because we are just getting started.
Spanish tapas, a way of sharing
If there is something characteristic that serves as the hallmark of Spanish tapas, it is the way they are served. Most commonly, a group of people order something to drink at a bar and, after serving the drinks, the waiter brings a plate that includes tapas for everyone.
It can be croquettes, Spanish omelette, empanada, octopus, calamari, mussels or very elaborate pinchos. The list is almost infinite and depends a lot on the region we are in and also on the specific establishment.
Eating tapas, whether at lunchtime or in the evening, is a deeply rooted custom among Spaniards, especially when the weather is good between the end of spring and the beginning of autumn.
Local products of the highest quality shine especially bright among Spanish tapas. Thus, olives prepared in various ways, mussels, black pudding, cured meats and sausages, anchovies or different types of cured, semi-cured and fresh cheeses, fill the offer of bars, taverns and restaurants from the Cantabrian Sea to the Mediterranean.
What tapas can be ordered in each area in Spain?
There are some tapas that could be considered common throughout the country. Croquettes, Spanish omelet, olives, ham or cheese are the most common and already give a good sample of the typical tapas.
However, depending on where you are or what area you feel like visiting, it is much more advisable to ask or order some tapas.
Galicia and northern Spain
Galicia is an area with a very characteristic gastronomy that is not repeated in the rest of the country due to the fact that it combines more than 1200 kilometers of coastline with inland mountain areas. This makes that among its favorite tapas we can find sea products such as octopus or scallops, but also land products such as Padrón peppers.
In Asturias, meat products such as chorizo in cider are combined with spicy mussels and, in Cantabria, squid rabas with anchovies and chorizo.
The Basque Country and Navarre are areas where tapas take on a unique dimension and become “pintxos” where stuffed peppers, piparras, tiger mussels or squid in its ink come into play.
La Rioja is a completely inland area and even its tapas reflect this situation through hearty dishes that can even be eaten with a spoon, such as Rioja-style potatoes. In addition, the chorizo sausages in red wine prove that it is one of the most important designations of origin in the world.
Finally, in Aragon, cod meatballs and Teruel ham are in great demand, and in Catalonia “pa amb tomaquet” is almost a religion.
Castilla y León is an area of large livestock extensions, hence its tapas are aimed at Burgos black pudding or torreznos.
Madrid is another of those regions in which Spanish tapas can be enjoyed at any time and place. The most popular and typical are patatas bravas and gambas al ajillo.
In Castilla la Mancha, vegetables are used to prepare ratatouille and pork or small game meat to prepare morteruelo.
In Extremadura the king of its gastronomy is the Iberian pig and that is why the most appreciated tapa is the ham and also the migas extremeñas.
Southern Spain: Andalusia, Valencia and Murcia
In Valencia there is a predilection for salted fish such as sardines, cod or tuna mojama. Mixed with garlic and red bell pepper from the area, the esgarrat is prepared, a tapa that leaves no one indifferent because of its flavor.
In Murcia, local products are also used, combining dried beans with chorizo and ham to prepare michirones.
In Andalusia you can enjoy the Spanish tapas food thanks to “pescaítos fritos“, “carne mechada” or “pinchitos”, small sticks in which different pickles are usually grouped.
El Nogal Wellness nuts, supplier of quality nuts
Of course, in all Spanish gastronomy and also among the typical tapas, a wide variety of nuts are included, either to be enjoyed alone or to be used as an accompaniment to different dishes. Marcona or Valencia almonds, Spanish walnuts, peanuts or hazelnuts are served as tapas in bars and restaurants. El Nogal Wellness Nuts offers solutions that adapt to the needs of any business in the sector (restaurants, supermarkets, gourmet establishments…). If you want to discover our top quality products, do not hesitate, contact us and download our catalog.