How to Celebrate World Tapas Day (+ recipes and infographic)

Basque Market pintxos
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Spain has designated the third Thursday of June to be World Tapas Day. That’s right! A whole day every year has finally been dedicated to one of my favorite culinary traditions. Now we can truly celebrate those delicious little appetizers and snacks made popular by the Spanish and enjoyed around the world, and give them the admiration they deserve.

One of my favorite places to travel for food is Spain, and that’s is largely due to the fantastic culinary tradition of tapas (like these in Madrid), or pinchos (like this pinchos crawl in Logrono), or pinxtos (like the ones available in San Sebastian). However you want to call them – we love them all!)

In case you don’t already know, tapas are small finger foods that are served in bars, usually between meals. The Spanish tend to eat their meals on the late side. They eat tapas as a sort of warm up to the main meal. All over Spain, you’ll find little dishes or little napkins lined up on the bar during certain times of the day. Mmm. Tapas.

⇒ Love Spanish food? Check out all the other dishes we love in Spain.

If you haven’t had the pleasure of eating tapas in Spain, I highly encourage you to travel there immediately. However, if you can’t get there in person, there are many ways to celebrate World Tapas Day around the world. You can even make them at home!

What is the Difference Between Pintxos and Tapas?

Of course, there are exceptions and also many variations, but in general, pintxos are served on a piece of bread or toothpick, like the ones featured below. They are the perfect finger food. When purchasing pintxos, you choose your favorites from what is available on the bar, then pay per pinxtos.

Pinchos in Spain
Pinchos in Spain

Tapas are served in some restaurants and bars for free when you order a drink. You may receive two or three different tapas while ordering drinks at the bar.  That’s not always the case though, so don’t expect them to always be free. They are often served in a clay pot and are just a small portion of a popular dish, like the gambas al ajillo dish pictured below.

Garlic shrimp
Garlic shrimp

Make Your Favorite Tapas at Home (includes recipes)

One of the funnest ways to celebrate World Tapas Day is to make a few of your favorite tapas at home. There are so many different styles and choices. The possibilities are endless. We suggest picking a few, inviting over some friends, and enjoying a little tapas celebration.

Below are recipes for some of our favorite (and most popular) tapas. Enjoy!

1. Patatas Bravas

Patatas bravas

1 onion finely chopped
1 clove of garlic also finely chopped
6 ripe tomatoes chopped – about 600g
1 teaspoon of sugar (optional)
3 dried chillis
1 or 2 teaspoon of hot paprika – depends on how spicy you like your food
1 level soup spoon of plain flour
approx. 200ml of water
1 teaspoon of sherry vinegar or wine vinegar
freshly ground black pepper

⇒ Get the full recipe here

2. Pulpo a la Gallega

Pulpo a la Gallega is served in olive oil with salt and paprika
Pulpo a la Gallega is served in olive oil with salt and paprika

1 octopus (3-4 lbs)
2-3 cups olive oil (enough to cover the octopus)
2 bay leaves
2 1-inch peels of orange or lemon
Paprika (to taste)
Salt (to taste)

⇒ See the full recipe with instructions here.

3. Champiñones al Ajillo

Pinchos in Spain
Pinchos in Spain

1/4 cup (2 fl. oz) olive oil
4 cups (8 oz) mushrooms, wiped clean and quartered
6 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons dry sherry
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon dried red chile, seeded and crumbled
1/4 teaspoon Spanish paprika
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons chopped parsley

⇒ See the full recipe with instructions here.

4. Tortilla Española (potato omelette)

Tortilla Espanole
Tortilla Espanole

1/2 pint of olive oil
5 medium (40 oz each) baking potatoes, peeled, sliced and lightly sprinkled with salt
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
5 eggs

⇒ See the full recipe with instructions here.

5. Gambas Pil Pil (prawns in garlic, chilli & olive oil)


1 kg medium sized uncooked prawns or shrimps
100ml olive oil
3 tablespoons of butter
3 garlic cloves, chopped roughly
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon of dried chilli flakes

⇒ See the full recipe with instructions here.

Avoid Food Sensitivities While Eating Tapas

I’m sure you’ve noticed the trend toward food sensitivities, if not in your own diet, perhaps in those of your friends, family or even travel partner. Not being able to eat certain foods definitely can make traveling for food a challenging feat.

In recognition of the high number of people suffering from food allergies, and to celebrate World Tapas Day organised for the second year running by the Spanish Tourist Board, has created a handy infographic of the Top 12 Classic Tapas with food sensitivity symbols on the side to help you know which tapas you can enjoy.

World Tapas Day

World Tapas DayInfographic by:

How to Celebrate World Tapas Day (+ recipes and infographic)

2 thoughts on “How to Celebrate World Tapas Day (+ recipes and infographic)

  1. Rhonda Albom says:

    Nicely done. I love tapas, but never really thought about making it myself – until today when you supplied all the recipes. Thanks! And great photos!

    • Laura Lynch says:

      I’m glad you appreciated that! I’ve tried to make a few of these at home and it’s always fun. Although I did mess up the octopus once, but that’s all part of the process of learning.

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