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.
Actually, I think I’ve already been doing that for years, but there’s no reason not to dedicate a whole day to it, and so we shall.
One of my favorite places to travel for food is Spain, and that’s is largely due to the fantastic culinary tradition of tapas (or pinchos, or pinxtos — er, 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.
If you haven’t had the pleasure of eating tapas in Spain, I highly encourage you to travel there immediately, but in leiu of a trip, there are many places around the world where you can enjoy tapas. We even make them at home, occasionally.
We recently had the opportunity to visit the Basque Market in Boise, Idaho, where Basque culture and cooking methods are being shared with the Boise community through catering, cooking classes, the Spanish products they sell in the store and the pintxos they serve. They even make a huge pan of paella every Wednesday and Friday on their patio.
You may have noticed that I used the word pintxos there, instead of tapas. I don’t think the Basque Market would mind that I’ve stretched tapas to include pinxtos and pinchos! Pintxos is the word used in the Basque region for these little snacks. The different is that Pintxos are typically served atop a slice of bread or other sturdy vessel and are pierced through with a toothpick – usually – not always. Don’t ask me to explain.
Of course, there are exceptions and variations, but pintxos are much more self-contained than tapas, which are often served in a round clay bowl. Tapas are served in restaurants and bars, oftentimes for free. You may receive two or three different tapas while ordering drinks at the bar. They are hoping to entice you to stay and drink more. That’s not always the case though, so don’t expect them to be free.
No matter how you say it, or what they look like, they are delicious. And the experience of eating tapas can also be one of the funnest things you do in Spain. Read about our pinchos crawl in Logrono, if you don’t believe me.
Here are some of the tasty pintxos we had at the Basque Market in Boise. If you’re ever in that are, stop by and check them out. They have a large selection of Spanish wines and ciders too.
Some More of My Favorite Tapas (with Recipes)
1. Patatas Bravas (my favorite tapas)
2. Pulpo a la Gallega
3. Champiñones al Ajillo
4. Tortilla Española
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, Spain-Holiday.com 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
Infographic by: Spain-Holiday.com