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Unravelling the Story of Tapas - The History and its Origin

Unravelling the Story of Tapas - The History and its Origin

26 Feb 18

 

We Caymanians are often found in the best Cayman restaurants savouring a morsel from our small plate of delicious food alongside our favourite wine. This fitting concept that has now become a deep-rooted habit among us, is popularly known as Tapas. It has gained a tremendous popularity and is also sometimes used as a substitute for full course meal.

 

Tapas and Wine

Tapas and Wine

 

This innovative concept has taken the world by storm but wait, how exactly did it come about? Does it originally belong to the Cayman Islands?

The answer is No! Even though it is enjoyed in many Grand Cayman restaurants, it did not originate in the Cayman Islands.

The History and Origin of Tapas

Tapas originated in Spain and according to the Royal Spanish Academy, it means: "A small portion of any food served to accompany a drink." Formerly, tapas were small plates of food served for free along with a drink you order. But this custom is no longer prevalent now.

Going in the flashback, the exact historical and cultural details of its origin are uncertain. However, the count of legendary tales encircling its existence is almost equal to the regions in Spain.

Fascinating Tales of Origin of Tapas

One of such tales dates back to the 13th century, in the times of King Alfonso X of Castile. It is said that the king once fell very ill and could eat and drink only in small amounts. This struck him as a marvellous idea and when he recovered fully, he enacted that all the drinks should be sipped along with the snacks, which gave rise to tapas.

Some of those other legendary tales on the origin of Tapas revolve around the kings, namely - King Alfonso XIII or King Fernando XVII, El Ventorrillo del Chato, and King Fernando VII. But all the stories of the above-stated kings followed a similar pattern:

After a voyage, the king entered a tavern where he was served his glass of wine, covered with a lid (known as tapadera) of a slice of bread or ham topped with cheese. This was basically to prevent the dust or bugs from penetrating into the glass. In spite of knowing this fact, the king ate the slice followed by his entire court and cherished it. After which, he asked for tapas everywhere he went.

 

Ancient Tapas Style of Serving Wine

Ancient Tapas Style of Serving Wine

 

This is just not it. Another story is less royal and points out to the farmers’ bar of Seville for pioneering the concept of tapas. The bartenders covered drinks with saucers to prevent flies from entering, which was later used for serving some complimentary food.

Coming back to the present, the problem of keeping away flies and dust prevails no longer and yet there has been a flourishing popularity of tapas. It has evolved with time and is cherished widely throughout the world.

The restaurants at the Seven Mile Beach are well-known for their delicious small plates and drinks. If fine dining in the Cayman Islands is what you are looking for, you might as well try tapas while revelling in the amusing folklores of its origin.