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The word “tapas” is derived from the Spanish verb “tapar”, which means “to cover”. Simple enough wouldn’t you agree? But as with all good stories, there is more that one version doing the “rounds”.
One legend is that King Alfonso X, or Alfonso the Wise, recovered from an illness by drinking his wine and having small dishes in between. After regaining his health, the king ordered that taverns were not allowed to serve wine to customers unless the beverage was accompanied by a small snack or a tapa.
A couple of deaths in the family later and King Alfonso the XII stopped by a famous Inn in the Andalusian city of Cadiz. He ordered a cup of sherry from the waiter whom brought the cup with a slice of cured ham covering the top. This, the waiter explained, was to protect the wine from beach sand, as Cadiz is a windy place you know. The king, after drinking the wine and eating the ham, ordered another sherry “with the cover”.
But the most popular story tells us that original tapas were slices of meat or bread which sherry drinkers used to cover their glasses with so that fruit flies would not land in the glasses. Because of this, various bartenders and owners began creating a variety of snacks to offer with their sherry and a rivalry started to see who could attract the most patrons with their tapas.
Whatever the true origin of tapas was, the most important thing to remember is that one must enjoy them like the Spanish do – with a glass of wine or maybe a pitcher of beer! But, whichever way you enjoy it, enjoy it with ATTITUDE!!
Other: Seafood, Mediterranean, Vegetarian, Spanish
Thesen Harbour Town
Knysna, Garden Route
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