A Brief History of Tapas - Bombabar

November 02, 2020 2 min read

We here at Bomba have been onboard the “Tapas train” since our humble beginnings back in 2013, as the years have passed the popularity of Tapas has continued to grow and rightfully so.

In honor of world Tapas day (15th June) and being Tapas experts that we are, we thought we would share some background on one of the famous gastronomic characteristics of Spain.


The Basics

As you likely know, Tapas are small plates of food that are served prior to or during a meal, often accompanied by (especially if you’re visiting Bomba) the best of Catalonian wine, cocktails or a beer.
Made up of Spanish snacks or savory finger food using all sorts of ingredients from fish to veggies to cured ham. The particular offerings in Tapas often vary from one Spanish town to another, with almost unlimited varieties available.


Origin Stories: There are various legends regarding the birth of Spanish Tapas, but here are the most famous ones:


The “Tapa” A.K.A The Lid

One legend says that King Alphonso XIII, during an official visit to the province of Cadiz, stopped in Ventorrillo El Chato (an inn between Cadiz and San Fernando). There, he asked for a glass of wine and the owner put a slice of ham on top of it.

His justification was that the ham was a “tapa” (cover) to prevent the sand from spoiling the wine, which was coming into the inn due to a strong wind. The King loved the idea, ate the ham and drank the wine, and asked for it to be served again in the same way. Those who were accompanying him did the same, and the “tapa” was born.

[caption id="attachment_1003" align="aligncenter" width="198"]Alfonso XIII Tapas Origins King Alfonso XIII[/caption]


The Wise & Sober- ish

Another legend regards King Alphonso X the Wise, who had to drink two glasses of wine due to an illness. In order to avoid getting drunk, he used to eat little portions of food to accompany the wine. He then decided that food had to be served with every glass of wine in every inn, as he is said to have egoistically said: “If I don’t get drunk, no one will get drunk either”.

Tapas Origins King Alfonso King Alfonso X of Castille

The Workers Tide Over

Lastly, farmers and peasants were said to eat small portions of food/ Tapas, usually accompanied by some wine, in order to preserve their strengths before lunch or dinner.
From that moment on, small portions of food have been accompanying thousands and thousands of glasses of wine, so that the wine wouldn’t be spoilt and people wouldn’t get drunk.

Regardless of its origins, Tapas is delicious and continues to be a staple of Spanish cuisine today. Whether you're new to Tapas or a veteran, Bomba's got you covered, check out our world Tapas day menu here.


Contact us here to book your next visit or pop in for workers lunch on Lonsdale St in the heart of the city.