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  • Guy Swinnerton

All about ... TAPAS!



There are numerous different accounts of how Tapas originated and where in Spain they come from. The word Tapa, translated to Spanish means ‘lid’, this may give us some clues as to the true origins of the delicious food. It’s important to know that traditionally, Tapas are eaten whist standing in Bars and served alongside a glass of Wine or Beer.


The first story about the origin of Tapas claims that, back in the 13th century, King Alfonso X of Castille was recovering from an illness and was only able to eat and drink small amounts. He found that eating small bites of food, whilst drinking wine, prevented him from becoming drunk.

His Majesty thought this was marvellous and, on his recovery, decreed that all drinks should be served with a small snack to prevent public drunkenness.



Another story states that his much later 19th-century namesake, Alfonso XIII, once ordered wine in a popular tavern in the Spanish city of Cadiz. Since Cadiz is almost as windy and dusty, the bartender kindly served it with a slice of ham on top of the glass to keep the sand out.

The king enjoyed his wine and ham so much, he ordered the same again and, as is often the way with kings, in doing so started a Tapas trend.


Other origin stories are more humble. According to some, tapas began at a farmers’ bar in Seville where the bartenders would serve beer or sherry with a saucer on top to keep the flies out.

Then they realised that they could use the saucer to serve some ham, olives, cheese or fried bite sized food. The clever move made customers come back, thanks to the bar’s apparent generosity.

Nowadays, in Spain the customs surrounding the eating of tapas vary greatly between regions, and you would have a very different experience eating tapas in Barcelona than you would in Granada.

However, one thing that most people can agree on is that tapas usually refers to a small portion of food. In fact, size is one of the principle ways to define if something is, or is not a Tapa.

Whatever the exact origins of tapas are, it is hard to imagine that the creators could have guessed the popularity the custom would enjoy all over the world for centuries to come. Today, tapas style restaurants are growing in popularity across the world and continue to be one of the most-loved culinary customs.


HOLA Catering was born after spending countless nights inside the Tapas Bars in the old town of San Sebastian. The experience of socialising with friends whilst enjoying delicious, bite sized portions of food and drinking amazing Spanish wine was something the Sydney food scene was missing.


Guy's favourite Tapas Bar in San Sebastian, Spain


Book HOLA Catering today to cater your Wedding, Party, Corporate Function or Event. We specialise in Tapas, having the widest range and variety, plus the best value for money of all of our competitors.


Check out our website www.holacateringsydney.com or call Guy 0418207244 to book today!

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