From friends or bloggers who have been to Barcelona, you might have heard of the famous city’s delectable tapas. Indeed, tapas is only one of many influential things that have been associated with Barcelona—and in a much larger context, Spain. But did you know that this dish was literally fit for a king? Richard Odale of The Daily Meal travelled to Spain to find out why tapas are so important in their country:
Tapas have been an integral part of Spain’s social scene for almost 800 years. Tapas are typically eaten as a snack or an entire meal, and this custom of eating small bites promotes a healthy lifestyle.
The tradition started as medicinal advice. When King Alfonso X of Castile fell ill in the thirteenth century, his doctor suggested taking light snacks with a glass of wine at regular intervals throughout the day. Upon returning to full health, the King ordered by decree that every bar in the castle serve a morsel of food with every drink.
The custom is still prevalent throughout much of Spain, although these days bars generally offer olives or nuts — which contain healthy fats — and some bars provide a baguette slice with a topping (called “pintxos”).
Tuna, anchovies, and salmon are favored ingredients as they contain high amounts of omega-3 fats, which reduce the risk of heart disease.
For the uninitiated, tapas is the general name of a small dish with ingredients like nuts, olives and fish. Tapas are usually served while you’re standing up, but you’ll have to make yourself noticed by the kitchen staff for you to be served, and it is meant to be shared with your friends. In Barcelona alone, there are a lot of fantastic tapas bars, such as Ziryab, that you can visit.
Authentic tapas, especially if you flew all the way to Spain to find the best tapas in Barcelona, is actually beneficial to your health. Nutritionists recommend eating little amounts of the food to prevent your digestive system from being overworked while giving you enough energy to face the day. The healthy servings of the ingredients can help reduce the fatty acids in the bloodstream.
So, amigos y amigas, if you’re planning on a European travel soon, don’t miss the chance to try Spain’s muy delicioso tapas en Barcelona. Tapas are not only appetizing, but they can also be energy-giving. Think about it, you’re eating a dish favored so highly by a Spanish king that he decreed to have them served in every bar in the castle!
(Source: Spain: The Health Aspects of Tapas, The Daily Meal, October 24, 2014)