Tapas is one of the dishes that people think of when they think of Spanish cuisine. Tapas are appetizers that are essentially served together with a drink.
Its name comes from the Spanish verb tapar which means to cover and there are some stories about how this dish became what it is today. One says that the King Alfonso X needed to take some wine sips as a prescription to a disease he had and that he had to eat small dishes together with the wine between hours, to "cover" the effects of alcohol. When he got better he ordered that wine was not to be served without a small ration of food. Another story says that tapas were "created" to prevent flies or other insects to get into the wine glasses between sips.
Nowadays tapas are enjoyed and the variations of tapas dishes are endless, being some of the most popular or traditional: olives, calamares (squid rings), gambas either al ajillo or with salsa negra (prawns with garlic or peppercorn sauce), meat balls, serrano ham, manchego cheese, chorizo, croquetas (made of fish or chicken), patatas bravas (potato dices served with spicy tomato sauce) and tortilla española (Spanish omelette).
A little plate of tapas is called porción. If you want to have a bigger plate or if you want to have a tapas dinner then ask for a ración (big tapas plate) or a media ración (half a big tapas plate) if you're not that hungry but want more than a porción.
The ultimate Madrelian thing is the taberna: the typical pub/bar dating already from the medeaval area. Since the 14 th century the taberna is a phenonemon that is typically connected to the city of Madrid. These old bars are charestically decorated by decorative tiles on the wall depicting different cheesey images, the wooden counter from behind which food and drinks are being served, the grand clock above the bar, and the tables of the places are mostly made out of marble. Madrid has some 100 old tabarnas amongst which the following ones are the best known and the most striking. 1. Viva Madrid (in the near of Plza santa anna, its very popular amongst youth and students) 2. Casa Carmencita (originally a pub for artists, politici and itellectuals, it has a pleasant interior dominated by wooden decorations, tiles and gaslight) 3. La Bola (a red couloured pub, wich is about 200 years old and serves the best cocido in Madrid)
There is not such thing as the typical Madrelenian food: Madrid possesses restaurants who serve food that comes from all the different corners of the country, food from Andalusia, Valencia, Asturia, Castilia etc. Yet there are some very popular dishes. Normally your meal consist out of: soup or salad, the a fish/meat dish, followed by flan (pudding) or ice. The following dishes are highly recommemndable. 1. Paella (originall y the idea was that it is a dish containing all the leavings from other coocked dishes of the week. it contains therefore a variation of seafood, chicken, rabbit, pork,gamba's, mussels, beans, tomatoes and paprika. the paella always is served with rice) 2. Pisto (just like ratatouille, a mixture of paprika, tomatoes, onions, courgette) 3. Fabada (beans, bacon, sausage, ham) 4. Pollo Ajillo (baked chicken in white wine juice) 5. Sopa de Ajo (soup which is filled with bread, eggs and paprika) 6. Cocido (leek, cabbage, potatoes, turnip, carrot, sausage, chicken, ham) its very popular in Spain, yet the madrilean variant seems to be the best one. 7. Gazpacho (its a cold soup, a mixture of bread and cumcumber and tomatoes and olive oil.vedgetables and croutons) 8. Pimientos rellenos (hot red paprikas filled up with fish or meat)
One of the things that can be enjoyed in Madrid is pinchos and tapas. PINCHOS are normally a slice of bread with something(in the picture tortilla de patata with confited onion,mmmmmmmmmm), salmon and salad, gulas, foie with strawberry jam, iberian ham , duck with avocado........
... and TAPAS is a dish with, for instance, potatoes, octopus, cheese, scamble eggs with asparrags(esparragos trigueros), sepia, stuffed peppers, pimientos de padrón, albondigas(meat balls), croquetas....
Spectacular pinchos in:
Juana la Loca
Pl. Puerta de Moros 4
91 364 05 25
I remember eating churros first in my home town when I was a kid. Those days they sold them with sugar on top. Nowadays there's a place called Soleil where you can buy them with vanilla cream, apple, nutella, etc. fillings.
You might be wondering, what is "churros"? A churro is a pastry made of fried dough. This dough has flour, oil, sugar and salt. The dough is then mixed and squeezed out of a churrera, a syringe with a star-shaped nozzle (much like those used when putting the frost on cakes). You can also find them with fillings like those above.
In Spain they're traditionally eaten at breakfast with hot cocoa but they can be enjoyed at any time of the day.
Another sweet I grew up seeing my dad eating is turrón. I never liked it and IMO it's an acquired taste. A turrón is best explained as hard nougat mixed with toasted almonds, sugar, egg white and honey. Turrón is a seasonal sweet and it's consumed during Christmas, but I managed to find some at the tax free shop at Barajas airport in June, which I sent to my dad as Father's day present.
Mostly it is like this: if you order a glas of wine or beer (or a delicious glas of Mosto) you get tapas along with it. After these first appetizers you continue on having more tapas either being raciones (bigger tapas) or small portions. Eating tapas is not only having a bite going together with your drink, its more: its a way of life. Its a sort of cult that combines drinking, eating with a good conversation, cosy atmothshere and meeting new people. There are many sorts of tapas of which the following are the most popular and best known. 1. Patatas Bravas (baked potatoes in tomatoe juice with unions and spanish pepper) 2. Banderillas (little snacks sticked on a cocktailstick, like fish, shrimps, eggs or vetgetables) 3. Albondigas (meatballs in tomatoe sause) 4. Tortilla a la espnola (the thick omelet made by onions, potatoes, eggs and spices) 5. Jamon serrano (ham with bead) 6. Chorizo (a sausage whith paprika taste eaten cold) 7. Salpicon (a salade containing sea fruits like shrimps, lobster and tomatoes and paprika's very hot spices over it) 8. Calamares fritos (fried cuttle fish with lemon dressing) 9. Fritura de pescado (baked seafruits with lemon dressing: its mostly fresh fish or cod) 10. almendras fritas (pistachos, peanuts or sunflower pitts, all of them very very salty!)
As said before: comida (the meal) in Madrid has different rules. In case you want to join the habits of the locals be aware of the following. When you want to have a warm meal, go to the restaurant around 3 pm, and expect it to be open till max 4.30 pm. So if you arrive at 6 pm at a bar or restaurant dont be surprised that they are either closed or dont serve food. If you want dinner around 6 pm you have to go to the moore touristic restaurants which is of cuz less fun. At around 10 pm its dinner time again, either you make a reservation for the restaurants (the neighboarhood of Chuecca has many trendy and cheap restaurants) or visit some tapa's bars (La Latina is exactly the right place to find them ; near the Plaza de la Paja there is a street with some 20 tapa's bars which are every night overcrowded by locals and have an excellent atmosphere)
Of course everyone knows the famous spain Sherry but there is so much more to order. Spain produces a great deal of whines, actually, its next to France one of the worlds most productive wine-countries. There is also Spanish beer, yet i am not that much of a fan of the spanish beer. (except for damn cerveza) You have of course the famous Sangria but there is also a good deal for non-alcaholicdrinks. All the pubs and bars have at least mosto, some of them have non-alcaholiccocktails, and naturally there is the variation of coffee, which is normally espresso, called cafe solo. very strong by the way. So what are popular drinks? 1. Cava (sparkling wine) 2. Rioja/tinto (red whine) 3. Sherry (fino is dry and a good aperatif, amontilado is a very strong sherry) 4. cerveza (beer: in Madrid you mostly will find the Mahou branch. beer is served from the tap, in a small glass (cana) or in a big glas (jarra) 5. Sangria (a mixture of red wine and limonade, with fresh fruits in it, vey cold served. 6. Cubalibre (rum-cola) 7. chupitos (all sorts of strong liquors served in tiny glasses meant to drink ad-fundum) 8. warm chocolde (very popular amongst party people before going to bed: they drink the chocolate together with Churros, a sort of paste in the form of a stem and dip the churro in the chocolade..yummiie!) 9. mosto (very popular drink, non-alcahol yet it tastes a bit like vermouth) 10. cafe solo (espresso, very strong served in tiny cups)
Churros are Spanish native, fried type of doughnuts coated with sugar powder and dipped in thick, hot chocolate. It's a very popular snack that Spaniards eat on early morning of January first after all the crazy New Year parties are over. Churros can be found at street stands all year round, but as a traditional winter, New Year's snack it tastes better than ever especially because they're served hot and help to deal with cold weather. Don't worry if you didn't find a street vendor, although it's impossible to miss them, be sure that every Spanish city will have "Churreria" - Churros cafe.
As if the Madrilenes make a game out of it, they really are eager to set themselves apart from the rest of West- and Central Europe as it comes to eating-bussiness. As for the morning, the Europeans have a normal breakfast like bread or porridge, yet, the Madrilenes only have a cup of coffee eventually going to gether by eating a coockey, buiscuit or little peace of cake. At 3 pm its dinner time: they then eat their hot meal whereas other European countries have that dinner at 6 pm. Then, at around 10 or 11 pm the madrilenes are hungry again so then they start having their tapas, t.i. a variation of small portions of delicatesses like anjovis, olives, cheese, salads, suasages etc. This goes on till early night as the tapa-bars cloose at 2 am. Therefor its easy to guess why the next day at morning they only have coffee in stead of a full breakfast
In Spain children get their Christmas present on the 6th of January. These are given by the Reyes Magos(the three kings who gave presents to the baby Christ). Children leave turron and cava for the Reyes and the camels!!!!!All that day we eat Roscon de Reyes, a cake (see the picture) which has a surprise inside. The typical are withouth cream, but lately there are different styles of the traditional.
It's is typical from Madrid to have chocolate with churros(this is a thing made with flour and fried in olive oil), you can try in every cafe and bar in madrid. in this wonderful shop and cafe: cacao sampaka(C/ Orellana 4), the best chocalete but they don't have churros so you can eat other sweets or salted things with your chocalate!
Tapas are the famous Spanish Hor'deuvres that everyone eats. Madrid has them all over the place. They come in small portions or larger portions. So you can order half or fill Racions. The larger order can make a light meal. Many people go to different Tapas Bars trying different Tapas. Examples can be olives, Calamare Frtos (Squid) or Albondingas (Meatballs). One cannot go to Madrid or Spain for that matter without trying Tapas.
At the Plaza Mayor, sit in any of the terraces, relax or try a 'barquillo' ... umm delicious ...
I have also seen these men at the Retiro Park.
My first memories about the barquillos are from Bilbao from Parque Maria Luisa, if I was a good girl, I used to get one (so I wonder why I did not had many lol). But when we used to go to Madrid, I always used to get one.
Madrid is obsessed with ham. Madrileños aman jamón. There are ham shops everywhere. There are ham shops next to ham shops. And in each ham shop there is hanging from the wall or ceiling these giant ham hocks. And the best part about it, is that "Spanish ham," o jamón ibérico, the common ham there, is none other than my favorite meat, prosciutto!
I had so much prosciutto in Madrid that I probably gained 8 pounds in 4 days, just from ham.
Last night, for dinner (which began at 11:30, standard time), I had jamón ibérico de bellotas, which wasa huge plate full of strips of prosciutto from "acorn-fed" ham. It cost 18€ and was worth every penny!
Some observations while dining in Spain:
1. They don't give you water when you sit down.
2. You don't tip the waiters, it's reflected in the price.
3. Therefore, the waiters don't try so hard [(sort of like communism)].
4. They charge you for bread!
5. They don't always bring you the check, you need to ask for it.
The food is delicious there, especially the jamón ibérico, the bread, el vino, la sangría, la paella, y los baguettes y quesos! Mmmmmmm!