Spanish cuisine has an outstanding reputation and has a long history culminating today in a phenomenon of Spanish gastronomy thanks to celebrity chefs such as Juan Maria Arzak and Santi Santamaria.
Tapas, said to have originated in Cadiz, when King Alfonso the XIII passed by a tavern for light refreshment. Due to the dusty conditions (or perhaps flies) the bartender placed a small plate of ham on top of the glass of wine served, and thus started a tradition of small snacks served with wine or beer.
Tapas today have evolved into a sophisticated and very popular cuisine with a huge variety on offer all along the Costa de Sol including:
- Tapa de Croquetas, made from ham, chicken or seafood
- Gambas al Ajillo, sizzling prawns with garlic and chili
- Bacalao, delicious salted cod, coated in breadcrumbs
- Calamares, fried squid
- Patatas Bravas, fried potato with spicy sauce
- Ensaladilla, a potato salad with tuna or prawns
- Gazpacho, served in a glass, cold tomato soup topped with cucumber
- Salmorejo or Porra de Antequera, slightly thicker, and topped with egg and ham
- Tortilla, typical but very satisfying Spanish omelette with potato
- Albondigas, Spanish meatballs, typically made with pork and in a sauce of either tomato or almond
You will also find regional versions of these tapas plus many more on offer depending on where you are in Spain and ideally enjoyed with a glass of local wine, beer or sherry.
Pintxos are an adapted version of the tapa and first appeared in 1930 in Donostia, the centre of San Sebastian. Similar to the tapa, a Pintxo is a small snack offered with drink, placed on top of a slice of the house bread and held with a skewer. If you fancy trying a Pintxo, there is a great little bar in Malaga serving these popular snacks, http://www.latabernadelpintxo-malaga.com/