What are tapas and where did they come from? -

Read next

What are tapas and where did they come from?

October 10, 2017

The word “Tapa” is a Spanish word that means “lid” or “cover” – but which has come to mean, in Spain, a bar snack or appetizer served with a drink. Hunting down tapas is a common activity for visitors and tourists, but it can cause confusion.

Traditionally, tapas – which started out as edible “lids” for drinks – are served free in some places as Granada or Madrid with a drink, and it’s very popular around Spain. So much so, that there is the verb “Tapear” used to identify the action of going out with friends and “ir de tapas.”

Tapas have, however, spread beyond Spain – but they have morphed in the process. A “tapas bar” in Britain or America is a place which serves multiple small plates intended to be shared by the entire table, with the recipes influenced by Spanish and Mediterranean ideas, but often altered to fit local tastes. In Spain, this would actually be called a “aperitivo”.” In Spain, you’re more likely to fill up on tapas while going from bar to bar.

A “tapa” is anything served in a small portion – it’s not a type of food. However, some things are particularly popular as tapas – these include olives, either on their own or with other foods such as tuna or onions, chorizo, potatoes in a source or deviled eggs. Other recommendations for tapas to try while in Spain include croquetas (often filled with ham or cod), small toasted sandwiches, small shrimps or prawns and, of course, those olives – sometimes seen as the oldest and original tapas.

Read next

5 Salad Dressing Recipes Using Spanish Olives

October 16, 2017

Green olives have been a staple in the Spanish cuisine for many years. Green olives are most commonly found in the grocery store stuffed with cut up pimiento peppers. Back in the day, Spanish chefs used to cut up the pimiento peppers by hand and stuff them inside the green olives (again, by hand.) The sweet pimiento peppers were originally put inside olives to balance out the natural, strong salty flavour of the green olive. Now green olives appear in a number of dishes and they make a good base for tapenades and salad dressings.

Green Olive with A Kick Salad Dressing

Ingredients

20 medium green olives

1 clove of garlic

2 Tablespoons EVOO

2 Tablespoons Sherry Vinegar

A dash of fine sea salt

A dash of black pepper

A dash of cayenne pepper

2 medium piquillo peppers

Directions

Remove the pits from the olives and the seed from the peppers. Finely mince the olives, garlic and peppers. Add all of the other ingredients and blend with a food processor until the texture is consistent.

Spicy Anchovy and Caper Salad Dressing

Ingredients

1 can of anchovies

2 Tablespoons of capers

20 medium green olives

2 cloves of garlic

1 Tablespoon of lemon juice

1 tablespoon of Harissa

1 Tablespoon of Parsley

1/2 Cup EVOO

Directions

Remove the pits from the olives, rinse and drain the capers and anchovies. Finely mince olives, garlic, capers, and anchovies. Mix all of the ingredients in a food processor until you reach the desired consistency.

Olive and Manchego Cheese Salad Dressing

Ingredients

1/3 cup roasted pimento peppers

1/4 cup pimento stuffed green olives (drained)

16 Ounces Manchego Cheese

2 Medium piquillo peppers

2 Tablespoons of Mayonnaise 

2 Teaspoons of hot sauce

1/4 cup EVOO

Directions

Finely mince both types of peppers, olives, and cheese. Mix all ingredients in a food processor until you reach the desired consistency.

Olive and Herb Salad Dressing

Ingredients

20 medium pitted green olives

1 medium chopped onion 

3 Tablespoons rinsed capers

1 Teaspoon Paprika

A Dash of Cayenne Pepper 

1 Tablespoon chopped fresh oregano 

1 Tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

1 Tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

3 Tablespoons EVOO

1/4 cup Red Spanish wine of your choice

2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon lemon zest

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (or to taste)

1 clove of chopped garlic

1 Tablespoon chopped parsley

Directions

Finely mince olives, onion, garlic, capers and all of the fresh herbs. Mix all ingredients in a food processor until texture is right.

Sweet and Spicy Olive Salad Dressing

Ingredients

1 Cup Pimento stuffed green olives

1 clove of garlic

1/4 Cup EVOO

1/4 Cup Red Wine

1 clove of garlic

1/4 Cup EVOO

1/4 Cup Red Wine Vinegar

A dash of fine sea salt

A dash of black pepper

A dash of cayenne pepper

1 Teaspoon of paprika

1 tablespoon of chopped saffron 

2 medium piquillo peppers

1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar

1 medium pitted peach

Directions

Remove the pits from the olives and the seeds from the peppers. Finely mince the olives, garlic, peach and peppers. Add all of the other ingredients and blend in a food processor until the texture is consistent.

Olives have many uses when preparing Spanish foods. Switching up these recipes with different types of olives is also possible.

Read next

Top 5 Myths About Spain

October 23, 2017

You are planning your next vacation trip to beautiful Spain. But do you have some misconceptions about the country? Let’s see!

#1. Spanish Food is Spicy

Myth! Many people think that Spanish food (from Spain) is nearly the same as Mexican food. Although Spain and Mexico share some commonalities, they are on two different continents and their food is not that much alike. In fact, many Spanish people don’t even like Mexican food. A Spanish person is more likely to think that adding paprika to a dish makes it spicy.

#2. Everyone in Spain takes siestas

Myth! In UK, people tend to  associate Spanish people with siestas. It is generally thought that people in Spain nap everyday after work. This is an old tradition that still happens from time to time, usually among older people and during weekends. However, with new work schedules and busy lives, not many people have time for naps anymore.

#3. Everyone Does the Flamenco

Myth! Flamenco originated in Andalucía, the southern part of Spain, and it is still popular there. However, you won’t see it much throughout the rest of Spain. Also, it should be known that Flamenco is not just a dance, it has guitar, vocals, and hand claps. Dancing is just one part of Flamenco, but Flamenco is not a dance in and of itself.

#4. Tapas are a Specific Food

Myth! Tapas are a way of eating food, not a certain type of food. You can make any type of food tapa. So, what is tapa? It is a small dish that you usually have with a drink. Normally this is done through bar hops throughout the city, that way you can sample a variety of foods and drinks all night long!

#5. The Weather is Always Warm

Myth! There are many places in Spain that rain a lot, especially during autumn and winter, so make sure you bring a raincoat and umbrella when you visit. There are other parts of Spain, especially the north, that experience cold weather during the winter. So, while much of Spain has warm weather, especially during spring and summer, it is far from being perfectly warm all-year round.

 

Read next

The Top 5 Tapas to Enjoy in Spain

November 6, 2017

The olive is the queen of the tapas. It is the tapa that bars and restaurants put you almost always by “courtesy”, is almost intrinsic to the moment of the tapeo.

Every day across Spain, restaurants and bars serve up a myriad of mouth-watering appetisers and snacks known as tapas. Craved by locals and visitors alike, these small, unassuming dishes deliver a powerhouse of flavour for your taste buds. Here are five tapas that you won’t want to miss.

#1. Croquetas

These crunchy fried bites are ubiquitous throughout Spain for good reason. They’re so delicious that you probably can’t eat just one! The traditional Spanish fillings are ham, chicken, and cod. Today, many places also offer modern twists, including vegetarian versions of croquetas.

#2. Tortilla de Patatas

The potato omelette, also known as the Spanish omelette, is one of the most beloved tapas throughout the country. Perhaps surprisingly, it has just three ingredients! There’s nothing quite as simple, yet satisfying, as biting into a pint-sized Spanish omelette with its golden-brown potatoes, fluffy eggs, and dash of onions.

#3. Calamares a la Romana

For any seafood lover, calamares a la romana (Spanish fried calamari) is a must-try. Chefs batter and deep-fry the rings, then serve them with a side of lemon juice. Grab a fresh plate and enjoy the perfect combination of crispy and tender textures.

#4. Banderillas

Olives, a staple in many tapas, are key to making good banderillas, which are cold snacks served on skewers. Preparers may use a variety of olives, such as Manzanillas or Queen olives, to get just the right flavour. Add in some pickled peppers and onions, and you’re ready to go!

#5. Jamón, Queso y Chorizo

Looking to get back to basics, like meat and cheese? Then indulge yourself with one of Spain’s heartiest and most popular tapas of all: a small plate of Serrano ham, sheep’s milk cheese, and Spanish chorizo. You’ll be glad you did.

Read next

Five Surprising Health Benefits of Olives

November 6, 2017

If you ask a botanist about olives, they will tell you that the olive is a small, bitter-tasting fruit of Olea Europea, the olive tree. Similar to mangoes, cherries, peaches, almonds, and pistachios, they belong to a class of fruit known as drupes or stone fruits. The fruit classification is because olives form in the ovary of the olive flower, and they have seeds, the small stones or pits, which if planted and lovingly tended, could grow into a tree. Like tomatoes, olives are a fruit which we often treat as a vegetable, enjoying them in savory dishes, as an hors-d’oeuvre, or simply as a snack. No matter how you eat them, there are several reasons that olives are a healthy food.

Heart Healthy

Olives are high in antioxidant nutrients, helping to prevent oxidation of cholesterol, which causes fat to build up, damaging arteries. While olives do contain high levels of fat, it is the healthy monounsaturated type, which reduces the risk of atherosclerosis and increase levels of good cholesterol.

Prevention of Cancer

Black olives are high in vitamin E, which has a profound capacity to neutralize free radicals in body fat. Combined with the monounsaturated fats in olives vitamin E makes cellular processes safer. Protecting cellular processes, such as mitochondrial energy production, limits production of free radicals, which cause oxidation and damages a cell’s mitochondria, preventing the cell from generating enough energy to satisfy its needs. Research shows that olives can lower the risk of colon cancer, and provide nearly as many health benefits as fish oil.

Hair and Skin Health

The olives fatty acids and antioxidants, particularly vitamin E, hydrate, nourish and protect skin and hair from ultraviolet radiation, reducing the risk of skin cancer and premature aging.

Bone and Connective Tissue

Olives possess anti-inflammatory powers due to monounsaturated fats, vitamin E, and polyphenols. The anti-inflammatory capabilities of the olive can help to alleviate symptoms of asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. These three conditions correlate with high levels of free radicals which the amazing olive helps to control.

Digestive Tract Health

Vitamin E and monounsaturated fats, plentiful in olives, help lower rates of colon cancer because they neutralize free radicals. Olives have beneficial effects on ulcers and gastritis, lowering frequency of gall stone formation.

So whether you enjoy them in a salad, as an ingredient when cooking, or eat them like candy as a snack, olives are a delicious and healthy fruit. To learn more about this or anything else contact us today.

Read next

The first ever Spanish Olive Festival in UK was a success!

November 13, 2017

Last October we had the pleasure of celebrating the first Spanish Olive Festival in the UK.

In the emblematic setting of the Canopy Market in Kings Cross, we brought a small piece of Spain to the heart of London.

We were also delighted to be joined by chefs Ben Tish, José Pizarro, Omar Allibhoy and the nutritionist Fiona Hunter, who taught us a lot of recipes and tricks to use olives in our daily diet.

In addition, we enjoyed olive tastings, an interactive marinating & filling station, an olive art installation and of course, Spanish music to flamenco the day away!

And after that incredible weekend, we have this selection of photos.

Click here see the pics.