Will Drink For Food!

Some people live to eat, others eat to live. Now that we arrived in Granada, Spain, I can finally say I “Will drink for food!”

It is unique custom here in the Andalusia region where a small portion appetizer (tapa) is served with every drink you order. A tapa portion is often eaten in one or two bites, to complement your drink as an aperitif before lunch or dinner. This article explains it so well and includes amazing photos that I won’t try to rewrite anything here.  https://spanishclub.blog/tapas-culture-in-spain/

My sharing here is about how I experienced this special culture. 

A historical explanation of the word “tapa” (means cover or lid in Spanish) is that bread or ham were placed over the wine glass so that no dust or insects could get inside. Reminds me of French canapés (means “sofa” to describe a savoury topping on a piece of bread or toast, like a person sitting on a sofa) or Chinese dim sum (means “touch the heart” in Cantonese).

Trust me, nothing touches my heart more than sitting comfortably and having local delicacies dished out for free with each drink I order. In most restaurants, you don’t choose which tapas to have, so there’s also the elements of surprise and anticipation. The common tapas we loved were iberico ham, olives, fresh bread, chorizo and meatballs. 

I have to say that 1 in every 3 dishes, there was dismay as something that we don’t enjoy came along. For my palate, it would be chips or potato salad or anything with goat or blue cheese. In my husband’s case, he would avoid most seafood and anything that contains mayonnaise. Between the both of us, we still manage to eat every tapa to not waste and also as respect to the kitchen. 

Therefore, the times we went to restaurants that allowed us to select the tapas, we were like kids in a candy store and the dry white wine (for me) and beer (for him) would be flowing. When I went for tapas on my own, I would always choose a place specializing in seafood that came paired with white wine from Rueda, known for it’s dry, aromatic white wines made predominantly from the Verdejo grape variety. 

Never thought it would happen but we did hit drinking saturation and joked about the “pressure” of ordering drinks for the food. Though not as exciting as getting tapas as a part of our drinks, we did often order a half or full portion of dishes from the menu; and chose restaurants that only had à la carte items. That also removed the potential concern of eating something we weren’t keen on.

In all, I love the custom and feel that there’s wonder in letting someone else decide for you what comes next. It also pushes me to try new types of food and feel part of the group when everyone at the same restaurant/bar at this moment is given and eating the same thing. It’s like you are being invited to someone’s home and served what the chef deems delicious. You do get to choose your drink though, so I say “Salud!” to that. (Cheers in Spanish and literally means health or “toast to your health!”)

If you’re thinking of switching careers…