Going for tapas in Spain

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Going for tapas is such an integral part of Spanish culture, there's even a verb for it - 'tapear,' meaning 'to go for tapas.' However, there are many misconceptions about tapas. It's not a type of food - it's rather a way of eating. Tapas are small dishes of various Spanish favourites, both cooked and ready to eat. Think olives, tortillas, mussels, ham and cheese, various salads, croquettes, stews - anything that can be cooked, assembled or served up as is can be a tapa.

Legend has it that tapas was born in a bar in Madrid, when a customer asked the bar tender to 'tapar' - or cover - his glass of wine with something to keep the flies away. The barman used the first thing to hand, which was a thin slice of serrano ham, and so the tradition of eating small helpings of food with an early evening drink was born. Nobody knows if it's true or not, but it certainly makes a good story.

I love magra con tomate - lean pork cooked with tomatoes, peppers and onions. What's your favourite tapa?
 
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