Spanish cooking has a very colourful heritage partly due to the fact that it has had a very rich history of battles, occupation, overthrowing and liberation. Spanish tapas and cooking has all the genetic infusions of a promiscuous mongrel but better tasting.
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This is partly to its ruling by the moors for close to a millennium, particularly in the southern areas of Spain. The Romans also played conquistadors for a long period of time, brutally forcing their love of olive oil and wine on the helpless Spanish people.
In past centuries Spain was often at the forefront of territorial and technological advances, such as the Spanish discovery of the Americas which brought Spain and later Western Europe products like chocolate, vanilla and tomatoes. Columbus even brought potatoes back from the Americas; the Spanish were eating them long before the Irish.
“When you come to Madrid, you have to try these things called ´Tapas´”- Karim Benzema
Spanish gastronomy covers a wide-range and is made up of much more than tapas; but they are delicious. A tapa is a small side-dish or bowl of crisps often given by Spanish bars to accompany a drink that has been ordered. They can be either cold, such as mixed olives, ham and cheese on a single side one of Spain´s most exquisite baguettes or hot, such as fried squid or chorizo. Tapas in Spain are designed to be something to munch on whilst chatting with friends. Originally foods like chorizo and ham were served as they are very salty and so customers then bought more drinks, they have now become part of the Spanish custom.
Not all places in Spain offer free tapas as a given and it is rare for Spanish restaurants to offer much in the way of sustenance to accompany your beverages. At the other end of the scale there are some Spanish bars albeit only a few that offer enormous portions of food with their drinks. I will give you a list of the ones that I know in Madrid later on.