Tapas are small plates of food, encountered in most bars in Spain, that are served as an accompaniament to drinks or as starters to a main meal.
There are many myths as to the origin of tapas and how this way of eating came to be such a part of the Spanish culture. Some believe it was enforced by the Spanish King Alfonso X, who insisted, in an attempt to keep stagecoach drivers sober, tha all inns must provide foos when serving wine.
It seems, however, that the most popular myth is that bars would place a slice of cured ham, cheese or bread over a glass of wine when it was served to prevent insects from falling in. Whatever the real story, tapas have become an iconoc symbol off the Spanish culture and a whole range of tapas recipes are described in the following pages.