Origin of the 10 most popular Spanish tapas (part 1)

They almost always tell us which are their ingredients and the best places to taste them, but this time we will trace the origins of the most prized tapas of the Spanish cuisine.

1 – Tortilla de patata (Spanish omelet)

One of the lost theories about its origin is that it is due to Aragonese chef Teodoro Bardají Mas, who on December 17 of 1935 at the seminar “Ellas” shows the original recipe of the Tortilla. It is the nowadays known as Spanish omelet with the difference that he does not fry in advance the onion and the potatoes. It is possible this is the closest origin of the tortilla de patata that we cook present day. [1]

spanish omelet

2 – Jamón Ibérico (Ibérico ham)

The first news about Jamón come from the Roman empire, although the first pigs (Sus scrofa domestica) appeared on the beginning of neolithic. A fossilized jamón older than two thousand years was found in Tarraco. The current races of Ibérico pig are result of long selection processes and adaptation to the local weather conditions. Nevertheless we can not discard the importance of the hibridacion with wild boar. [1]

Acorn Iberico Ham

3 – Croquetas

It is a native food of France, though it is more popular in Sicily, Netherland and Spain, where it can be eaten as side dish, main dish, starter or tapa. [1]

The most clear reference in Spain is owing to the famous 20th century Galician writer Mrs. Emilia Pardo Bazán, who in her essay “La cocina española antigua” (the old Spanish cuisine) left the following lines: “Fried is the tasty morsel skillfully prepared for the pan. The this is undoubtedly trans-Pyrenean, but when it acclimated to Spain, it has gained a lot. The French one is enormous, hard and without ease. Here, on the contrary, it is well done, the croquetas melt in mouth for so soft and smooth. [2]


4 – Patatas Bravas (Spicy potatoes)

First of all we have to explain the word “Bravas”, whose meaning is wild, savage and makes reference to the fierce of the wild animals as the bullfighting bull.

The origin of this dish is not too clear. Some people attribute it to “Casa Perico” and others says it was first served in “La Casona”, being both taverns in Madrid and already disappeared. What is certain is that it was about 1960 and that the lines around these two taverns just to taste their Patatas Bravas were mythical. There is also much controversy about the ingredients in this sauce. There is mainly two versions, those who defend the presence of tomato and those who think the sauce hasn’t to have it and the red color must be due to the presence of pimentón (paprika). [1]

patatas bravas

Next week we will tell some more interesting data about the origin of many other popular tapas that you Spanish food lover surely have sometime tasted. And don’t forget you can take a look to our shop to find the best products to cook your own tapas.

[1] Wikipedia.
[2] La Boquería.