Spanish Art, Culture and Tapas That Makes You Passionate About Life
The Spanish Art Culture and Tapas is enjoyed and appreciated globally. This beautiful country’s entire culture revolves around the popularity of it’s art and tapas. Spain has some of the world’s great artistic talent and cuisines. A perfect day out would ideally be enjoying a great meal and strolling down it’s art galleries and streets.
Spanish art has a strong foundation left by important figures such as Picasso, Gaudi, Tapies, Miro, Sorolla, Casas, Camarasa, Dali or Rosales to mention some, all of them left a footprint in food as well, which proves the importance of culinary culture in this country. As well, they were influenced by the big masters: El Greco, Velazquez and Goya, the ones who uncovered the peculiarities of anticlastic art, the one that inspired vanguardism.
To date, the work of Barcelo and Almodovar are recognized worldwide, but as well there are a number of emerging Spanish artists worth following, such as Secundino Hernandez who creates potent and expressive pictoric magmas; Marisa Maza with her political art that explores identity, gender, and freedom; and Elena Bajo who focuses her work through eco-activism in order to awake consciousness of people.
Spanish art and culture suffered a 40 years parenthesis (the Franco dictatorship), but now is back and will stay for a while, always evolving in an innovative way.
Proud for it’s rich and delicious cuisine and rooted in history and traditions unique to it’s people. Wherever you travel, you find “tapas”, and anyone who visits Spain wants to try the absolute best tapas that are crafted with passion every day by creative artisans.
But first, let us talk about what is “tapas”. In my opinion, tapas are a way of expressing culture in Spain by eating and sharing. These are small portions of foods that are shared among friends, or even during a business meeting at a bar or a restaurant. You can eat them at any time of the day, and always pair them with a refreshing beer or wine. In case you are on your own, in Spain, there are plenty of “barras” (bars) where you seat among other people and talk about anything. I found that pretty unique and healthy, it is great to share your meal with someone else, it helps to break your day, disconnecting, you name it!
Moreover, the Spanish cuisine, with some exceptions, it is pretty healthy; it is based on seasonal produce, the use of olive oil and a good balance of veggies and protein foods, such as seafood and meats. Spain is highly influenced by the world famous Mediterranean diet throughout its south and eastern provinces, such as Catalonia that boast an amazing gastronomy, and is considered among the top healthy ways of living in the world.
Photo credit: Secundino Hernandez
The origin of the word or concept – tapa – is rooted in medieval history and it is quite disputed. My favorite one is the legend that refers to King Alfonso 10th, The Wise King of Spain, who stricken with a serious illness and unable to eat, managed to get better by eating small portions of food with small amounts of wine. After recovering from his illness, the king issued a decree that no wine should be served at taverns unless it came accompanied by a small amount of food. Each tapa has a bunch of secrets behind the delicious, mouth-watering recipe, which in some cases is quite old and that tempts everyone to eat them. Let’s find out the best ones!
Bombas is a round deep fried potato and minced meat mix that originate at the iconic Barcelona district named La Barceloneta, a former fisherman village that has always kept some traditional flavor in contrast to the trendiness found in the rest of the city. This Barcelona tapas, when served is topped with aioli and a spicy sauce. It was created in the 60s when the whole of Spain started marketing the tapas culture, and La Barceloneta wanted to have its culinary flag, they made it hot and delicious, an art of contemporary tapas!
While everyone visiting Spain aims to try gazpacho, its little sister, originally from Andalusia, it is my take! This tomato-based soup gains a unique sort of consistency thanks to the addition of pureed breadcrumbs, and deliciousness by topping it up with ham cuts and hardboiled eggs. You might not wanna share it.
PIMIENTOS DE PADRON
photo credit: Dani Oliver
The perfect start for a tapeo among friends, these green peppers are grown in Galicia and kept to an average size of 5 cm in length so they keep a sweet and mild taste. They are salted in a pan with a small amount of olive oil and served with rock sea salt. The funny moment comes when someone gets to eat the hot pimiento. There is always one or two on the dish, and no one knows which one is it.
GAMBAS AL AJILLO
Shrimp in garlic is common in many countries, but the Spanish version has a unique touch and it is eaten all over the country. Fresh shrimps are sauteed in olive oil and lots of garlic and a few cayenne pepper flakes, a splash of Spanish Brandy and a dash of Paprika. This dish is a true classic in Spain.
ACEITUNAS A LA MADRILENA
Each capital has its signature dish, and the Spanish one homage one of the country most precious foods: olives. Olives a la Madrilene is actually a bunch of dried olives simmered in a mix of olive oil, vinegar, salt, and scallions, topped with sweet paprika, oregano, and garlic. There is no discussion in a bar or restaurant that start without this delicious dish.
JAMON IBERICO DE BELLOTA
The finest ham in the world comes from Spain, as well as from Portugal, there is no doubt about that, but the best one is called Jamón ibérico de bellota, which is a type of ham made from free-range Black Iberian pigs that are feed by acorns (bellotas). After slaughtering the pigs, the fatty legs are covered in salt and left to cure in the cold air of the region that border with Portugal. The flavors of this ham are fantastic, and the best tip we can give you to find a great cut in Spain is to hit a Food Market or Meat shop where it will be cut by hand.
One way or another, tapas has evolved around traditions, innovation, and creativity. Passionate entrepreneurs, happy foodies, and a fantastic land have made this a reality that gets more and more followers because it changes the way people perceive food, makes them happier and who doesn’t like to enjoy their time with friendly people?