Now that Spain has declared another national state of emergency and imposed a night-time curfew between the hours of 23:00 and 06:00 in an effort to help control a new spike in infections, bars and restaurants will have to adapt their businesses accordingly over the coming months with plans to possibly keep the state of alarm measures in place until May. For the bars in Spain it is especially challenging and there is now just one question on everybody’s lips. Has the Covid-19 pandemic killed Spain’s tapas culture?
Traditionally the Spanish have loved to congregate and converse (loudly if possible) in the cool interior of a typical tapas bar with clay-tiled floors, Serrano hams hanging, drying from the ceiling and a bar top overflowing with colourful, tantalizing little portions of food, tempting to be eaten. You’d normally fight your way through the crowd to the bar and shout to get served, anyone who has ever followed their nose around a Spanish town or village will at some point have entered a tapas bar or bodega because, participating in the “tapeo” (tapa-hopping) has been part and parcel of the Spaniards social scene for centuries.
I was in Bilbao recently and Covid-19 has now completely changed the feel of the Basque taverns. People must now social distance and only a certain number are allowed up to the bar at one time. Where sometimes bars used to have up to 150 different types of pintxos, now they might have around 30 types because there’s fewer people; residents and tourists alike. In San Sebastian, the city council has ordered that all pintxos must now be completely covered at the front and sides and the case must be translucent so that customers can see what they’re ordering. Any bar not complying with these measures can be fined. The main difference to the pintxo scene however is that customers are no longer allowed to touch the pintxos, meaning that a large part of pintxo culture is missing. Now customers just point to what they want and are served by the bar person, much like in many bars across the world and this is slowly killing Spain’s unique pintxo and tapas culture. I suppose the question is; can it adapt and change in order to survive? I sincerely hope so, I for one really miss the buzz and frenzy of a packed tapas bar stacked full of delicious food.
The literal translation of tapa is “top” or “cover” and although there are various theories to their origins the most plausible one is this...the sherry houses of Andalusia placed a small plate over the glasses of wine to protect them from fruit flies and dust .a slice of bread and a tiny piece of local ham were placed on top to entice clients to the wine bar, and the saltiness of the ham helped to sell more sherries, before long the cooks from the bars would be creating evermore elaborate dishes to attract more customers and out-do the competition, and so the tapa was born and tapas restaurants around the world continue the tradition of small, shareable bites to enjoy with wine and friends. It has often been said, “participating in the “tapeo” provides an opportunity to feel the pulse of the nation”.
Tapas can be as simple as you make them, slices of Serrano ham, marinated olives or fried anchovies. Here are a couple of classic recipes for you to make at home.
· 6 large potatoes
· 350ml mayonnaise
· 2tbsp tomato puree
· 1tbsp Sherry vinegar
· 1 garlic clove (crushed)
· 1tspn paprika
· 1tspn cayenne pepper
· ½tspn Ground cumin
Place all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk together. Peel and cut the potatoes into 3cm dice. Deep-fry them in hot oil until golden brown and crisp. Drain and sprinkle with sea salt. Spoon over the brava sauce and serve immediately.
FOSH FOOD @HOME
Due to the current and evolving circumstances of COVID-19, our restaurants will now remain closed until the New Year. We’ve made this decision with a heavy heart as our guests mean the world to us and we genuinely love what we do everyday, but we feel it’s the best option for all concerned right now. We cannot wait to have you all back in the dining room in 2021, but in the meantime we are also offering an exciting online food delivery service for the Island of Mallorca over the next few months and beyond.
Our aim is that you can say goodbye to take away with FOSH FOOD@HOME and order delicious, freshly cooked dishes to keep in your fridge or freezer for a simple lunch or dinner bursting with Mediterranean flavours. Cooked in our kitchen, just as you would in your own home, all our food will be freshly prepared to order and delivered to your door and ready to heat and eat. We make everything to order and we will never compromise on taste and quality. We only cook what you order from fresh ingredients each and every time without any extra preservatives or additives. So check out what’s on the menu at www.foshfoodathome.com.