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Dipping into tapas

I love tapas. I discovered it quite late in life and feel like I'm making up for lost time every time I enjoy it. It seems that there is a never ending choice on offer and being a creature of habit I struggle to make sure I eat my favourite dates in bacon, tortilla and pollo piri piri, as well as fitting in a few new dishes. Whenever I eat it I do wander how this sociable way of eating came about. Apparently, the word "tapas" is derived from the Spanish verb tapar, "to cover" and according to legend, the tapas tradition began when king Alfonso X of Castile recovered from an illness by drinking wine with small dishes between meals. After regaining his health, the king ordered that taverns would not be allowed to serve wine to customers unless it was accompanied by a small snack or "tapa". According to The Joy of Cooking, the original tapas were the slices of bread or meat which sherry drinkers in Andalusian taverns used to cover their glasses between sips. This was a practical measure meant to prevent fruit flies from hovering over the sweet sherry. The meat used to cover the sherry was normally ham or chorizo, which are both very salty and activate thirst. Because of this, bartenders and restaurant owners began creating a variety of snacks to serve with sherry, thus increasing their alcohol sales. The tapas eventually became as important as the sherry. (Source: wiki) - Fly at a Smile-Price