The Spanish word Tapa, denotes to cover and Tapar ( the verb ), and the noun lid, come from the ancient Romans and Greeks before them, and small plates of hors d´oeuvres ( French ) or appetisers or mezé ( Greek ), Mezze ( Turkish ), aperitivos or Antipasti in Italian, Mezedes ( Bulgarian ) and Meze ( Arabic ) have been employed to cover a glass of wine or beer in taverns, inns and hotels. Having drunk the beverage, customers frequently had eaten the olives or charcuterie too. Today, there are numerous Spanish varieties of tapas, some humble and others hauté cuisine. The Tapeo ( bar bouncing ) has become a hedonistic custom which developed during The Santiago Pilgrims´ Walk, The Roman Engineered Silver Route from Mérida, Extremadura to Gijón, Asturias and later during holiday festivities in the 1700s.
Each of the regions have contributed their specialties, for example: Galicia specialises in shellfish and padrón peppers, Valencia in rices, Andalusia in fried calamari, fried chupitos ( baby squid ), fried adobo tope shark and Jabugo Black Foot acorn fed ham in Huelva. Tapas can also be categorised in 6 main types:
1) picar: to nibble finger foods for example: olives, chicken wings, Fried Spicy Potatoes called Patatas Bravas and sandwiches
2) pinchos: this is a tapa on a wooden toothpick or stick, thus: sausages, prawns or pinchos moruños, which are pork kebabs.
3) cazuelas: served in a clay earthenware dish, for example: meatballs in gravy and gambas al ajillo ( small red prawns in olive oil with chili pepper and garlic ).
4) Tostas or canapés: a slice of toasted baguette with cheese, charcuterie or tuna salad with red roasted peppers and batter fried squid or calamari and / or adobo fish.
5) Tortillas: Spanish style circular omelettes similiar to an Italian Frittata
6) Stuffed and / or Filled Wraps: these tapas or appetisers have a variety of shapes and forms, similar to a empanada or concoction resembling a spring roll or beetroot ( grelos ) leaf filled with all types of stuffings.