Tapas

Another type of hors d'oeuvre that has become increasingly popular is the Spanish tapa.The variety of tapas is so great that it is difficult to give a definition, except to say that a tapa is a small food item intended to be eaten with wine or other drinks, usually in taverns and bars. The Spanish term literally means "lid," and the original tapa is thought to be a small bit of food, perhaps a slice of cured ham, placed on top of a glass of sherry.

As varied as they are, tapas have a few points in common.They are served in small portions and are intended to be eaten immediately and quickly. In most cases, they are served on small plates. Many can be eaten by hand, but many others, especially those served in a sauce,are eaten with a fork. Often they are the same kinds of foods that can be served as first courses of a dinner, but presented in smaller portions.

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