The History of Tapas

The exact moment of the birth of the Tapa is lost in time. The closest estimate of its humble origins would possibly be sometime in the eighteenth century. Weary travelers would disembark from coaches and saddle horses, to be met by eager innkeepers with glasses of wine or sherry covered with a slice of bread. In the Spanish language, this covering referred to as a Tapa, from the verb tapar, 'to cover.' This 'tapa' kept insects, dust and unsavory debris from settling into the wine and also served to whet the appetite of the hungry travelers.

From this simple beginning the tapa evolved. A slice of Serrano ham, a bit of Manchego cheese with marinated olives, were added as toppings, as enterprising innkeepers vied to attract the travelers interest and money by offering inventive and luscious dishes that induced yet another glass of wine.

Tapas today are small, delectable portions of food, served individually, or in groups as a custom designed meal. The use of lean, grilled meats and fresh seafood, vegetables, olive oil and that wonderful flower of flavor, garlic ensure not only a heavenly taste experience, but also a light, healthy fare. They can be enjoyed sparingly by the dainty eater and in more abundant assortments for hearty diners. They are traditionally enjoyed with beer, wine, sangria, or the quintessential Spanish drink, Sherry. The enjoyment of tapas is a way of life for the Spanish casual dining in an unhurried atmosphere where spirited conversations flourish and are shared among family, friends and new acquaintances.

emBargo: bringing the Tapas tradition to Cape Cod

Embargo wants to carry on this wonderful Spanish tradition and offer items from America and around the world for you to sample. The small portion or tapa size allows you to sample many dishes, possibly many different cuisines all in one evening. You have the choice of ordering tapas one at a time or all at once. Each dish will arrive at your table as it is completed in the kitchen for your enjoyment, therefore, not all dishes will arrive at the table simultaneously. This is the essence of tapas — to experience a multitude of different flavors, textures, and tastes. We hope you enjoy your culinary adventure.