Originally, and in some bars today, tapas were served, which were simply a few olives or almonds. In some places a selection of cheeses, sausages, serrano ham were served as tapas, often free to accompany the drink before the main meal.
But nowadays, more restaurants serve tapas which are more or less any hot or cold dish that can be served in small portions, so a meal is made up of lots of smaller dishes.
Tapas are typically displayed along the length of the counter of a bar or café to be ordered in a group, or individually. A selection of tapas is ideal for an interesting informal meal, and they are also great for a any party, buffet, picnic or barbecue.
Most can be made quickly and easily. Many can be made in advance and served at room temperature. Others are partly prepared and then finished at the last minute before serving.
Typical ingredients for tapas include – olives, pickled fish, schrimps, octopus, sausages, ham, mushrooms, peppers, aubergines.