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WHAT IS TAPAS?

Spanish tapas, those delicious small tidbits, are a delicacy. There are many recipes from different regions in Spain. True traditional Spanish cooking is many faceted. Indigenous foods and traditional culinary practices have been reinforced throughout the country's long history by the absorption of new ingredients and cultural influences from many different countries.

The Romans left their imprint, principally in the irrigation of parts of the east coast, and the introduction of olives, while 700 years of Moorish occupation resulted in almonds, citrus fruits and fragrant spices becoming integral ingredients in Spanish cooking. The discovery of the New World resulted in the introduction, and wide acceptance of tomatoes, sweet and chilli peppers (capiscums), courgettes (zucchini), many types of beans, potatoes, chocolate and vanilla.

Furthermore, Spain covers areas as diverse as sparse mountain ranges, arid plains, fertile orchards and arable lands, olive and fruit groves, regions that are cold and wet, and those that are hot and dry, coasts facing two different seas - the Mediterranean and the Atlantic and many rivers. Not surprisingly, each different area yields different foods and calls for a different type of cooking.

However, there are a number of ingredients and flavours that distinguish Spanish food. The olive is vital, particularly for its oil; Spain is the greatest consumer of olive oil in the world. Garlic is an indispensable element in the majority of dishes. Parsley is the popular herb, and nuts appear frequently, often ground to make a sauce. Onions, green and red peppers, and tomatoes are the other constants.

The Carreteros, Miguel and his parents Segundo and Genoveva are natives of Madrid and had always dreamed of opening a Spanish restaurant with recipes from their homeland. So began their restaurant: Guido's Pizzeria and Tapas