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World Tapas Day: 9 must-eat tapas dishes

In celebration of World Tapas Day, we're diving in on some of our favourite tapas dishes from around the world, from classic Spanish dishes to traditional Venetian cicchetti.
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Croquetas

Croquetas are a staple item on every Spanish tapas menu, featuring a variety of different fillings to satisfy both meat eaters and vegetarians. These small breaded-and-fried types of dumplings are filled with a thick, creamy béchamel sauce (flour, butter, and milk), which is often combined with other ingredients such as Serrano ham, mushroom or seafood. You can find croquetas served as appetisers or tapas dishes as you explore Iberia, as well as in croqueterías - restaurants dedicated to these tasty deep fried rolls.

Cicchetti

A Venetian take on tapas, cicchetti are small dishes often served while standing at the bar, accompanied by a glass of wine. Typical cicchetti include crostini - small open sandwiches with various toppings - freshly prepared sarde in saor - sardines in a tangy onion and vinegar sauce - as well as polpette (fried meatballs). Polenta is also the star of many cicchetti dishes, being combined with salted cod, or simply sliced and grilled. As you travel from Venice to Rome by rail, you’ll easily find bàcari (traditional Venetian taverns) and most restaurants serving cicchetti.

Tortilla Española

Served as both a light tapas dish and a hearty meal at dinner in Spain, tortilla española is a simple but flavourful creation, combining eggs, potatoes and onions. Peeled and sliced potatoes are first sautéed with onion until tender, then added to beaten eggs. The mixture is cooked in a skillet until golden, then cut into slices or cubes. Tortilla española, often known as as Spanish Omelette, can be found served in Spanish bars, as well as restaurants.

Pastéis de Bacalhau

One of the most popular foods in traditional Portuguese cuisine, Pastéis de Bacalhau can be enjoyed at snack bars, restaurants, delicatessens and everywhere in between - for good reason! These bite size fritters combine deep fried potatoes and bacalhau (dried salted cod) with onion and parsley, and can be eaten hot or cold. Discover the highlights of Spain and Portugal for an opportunity to try these moreish fishcakes.

Patatas Bravas

Patatas bravas - meaning ‘spicy potatoes’ - is a classic Spanish tapas dish and a firm favourite for many. While it’s simple and cheap, it packs a punch thanks to the vibrant red bravas sauce combining pimentón (smoked paprika), olive oil, flour, and chicken or vegetable broth. All that’s left is to spoon the sauce over a generous helping of fried potatoes. During your Grand Tour of Spain, France and Italy, you can enjoy this popular tapa in Barcelona.

Pan Tumaca

Claimed to be a Catalan creation, pan tumaca was designed to keep hungry farmers going until dinner time. The simple combination of toasted bread, juicy tomato pulp, olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt makes it the perfect light snack at a bar, or a side dish. However, it can also be enjoyed with cured meats, cheeses, and tortillas right across Spain.

Truffle Fuži

As a delicacy throughout the Istrian Peninsula of Croatia, truffle Fuži can be enjoyed during a rustic farmhouse lunch as you travel from Dubrovnik to Lake Bled. Home-made Istrian pasta is delicately folded into hollow cylinder shapes, then partnered with a creamy sauce of locally sourced truffles. While it isn’t strictly speaking a tapas dish, it’s a must-try piece of authentic Croatian cuisine, and will certainly tide you over as a light or hearty meal.

Fideuà

Fideuà is a variation of paella, using short spaghetti-style pasta called fideos instead of rice. Featuring a classic seafood base of squid and prawns, it’s as fragrant and colourful as a classic paella. Traditionally, it’s cooked over an open fire outdoors - you’ll also find it in many restaurants in Barcelona. The rich tomato and pepper sauce combined with the seafood stock makes it flavourful and warming, perfect for both hot and cold weather.

Spanakopita

As we explore the Best of Greece, we stop at the historical Plaka Quarter, home to numerous authentic tavernas selling classic Greek tapas-style favourites, such as tiropita, kolokithopita, and spanakopita. Traditional spanakopita pie combines delicate layers of crispy phyllo dough with feta cheese and plenty of spinach, and can be enjoyed as a light snack, side dish or as a main meal. 

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