It is very common to confuse tapa and pintxo, as they are two types of aperitif. However, both in their origins and in their format, they are different. Want to find out all about both?

The pintxos and the tapa share a great popularity. Today few people go for a glass of wine or a beer without a good tapa or a quality pintxo. 

La tapa

Its origins are confusing. There is a legend, by which we must go back to the Middle Ages, specifically to the reign of Alfonso X the Wise. This king ruled between 1252 and 1284 the kingdoms of Leon and Castile. A foresighted man, he had the idea of forcing the taverns of both kingdoms to offer some food to those who drank wine. The reason? Prevent his subjects from falling quickly into drunkenness.

More plausible we think that story in which another king, Alfonso XIII, in the 20th century, in a visit to Seville decided to stop to drink something. They offered him a wine, which was about to be filled with dust because of a strong wind; but the waiter's agility avoided it by resorting to a piece of bread. The king was interested in that custom, as he seemed to understand, and by name. The young man replied, simply, that it was a lid.

Whatever its origin, in our days, a tapa is an aperitif that is always offered with a drink as a courtesy of the bar. It can also be a small portion of food, which will usually be served on a plate.

The pintxo (pincho)

This is a Basque aperitif of very modern origin, since it dates from the year 30s of the last century. La Espiga, a local located in San Sebastian, offered in those years a type of appetizer that consisted of a slice of bread with some ingredients on top that were pierced by a toothpick to prevent them from falling. The use of the stick was renamed pincho (skewer) or banderilla (tool used in the bullfights, that is stabbed on the back of the bull), and it was these terms that by extension were used to refer to this appetizer.

His popularity grew thanks to the aristocrats of the place, which, attracted by the quality of these *pintxos, from San Sebastián gave to know this venue by all the Basque Country, to extend later his fame by all Spain.

There are differences between tapa and pintxo, although they are interpreted differently depending on each region of Spain. In general, the tapa is courtesy of the bar, while the pintxo is ordered and paid for. The lid is often part or portion of a larger plate, while the pintxo is, more often, a specific preparation, a miniature dish. Pintxos is a term originally used in San Sebastian and by extension the Basque Country, while Tapa has been a term used in the rest of Spain. However, it is common to find bars in Spain that use the term pintxo to distinguish their offer from the rest of the tapas bars in your area.

Another difference is that traditionally the pintxo has been characterized by carrying the toothpick, and is designed to be held with one hand. On the contrary, the lid has generally been served on a saucer.

The best appetizers

Nowadays, tapa and pintxo, with their differences, are the most consumed and typical types of appetizers in San Sebastian, the Basque Country and Spain and constitute a unique element of our culinary culture.