Tapas and paella are two components of traditional Spanish meals. They both originated in Spain and are still served in homes and fine restaurants today. Each one is a favored selection for diners and has its own type of serving platter or dish. Authenticity in serving these dishes requires a Spanish terracotta platter for the tapas and a Spanish terracotta cooking and serving dish for the paella. These clay dishes are beautifully decorated with the vibrant colors that are a long-standing tradition in Spanish pottery and ceramics.
The Spanish word for appetizer is tapas. These tasty tidbits are served with drinks and before meals. The Spanish take their appetizers seriously and proper etiquette requires they be served on a beautiful platter made of terracotta. These attractive square platters are decorated in traditional Spanish styles and feature the bright colors associated with tiles and dishes created by artists in Spain. The appetizers themselves can be made up of various products and served either hot or cold. Cheese, olives and tomatoes are a great combination for a cold appetizer. Fried meats such as baby squid and pan roasted vegetables are served as hot appetizers.
Paella is a dish that is fried on top of a stove and served in the cooking vessel. Terracotta clay baking dishes are the traditional way to cook and serve these tasty main courses in Spanish cuisine. Terracotta is used because it stands up to intense heat and the meal will continue to cook even as it is served. Traditional Spanish terracotta pots for paella are brightly colored to enhance the beauty of the food and table.
Traditional paella combines saffron-colored rice with a variety of foods. The mix of foods depends upon what is easily available at the time. There are no particular meats or vegetables that must be served in an authentic Spanish paella dish. The food is cooked on top of a fire or stove and delivered to the table just before it is done cooking. Carryover cooking times for paella in a traditional terracotta pot are up to ten minutes long. As the food cools and is ready to serve, the guests help themselves to this beautiful meal right out of the pot.