The Art of Tapas Coming to Saratoga

By Rachael Mt. Pleasant
June 12, 2012

The word “tapa” is defined as “lid” or “cover.” The origin of tapas is widely disputed, yet there are a few common stories to explain their submergence in the Spanish culture. The first explanation is quite simple, saying that tapas began as pieces of bread that were placed over drinks to keep the flies out. Others argue that once upon a time in Spain, a king came down with a sickness that forced him to eat small snacks while drinking wine between meals. After his recovery, the king insisted that no one was to drink without eating in order to combat the many health concerns associated with drinking on an empty stomach. The third explanation is that farmers and tradesmen in Spain needed nourishment before lunch. They started eating small amounts of food to get them through the morning, which were also easier to digest and allowed them to work longer.

Heuvos Fritos con chorizo y patatas - Contimpalitos chorizo, crispy potato, fried egg, aioli

Not to be confused with appetizers, tapas consist of three main categories: cosas de picar, pinchos, and cazuelas. Cosas de picar refers to food eaten with the hands, such as olives. Pinchos require the use of a utensil while cazuelas are tapas that come in a sauce, such as meatballs. Tapas consist of fresh, easy ingredients and are simple in preparation and presentation. These types of tapas will all be featured on Boca Bistro’s menu.

“This type of restaurant is encouraged to be a communal dining experience. From being in Spain and going out and having tapas, I found that they were a type of “pre-snack” before dinner but also a way of eating. We developed the menu in the sense that if you don’t want to eat a full meal, you can order a bunch of different things,” said Roslyn Zecchini, Executive Chef at Boca Bistro.

Tapas are known not just as small dishes, but rather an integral part of Spanish culture. Tapas bars are places where people of all ages and classes come together to share in their love for company and good food and drinks. The vibrant atmosphere of chatter and the aroma of fine wine mixed with Spain’s delicacies are what make this style of eating so unique. The simplicity of this combination truly heightens the quality of life for the people of Spain because pure enjoyment is revered as a constant value in their culture.

Because of this correlation, a tapas bar in Saratoga is the most natural progression for the food scene. Saratoga is the epitome of new experiences in the company of others because of the many things the city has to offer.

Boquerones - White anchovy marinated in vinegar and oil, guindilla and piquillo pepper, lemon, aioli

“Our intention was not to limit ourselves as just a tapas restaurant because certain people might want to be fulfilled with one thing. Boca is marketed as a Spanish/Tapas/Mediterranean restaurant so that we’re not limited strictly to one area. Once the restaurant opens and the menu becomes live, we’ll have fun with specific variations of tapas as happy hour specials,” Roslyn said.

Boca Bistro will be a perfect addition to the already vibrant and diverse cuisine style of Saratoga with its traditional tapas, something that has yet to be seen in this area, and is sure to expand the horizons and tastes of guests throughout the region.

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