Tapeo, verb from the noun tapas and the suffix eo, informal slang for meeting friends in the street to walk together to a bar for a drink and something to eat – a holy tradition in Spain and definition of happiness for many.
Imagine an evening so warm that you are out without a coat. The sun is dipped below the horizon out the cobbled street give off a welcome heat and there’s a flicker of anticipation, a feeling in the air that the night ahead exist only for pleasure. Now imagine that a few of your favourite people have appeared and you are walking together, with the sole aim of procuring snacks and refreshments of some kind. Perhaps you will have a glass of win, may be a Martini probably some calamares, You will have a glass of drink and then move on to another bar o do the same again. And again. And again. until you decide to call it a night, safe in the knowledge that a good time has been had by all. Now doesn’t that sound tempting? this is if de tapeo – and this Spanish happiness.
Tapeo is everything in Spain – whatever you are Diego a graphics designer from Andalusia tell me ” Even if you live in the country side, you will get about from your village every Saturday night’ ‘ Life without tapeo is unimaginable confirms my friend Marta from San Sebatian. You might go out on a Saturday and start at 7.30pm then see where the night takes you, ‘ir de tapeo ( going for tapas) usually involves an alcoholic beverage in one hand and snacks in the other with both consumed standing up at the bar or on the street. Spaniards chat, eat and drink then walk to the next bar and repeat the process until at least three establishments and possibly seven or so have been patronised, Marta tells me
‘ If you are in your twenties you will be out until around 11 am the next day when it is time to go for some Churros dipped in Chocolate sauce say Diego. Diego is in his twenties, Then if you are in your thirties – he near shudders at the thought it can be 5am or 7 am – and in your forties may be 2 am , but no earlier!’ Don’t you feel like death the next day? Sure you!’ he tells me, but apparently this is fine because you know you are going to feel bad so you don’t make plans. The Spanish don’t do brunch. We are like what is this? It is the weekend ! why are you up before noon? No. Just “no” instead tapeo fatigues Spaniards may have breakfast at 1 Pm follow by a light lunch at 3 pm before starting all over again.
There is no socialising with out food or drink in Spain.