"Tapas" - In the beginning. Tapas is a daily event in the life of the Spanish culture. Mainly a Northern Spain, Basque regional tradition, it has grown to signify a way of eating and socializing. It is said that tapas originated centuries ago. In Spanish, the word tapa or the verb tapar means "to cover." Tapas represents the Spanish custom of placing a piece of bread over the glass of wine. It is a custom that dates back past the 1500's. Traditionally, the exact food served is less important than the social occasion. Tapas is a way of life. It signifies leisure, camaraderie and good humor. In Spain, Tapas are almost always accompanied by wine. They are not so much about talking as they are about eating and drinking. The wine is the medium that holds the conversation with friends and the food together. You make time to enjoy the moment in an unhurried way. The threefold purpose of snacking on tapas is to dull any hunger pangs that have built up since the previous intake of comestibles.