Tapas are tiny portions of appetisers served in restaurants and bars around the world. The concept was invented in Spain. If you like to experiment with a little bit of everything, then tapas are a delightful choice instead of ordering large portions. Spaniards truly have creative genes. Here’s another concept they are known for: pintxos, which are also called pinchos in Spain. If you are curious how tapas differ from pinchos, keep reading to find out the answer.  

In general, the concept of pinchos hails from Basque Country in Spain. Pinchos are often served on a piece of bread. They may also be layered with different toppings, like an open-faced sandwich. However, that’s not always necessary. Sometimes, a pincho may imply a tiny snack on a stick such as a kebab. ‘Pincho’ means ‘punctured’. So you pick it with a stick or toothpick. Some other examples of pinchos include tuna salad with anchovies, croquettes, salmon with egg and shrimp, sausage and peppers and so on.  

Pinchos. Photo: baklava

On the other hand, the concept of a tapa originated in the centre of Spain. However, it is not an actual dish by itself. One interesting story about tapas is that they were pieces of bread or meat meant to cover a drink and keep flies out. Nowadays, the term ‘tapas’ has taken on a very different meaning. Though historically, it means a style of serving a snack, today tapas are considered to be small snacks that are as essential as the drink. They are meant to be served on a plate. No matter where you go, Spanish restaurants will always have a menu for tapas. Some examples of tapas include patatas bravas, fried anchovies, chorizo sausage in cider, fried peppers with garlic, clams and so on. 

While tapas are popular all over the world, pinchos are yet to be appreciated and introduced to the world. They are displayed at a bar, and each guest gets to pick their own from an assorted range of pinchos. One can pop one pincho after the other in the mouth while standing at the bar too. Tapas, on the other hand, are shareable.  

Did you know that in some parts of Spain, a tapa is served free of charge with the drink? We just love their relaxed attitude! Unfortunately, one always has to pay for pinchos.  

Phew, we hope the difference is clear!