NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Tapas are one of the great Spanish contributions to world cuisine. They are both delicious and humble, presenting Spain’s gastronomic riches -- hams, cheeses, beef from the northwest part of the country, seafood from the Mediterranean and the Atlantic -- in a casual format that is often a prelude to dinner.
Spaniards wash their tapas down with modest beers and wines and with sherry, a fortified wine that comes from Jerez, Sanlucar and El Puerto de Santa Maria, three towns about an hour and a halfwest of Gibraltar. The crisp, saline character of Fino and Manzanilla sherry is perfect for tapas. Below, we take you on a tapas crawl through El Puerto, whose entrancing streets are reminiscent of Havana.
It helps to start with great product, which southern Spain has in abundance. Cadiz, 30 minutes south of El Puerto, has a market that teems with all kinds of seafood that the natives purchase to prepare at home. They expect similar quality when they go out.