This is the first post in a series exploring the influence of tapas in food design.

Tapas, those savory bar bites served on individual bread rounds and eaten sin utensils, has a universal appeal that belies its Andalusian roots. Olives swimming in their own, fragrant oils, curled strips of cured meats and seafood brightened with local citrus are complements to the most important anchor for any tapas experience: a proper drink. “Sin Tapas,” a new photo series from Stockholm-based (by way of Madrid) food photographer Andrea Garcia Portolés explores the relationship between food and drink in an origin tale of tapas.

Ham and Beer

Tapa, or “lid” in Spanish, has a number of origin stories ranging from a 13th century Castilian king confined by illness to eating small bites to an ingenious bar owner that used a piece of ham to prevent sand from kicking up into the wine glass of a different Spanish king. But the most widely shared understanding of the origins of tapas, is also the most simple: Andalusian sherry connoisseurs used pieces of bread or meats as a lid to cover the mouth of their glasses, preventing fruit flies from landing in their drinks. From humble beginnings grew a robust menu of regional bar food. The savory snacks encourage drinkers to quench their thirst with another round, keeping seats filled and bellies full.

For “Sin Tapa,” Portolés asked, “What if the tapa (lid) didn’t exist?” In this vibrant series, the photographer explores complementary colors and shapes while contrasting the textures of food and drink. A perfectly playful pairing, just in time for summer.