TAPAS. A Story of Spanish Food Invention

Acción Cultural Española, AC/E

Acción Cultural Española

Spanish culture has dreamt up ingenious inventions and solutions throughout history. This exhibition, organized and produced by Acción Cultural Española (AC/E), shows how design finds solutions to challenges posed over the years by the world of cuisine, through two hundred objects divided into three sections—Kitchen, Table and Food.

Chronology TapasAcción Cultural Española, AC/E

Cover KitchenAcción Cultural Española, AC/E

The Kitchen

Design for Cooking

Pressure cookerAcción Cultural Española, AC/E

In 1919 the first olla exprés patent was awarded to José Alix Martínez entitled, “A pan for all kinds of stews that shall be called olla exprés”.

Minipimer MR1. Hand blenderOriginal Source: Pimer

The Minipimer hand blender is more than 50 years old. This practically indispensable cooking appliance was invented by Gabriel Lluelles for the Spanish company Pimer, which later merged with Braun. It was the first hand-held blender designed and made in Spain.

Its elegant and compact design were a new improvement on other models. It weighed just two pounds and replaced models that weighed more than six and a half pounds. Millions of Minipimer blenders were sold.

Cha-Chá. Ham standOriginal Source: The Original Cha-Chá

A portajamones or jamonero is a form of clamp fixed to a wooden stand, specifically designed to hold a leg of jamón serrano (Spanish cured ham) while it is sliced. The device originated in Spain.

This stainless steel, foldable ham stand can amply accommodate an entire leg of cured ham. It incorporates a porcelain tray in the base, which collects fat, can be released when carving, and can also be used for serving the carved slices of cured ham.

Citromatic MPZ-2. Citrus juicerOriginal Source: Braun

The designers Dieter Rams and Gabriel Lluelles devised this citrus squeezer in 1970 for the Braun company. It is elegant, stylish and minimalist and is still one of the most efficient machine of its type on the market. The German company commissioned the design from a Spanish designer, since Spain is so well known for its oranges.

Roner ROriginal Source: ICC International Cooking Concepts

El Roner R is a Spanish invention born from a collaboration between ICC, Joan Roca (El Celler de Can Roca, Girona) and Narcís Caner (Fonda Caner, Girona). It allows cooks to cook in a bain marie with a consistent temperature, which is maintained throughout the food being cooked.

It also enables controlled low-temperature cooking, and has a range of 40º F to 212º F. It is adaptable for use with any kind of food and has a maximum capacity of five gallons. Its design makes the Roner R particularly well suited for cooking food such as meat, fish, poultry vegetables, terrines, pates, jellies and preserves, that have previously been vacuum packed.

Cover TableAcción Cultural Española, AC/E

The Table

Design for Eating

Wine jug Wine jugAcción Cultural Española, AC/E

A small wineskin. Traditionally made of goatskin or leather and made internally waterproof using pitch, wineskins have spouts and screw caps made from bone, and are ideal for serving wine. They are sewn around the edges except for the neck.

What is a Bota de vino?Acción Cultural Española, AC/E

What is a Bota de vino?

PorrónAcción Cultural Española, AC/E

This is a wine pitcher (a porrón, in Spanish). It’s made from glass, with a long slender neck and a broad belly, and has one spout for drinking from, and another, larger, opening for filling with wine and admitting air, which also serves as a handle. The porrón is traditionally used to share wine among company in a hygienic way, without the vessel coming into contact the mouths of drinkers.

What is a Porrón?Acción Cultural Española, AC/E

Botijo (Jug)Acción Cultural Española, AC/E

This voluminous vessel (a botijo, in Spanish), is made of porous clay. It has a handle and two openings: a wide one for filling and a spout for drinking. The principle is simple: the water inside filters through the porous clay and evaporates on contact with the hot, dry exterior during the Mediterranean summer, thus lowering the temperature of the contents. The cooling occurs as the water evaporates, extracting the heat from the jug.

How to make a BotijoAcción Cultural Española, AC/E

Anti-drip oil cruetOriginal Source: Mobles 114

Rafael Marquina, born in 1921 and regarded as one of the pioneers of industrial design, became world famous through his anti-drip olive oil dispensers, which he created in 1961. The olive oil and vinegar cruets have a spout from which the liquid emerges and a conical transparent glass opening, which collects drips of liquid and guides them back into the flask.

RS#2 Dining TableOriginal Source: RS

RS#2 is a table football dining table, a spectacular reinterpretation of a classic element of Spanish culture. If you install a sheet of thick, strong glass on the top, as chef José Andrés has done for his restaurant Jaleo, it becomes a unique dining table.

Corkscrew 'Doble palanca'Original Source: Boj

Double-lever corkscrew with a polished chrome finish. Practical and effective, performing its duties in seconds with minimum effort. Designed in 1932.

Ricard 1964. Ice tongsOriginal Source: Mobles 114

As though it were an extension of the human body, these tongs work like the thumb and index finger as they pick up food. The timeless Ricard tongs have become an icon of modern gastronomy design.

Cover FoodAcción Cultural Española, AC/E

The Food

Design for Food

TapaAcción Cultural Española, AC/E

The word tapa, meaning ‘cover’, comes from the act of covering a glass of wine with food. The origin of this custom is uncertain - explanations range from royal decrees to avoid drunkenness, health advice or simply to keep insects or dust out of glassware.

Whatever the case, for over a century tapas have been a traditional Spanish way of snacking. A tapa is any small portion of food, hot or cold, cooked or raw, served with a drink. But ‘tapear’ (eating tapas) has become inextricable linked to socializing, and created an alternative to formal eating that is is unique to Spain, but which has spread all over the world.

Barra de tapasAcción Cultural Española, AC/E

Olive stuffed with anchovyAcción Cultural Española, AC/E

According to the architect Oscar Tusquets, the anchovy-stuffed olive is ‘the best Spanish invention of all time’. It is a typical Spanish product. And its creation is born out of acomplex process: you must harvest the olive, cure it, stone it, insert a piece of anchovy and close it up again with the leftover olive flesh. A textile mill owner and founder of the Serpis company from Alcoy invented an olive stoning machine that simplified the job and paved the way for large-scale industrialization.

Chocolate with churros Chocolate with churrosAcción Cultural Española, AC/E

Spain was the first country to import cocoa from the Americas to make chocolate, and from where it spread to the rest of Europe. Cocoa became popular in the 17th century and it was drunk hot and sweet. It was only as industrialization began to bite in the early 19th century that cocoa began to be produced in solid form.

Chocolate with churrosAcción Cultural Española, AC/E

In Spain, to accompany hot chocolate it is customary to enjoy sweet bread, biscuits or churros. The churro is typical of Spain, even though it can be found in other countries. It is a deep-fried doughy confection extruded from a star-shaped nozzle, giving it a characteristic striated shape, which creates an extra-crunchy texture after frying.

ChurrosAcción Cultural Española, AC/E

Paella PaellaAcción Cultural Española, AC/E

The paellera, or simply paella (from the Latin patella, cooking vessel) is a special skillet for cooking the famous dish made from rice simmered with a variety of ingredients.

PaellaAcción Cultural Española, AC/E

It originated in the Albufera district of Valencia, but has become a typically Spanish dish known all over the world. The diameter of a paellera is usually very large in proportion to its depth, which helps optimize cooking. Paelleras have a handle at either side to make them easier to lift.

How to prepare a paellaAcción Cultural Española, AC/E

Chupa Chups Chupa ChupsOriginal Source: Chupa Chups

The popular Spanish confectionary Chupa Chups were invented in 1958 by the businessman Enric Bernat so that children could enjoy candy without getting sticky. About twelve million Chupa Chupsare sold worldwide every day. A Chupa Chups lollypop forms part of the permanent collection of the MoMA in New York. Since 2006 the brand has belonged to the Italian group Perfetti Van Melle.

Chupa ChupsOriginal Source: Chupa Chups

The logo is the work of Salvador Dalí.

Credits: Story

Organized by
Acción Cultural Española (AC/E)

Juli Capella

Digital Set up and Programming
Raquel Mesa (AC/E)

More info >

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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