You do not need to look for special reasons to go to Spain. Colorful history, world-famous works of art, the brightest culture, beautiful charming beaches – isn’t that enough?
And, perhaps, the most important thing – fantastic local cuisine. That’s about it today and talk, replenish the treasury of knowledge about Spanish gastronomy.
1. Features of the kitchen.
Traditional Spanish cuisine is easy to prepare. At the same time, cooking in each region of Spain is different. Blame it all on the mountains that run across the country and which acted until the last half of the twentieth century as a natural barrier to communication and transportation, including food. Another reason for the gastronomic diversity is the fact that Spain was created by uniting many small kingdoms, each of which had its own traditions.
Many Spanish dishes are prepared today using the same cooking methods and ingredients as two hundred and three hundred years ago.
The Arabs, who lived in Spain for 800 years, made an incredible contribution to the local cuisine. Other dishes originated due to European and even American influences and were later adapted to Spanish preferences. One thing is for sure, the food in Spain is fresh and very tasty.
2. What do Spaniards cook from?
The two main ingredients of all Spanish cuisine are olive oil and garlic. Despite the differences between different regions of the country, these two components were able to overcome all barriers and became widespread. Other typical ingredients and products include fish and seafood, cheeses, sausages, three types of meat (beef, lamb, and pork), eggs, fruits and vegetables, and legumes. Popular Spanish herbs and spices, in addition to garlic, include onions, oregano, rosemary, and thyme.
3. What is a must-try in Spain?
Probably the most famous Spanish dish is paella. This is stew or seafood with rice. His homeland is Valencia. Today there are a huge number of variations of paella, but there are usually two types. The first option is prepared from rabbit and chicken with the addition of long rice, chorizo pork sausage, vegetables, garlic, sweet red pepper, and saffron.
The second option is prepared from different seafood: shrimp, shellfish, crabs, and lobsters. Originally from Andalusia in the south of Spain, another special dish is cold tomato gazpacho soup. All its ingredients were previously ground by hand using a special bowl, the so-called tornillo. Today, modern Spanish chefs use a blender instead. In addition to red ripe tomatoes, gazpacho includes olive oil, garlic, bread, peppers, and cucumber. The dish is cooled before eating.
Jamon is another famous Spanish product. This is raw pork ham. To prepare the delicacy, the pork leg is first salted and then hung to dry in special cellars for 9-12 months. Serrano ham is considered to be the most common. It is prepared from a certain type of pig raised on a special diet. Traditionally, Jamon is served in thin slices with a small amount of bread before dinner. Do not forget to try a tortilla – a modest Spanish omelet during a trip to Spain. To prepare this dish, local chefs slowly fry potatoes and onions in olive oil, then mix them with beaten eggs. Chorizo, ham, spinach, and zucchini are also added to this mixture.
Of particular note is the traditional Spanish snack known as tapas. It can be completely different: from canapes to sliced slices on a plate, as well as cold and hot. Tapas can include any food: tuna fillets, cocktail olives, chips, chorizo sausage, a piece of tortilla, simmered beef cheeks, and more. Tapas are served daily in bars and cafes throughout Spain, and each place has its own interpretation of this dish and different prices. This, of course, is not all Spanish cuisine. You can talk endlessly about patatas bravas (potatoes with hot sauce), gambas al-Ajillo (shrimp in garlic), fabada (stewed beans), flan (the most famous dessert with custard), pisto (Spanish version of ratatouille), cochinillo SMA, churros (appetizer of fried dough) and much more.
4. Which restaurant to go to?
Selecting several restaurants from hundreds of thousands of establishments throughout Spain is a difficult task. But still, remember some of them. Those that really deserve attention and at the same time do not hit hard on the wallet of the average tourist. One of the gastronomic pearls of Madrid is the tapas bar La Manduca. The restaurant not only boasts a traditional snack, but also one of the best patatas bravas in the city. Try ham or one of the giant baguettes of fresh bread with salmon, brie, or caramelized onions. The terrace is open without frills, but it is the best place in the restaurant during the summer heat. The value for money here is simply incredible.
In Madrid, do not miss the Lateral restaurant. There are several such institutions in the city, and there are good reasons for this. Their diverse boasts and tapas are distinguished by democratic prices and amazing taste. Although Lateral does not book tables, the service is fast, so just go and have a drink at the bar while you wait for a free table. Believe me, goat cheese with red pepper and fillet with caramelized onions on slices of lightly toasted baguette is worth the wait. Another trendy and affordable place to dine in Madrid is the Dray Martina restaurant, which offers Spanish fusion cuisine for gourmets at a reasonable price.
A bottle of wine and a three-course lunch will cost you 25 euros per person, and a chic setting with antique wooden tables and trendy decor is perfect for dinner with a loved one, and, of course, for an evening with friends. Be sure to order eggplant with honey and hummus or special quesadillas with mahorero cheese and a special moho Verde sauce.
In Barcelona, we recommend visiting the authentic Spanish bar Can Paixano in the Barceloneta area. Since 1969, this establishment specializes in snacks and sparkling wine Coffee. There are not many seats in the bar, and there are always plenty of talkative visitors. So get ready for a real Spanish atmosphere! Here you can buy hot sandwiches and burgers for 3 euros, and a number of local meat products, cheeses, and tapas – for 3-4 euros.
For a glass of wonderful homemade wine, you will pay only 1.10 euros. Barcelona’s 100 Montaditos is considered one of the most popular Spanish fast foods. It is a chain of restaurants serving more than 100 varieties of mini-sandwiches (montaditos), cheap beer, and a sweet gourmet cocktail Tinto de Vera. For each sandwich and alcoholic beverage, you will pay from 1 to 1.5 euros. La Surena is another popular restaurant in Barcelona that specializes in Spanish tapas and seafood at reasonable prices. Here you can try shrimp, octopus, paella, meat dishes, and other hot snacks. Great place for large companies.
Once in Valencia, check out the L’Estimat restaurant. It offers a wide range of dishes, including signature paella. The terrace of the restaurant offers a magnificent view of the open sea. A large number of locals gather here on Sunday. Be sure to book a table in advance!
Whether you are coming to Barcelona, Madrid, or a city on the coast, Spanish cuisine anywhere will delight you with its taste and will be a great occasion for another trip to this country. And as the Spaniards say, when they want to wish everyone a good appetite, “Buena provecho!”.