Food In Spain
Perhaps less famous than its European counterparts such as France and Italy, the cuisine of Spain is equally as tantalising. A cuisine based on quality Mediterranean ingredients, the liberal use of olive oil and the concept of small dishes, known as tapas, Spanish cuisine is reason alone to travel to the country. From classics such as paella and Spanish omelette to tasty tapas dishes and indulgent sweets, wherever you travel in Spain an unforgettable gastronomic experience is never far away. Here are just a few of the most unmissable Spanish dishes to enjoy on your next trip!
Known to many as ‘Spanish omelette’, tortilla is something of a controversial dish, with each region in Spain producing its own varieties. Whilst some will argue that an authentic tortilla can only be made with potatoes and eggs, other variations include onions, peas, peppers and chorizo. Tortilla is notoriously thick and is served in slices, often as a tapas dish. On the other hand, slices of tortilla can be eaten within a bread roll as a hearty lunch or evening meal. Ready-made tortillas can also be purchased in supermarkets and eaten cold or warmed up at home.
The go-to dish for newbies to tapas, patatas bravas are simply fried potatoes accompanied by a spicy tomato-based sauce. You’ll find these tasty potatoes on the menus of pretty much any Spanish restaurant and they’re usually shared between friends as a snack when out for drinks. You’ll never know how spicy the sauce is until you try it. Different restaurants and bars have their own take on the traditional bravas sauce so it can be fun trying different restaurants to find your favourite take on patatas bravas!
There’s no more famous Spanish dish than paella. This Spanish rice dish is embedded in the culture of Spain and it originated in the region of Valencia on the Mediterranean coast. At any cultural event, celebration or just because it’s a Sunday, Spanish people will cook and eat paella. It’s an occasion dish, best prepared in an authentic paella pan and shared with friends and family. Paella consists of saffron-infused rice, cooked in a stock with either seafood, vegetables or meats such as chicken and rabbit. There are hundreds of different varieties, and today, even vegetarians can find variations to suit their requirements. A trip to Spain would be incomplete without eating paella, just keep in mind that restaurants usually serve paella for a minimum of two people so bring your friends and enjoy the most famous dish in Spanish cuisine!
A popular tapas dish, boquerones are fresh anchovies marinated in vinegar and olive oil. Usually served up alongside a cold beer, boquerones are the perfect finger food and make a pleasant snack on a warm summer's day. Seasoned with garlic and parsley, these tasty fish can be found on the menu of any tapas bar.
Hailing from the region of Andalusia, gazpacho is a cold soup, made from stale bread, tomato, cucumbers, onion, peppers, garlic and olive oil. This is a staple in Spanish cuisine, large cartons of it can be purchased at any supermarket. Whilst it may seem counterintuitive to eat soup when it’s cold, gazpacho is designed to be a refreshing dish and is best enjoyed in the hot summer months. Furthermore, it’s a thoroughly healthy dish and really showcases the flavours of Spain’s principal ingredients.
Pork is a mainstay in traditional Spanish cooking, and Jamon, or cured ham, is integral to many great dishes in Spain. You’ll find whole legs of Jamon on display in restaurants, supermarkets and bars across the country. Slices of ham are carved from these whole legs and sometimes served as a tapas dish or used in sandwiches and other Spanish dishes. You may also find Jamon referred to as jamón serrano in Spain.
Pimientos de Padron
Found on any tapas menu or served as a side to meat or fish dishes, Pimientos de Padron are flame-grilled green peppers, usually sprinkled with a generous pinch of salt. Simple yet sensational, these delicious peppers are not usually spicy, but sweet and mild instead. Pimientos de Padron originated in the Galician town of the same name in northwest Spain.
No Spanish breakfast table is complete without a loaded plate of churros. The eternal appeal of this sweet dish is undeniable, and you’ll find churros on the menu at cafes across the country. Churros are long sausage-shaped pieces of deep-fried dough, sprinkled with sugar and usually dipped in a steaming mug of thick hot chocolate. As well as a breakfast dish that you’ll look forward to waking up to, churros are a mainstay of any Spanish festival or event, where you’ll find roadside vendors serving up these delicious, sugary treats!