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Thursday, December 26, 2013 (read 387 times)

Spanish Food - more than Paella

by Abigail

Spanish Cooking

Although easy to name the globally-renowned paella, chorizo and chocolate con churros touristfood favorites, visitors are often pleasantly surprised upon arriving on Spanish soil to discover that these popular choices represent only a fraction of what this gastronomically-rich nation has to offer. With each of the seventeen regions taking pride in serving delectable, local dishes, it is the sheer diversity and abundance of Spanish food available which makes a tour around the country so enjoyable. From Galicia’s paprika-seasoned pulpo a la gallega (octopus) to Asturias’ warming fabada asturiana (bean stew)to Castile and León’s sumptuous cochinillo asado (roast suckling pig) , Spanish food is almost synonymous with diversity and therefore successfully satisfies the taste buds of even the most apathetic consumer.  

Galicia’s Fiesta del Marisco (Seafood festival) enables the 220,000 visitors who attend every year to taste the best of the northern coast’s fish and shellfish at surprisingly reasonable prices.      

Spanish Tapas 

Having even created a verb, tapear, to describe the activity of going out to eat tapas, Spaniards take great delight in eating the wide-ranging, snack-sized dishes both during the day and at night.       

Central to the nation’s social fabric, Spanish food is certainly never in shortage. By simply ordering a drink at a bar, visitors can often expect to see their chosen beverage accompanied by an inviting pincho or tapas dish completely free of charge. Literally translating to ‘thorn’ or ‘spike’, given that many are served with a toothpick or skewer, pinchos, a traditionally Basque delicacy,  vary in form depending on geographic location but usually consist of a small slice of baguette topped with anything from tortilla española (Spanish omelet) to anchoa y pimiento verde (anchovy and green pepper) to jamón ibérico (Iberian ham). Although often confused given their mutually-small portion size, tapas, on the other hand, tend to be slightly larger dishes ranging from aceitunas (olives) to calamari (fried squid) to croquetas de jamón (ham croquettes).

Possibly the most important word when it comes to Spanish cuisine, la comida, which also simply translates to ‘food’, is the word used for the largest meal of the day and is usually eaten between 2 and 4pm.  Generally consisting of multiple courses beginning with a light salad or soup primer plato (first course), followed by a heavier meat, fish or stew segundo plato (second course) and ending with a flan, sweet pastry or cake postre (dessert), a typically-filling Spanish lunch is quick to cure any previous hunger pangs and justifies the desire of a few Spaniards to spend the mid-afternoon, post-lunch period enjoying a quick siesta.

Perhaps inspired by the enviable skills of Spain’s culinary kings, tourists often flock in their multitudes to the country’s numerous food markets in an attempt to perfect their newly-discovered, favorite Spanish recipes. Worthy of particular mention is Barcelona’s La Boquería, which covering 2,583 square meters and offering visitors an array of mouthwatering, gastronomic delights from more than 270 stalls, is a food heaven for cooking enthusiasts. From succulent meats to locally-caught fish to fresh fruits and vegetables, La Boquería is not only impressive for its colossal size but also for the multi-colored appearance of its carefully-displayed products which is a work of art in itself.

Always recommendable to try something new when tasting local cuisine why not go beyond the obvious, and internationally-known, food options on your holiday this year and order an unfamiliar Spanish dish; most likely the choice of the Spanish frequenters too, the dish is unlikely to disappoint!

Keywords: spanish food,spanish recipes,spanish dishes,spanish tapas,food in spain,spanish cuisine,spanish cooking

Posted In: Spain


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