Posted on 23/10/2020
If you've ever met Spanish people, you'll know that food and wine are a very important part of their culture, whether we are talking about Rioja, tapas or the world famous Paella. Wherever you go and whatever you choose, there will be plenty of breathtaking gastronomic experiences for you to try in Spain. They can vary from the Basque Country to Andalucía and Catalonia, but you will always find something interesting to tickle your taste buds!
Tapas are one of the most famous culinary traditions from Spain - in the Basque Country, they are called pintxos, but it is the same culinary habit. These small snacks are very enjoyable and easy to find everywhere in Spain. They usually include Spanish olives, jamón Ibérico (cured ham), local cheese (such as Manchego, Herreño or Mahón), pimientos de Padron, albondigas (meatballs in tomato sauce) or anchovies. Make sure you have some free space in your stomach because you won't be able to stop sampling different dishes!
Often served as a tapas dish as well, pil pil prawns are delicious prawns sizzled with a lot of garlic, red chillies, and lots of parsley. Rustic but very flavourful, they are easy to make but will still ravish your tastebuds! It usually comes with some crusty bread, so that you don't waste any of the delicious sauce they come with.
Hearty and warm, fabada is the perfect dish for when the temperatures drop in Spain. The bean stew is made with lots of spices, chorizo, morcilla (blood pudding), pork belly and bacon, giving it plenty of flavours and creating comfort for those who eat it. Originally from the Asturias region, you can however find it with plenty of regional variations throughout the whole country.
Also called tortilla española, the tortilla de patatas is a thick potato omelet, and a very important part of Spanish cuisine. It can be eaten as a main dish, a snack or part of a tapas selection, so it really is a versatile dish. Very comforting because of the caramelized onions that give it some sweetness, it can be cooked with various additions to make it more interesting - some people add spinach, chorizo or even cheese to their tortilla, but be careful, locals won't allow the term "tortilla" if you move too far from the original recipe!
An international emblem of Spanish food, for many people in Spain, paella actually represents the city of Valencia rather than the whole country. The traditional paella is made with chicken or rabbit, but in some places they also add some seafood in it (such as calamari, mussels, prawns, or even clams). Even if Spanish people can disagree on the real origin of paella, or on the actual recipe, what is certain is that the rice is the most important ingredient of the recipe. Fried together in a pan with garlic, saffron, paprika, and stock, the rice has to become mouth-watering and full of flavours for your paella to be a success.
One of the most popular dessert options in Spain, churros are delicious fried dough pastry cylinders, usually sprinkled with sugar or dipped into chocolate. They are a Spanish favourite for breakfast and snacks alike and can often be found at street parties or in food trucks. Definitely do not leave Spain without trying some churros... We promise it is an absolute must-try!
Octopus is a very important ingredient in Spanish cuisine - either in a tapas form, deep-fried or in more elaborate recipes. Pulpo a la gallega is a popular recipe that mixes paprika, rock salt, and olive oil with octopus and sliced potatoes. Originally from Galicia, this dish is a real treat for seafood lovers, and is a really pleasing and warming meal.
A typical tapas dish, croquetas are breaded and fried pieces of goodness, which can be filled with fantastic ingredients, such as jamón (cured ham), morcilla (blood sausage) or bacalao (fresh cod). They come with a sauce of your choice, and these are perfect little treats to get in local bars when enjoying a nice cold beer!
Very popular during the summer because it is so refreshing, gazpacho is a chilled tomato soup made with tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, garlic, and herbs, usually enjoyed with toasted bread. If you add breadcrumbs to the soup, it actually becomes salmorejo, which is an Andalusian recipe.
Another easy dish that can be part of tapas menus or enjoyed on its own is the famous patatas bravas - potatoes in cubes fried in oil and topped with a spicy sauce. They're an important part of the culture in Spain and really represent the communal aspect of socialising and sharing food with friends and family.