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Food Adventures in Spain

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The rain in Spain falls mainly in plain goes the tune from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Broadway musical My Fair Lady. And it’s on these fertile plains that the farmers grow the fresh fruits, vegetables, olives and wines that are key ingredients in Spanish food. Add in the fresh seafood from a long coastline and the livestock from the mountains and you have a wonderful Mediterranean diet and a gastronomic paradise. 


Over the past few thousand years, various conquering cultures have contributed to modern Spanish cuisine. The Phoenicians left their sauces, the Greeks introduced olive oils while the Romans and the Jews added their influences. However, the most distinct influences came from the Moors of North Africa – rice dishes, spices, fruits, and nuts. And when the Spanish went conquering in the Americas, they brought back potatoes, tomatoes, beans, chocolate – which are now all staples of Spanish cuisine.     


And the Spanish foods vary from region to region. Galicia in the northwest – closest to the US – is known for its savory empanadas made with meat and fish, hearty soups and fresh seafood such as Pulpo (Octopus) and fresh scallop dishes. Close to the French border lies the Basque country with a wealth of Michelin starred restaurants serving local dishes such as tuna stew, clams or crabs. 


In the south, Andalucian recipes are accented by spices inherited from its Moorish heritage. Food lovers will recognize the name Jabugo, the town where hundreds of thousands of hams cure in cool mountain caves. 



The Central Market of Valencia, València, Spain



Tapas is a food name most closely associated with Spain. Spanish food isn’t just tapas. Tapas are mid-meal snacks that satiate your hunger during the hours between a Spanish lunch and dinner.  


Best tapas in Barcelona – Photo by TimeOut


Based on the serving size rather than their ingredients, a Spanish meal can also be a plato (or a proper filling dish), a racion (small portions; great for when you have a lot of food mileage to cover), pintxo ( food that is on a stick), and montadito  (which is simply food on bread). 

After this crash course, let me tempt you with some traditional Spanish Restaurant Menu dishes to you: 



Pulpo Gallego 

Whether you happen to be in Galicia – northwestern Spain – or go there specifically, don’t forget to try this tapa. The dish consists of cooked octopus and boiled potatoes with a splash of olive oil and sweet Spanish paprika. 



A Coruña, Spain



While you are learning how to say Dinner In Spanish, you must try this delectable dish. Only the reddest and ripest tomatoes are used to make the gazpacho. It is smothered in olive oil and fragrant with garlic. The chef also adds other ingredients, such as bread, cucumber, and peppers, and blends it all into a silky smooth concoction. You might wonder how the dish would taste, but you won’t do it for long. Have a chilled bowl of gazpacho served to you and consider the mystery solved 

If your travels take you to Córdoba, then don’t forget to sample salmorejo. It is a more viscous version of the dish that is usually served with Ibérico ham.  



All the Best Restaurants In Spain serve the carrillada because its juiciness and richness are unmatched! The pork or beef cheeks in the dish are braised until they are tender enough that they will melt on your tongue. The delicious sauce they are soaked in is absolute perfection. Want our advice? Then ask your chef to make it with a sweet red wine sauce. You won’t want to stop! 



Paella is unarguably the most Popular Food in Spain and to come out of the region! You can choose between the three versions of this Spanish delicacy – one of which originates from Valencia. The first would be the Paella Valenciana. You will enjoyvarious kinds of meat, including chicken, rabbit, and duck with white rice, spices, beans, and vegetables. If you want to opt for the Seafood Paella, then the meat will be replaced with freshly caught seafood.


Just Royal Bcn, Barcelona, Spain


The Paella Mixta, on the other hand, is made with a free hand, so it combines the elements of the other versions. Instruct your chef to dole out this dish right from the paellera and have it with a cold glass of sangria. 


Jamon Iberico 

When you visit the local tapas bars or restaurants, you might see giant legs of ham hanging down from them. Called the jamón serrano and ibérico, these cured hams are one thing Spain is famous for! In fact, this ham is made using the same old techniques applied for curing centuries ago. You can’t visit the world’s largest drycured ham producer and not try any. Can you?  


Mercado de La Boqueria, Barcelona, Spain


Popular in Spanish cuisine, the delicacy Jamon Iberico comes to us courtesy of the black Iberian pigs. The Serrano, on the other hand, is the name for most other varieties of ham. Your visit will be the only opportunity to try the local recipe because it is illegal in the U.S. So, make the most of it by pairing it with a bowl of gazpacho for an unparalleled taste! 


Tortilla Española 

You may think you know this Spanish omelet, but it is nothing like the actual version. The traditional tapas dish isn’t full of pepper chunks. In its homeland, the tortilla Española or tortilla de patatas also features delicious pre-fried potatoes. Ask your chef if they would dare add some chopped onions to it. Even if they don’t, like most Spaniards, you will still enjoy the tortilla immensely.  


Patatas Bravas 

Literally meaning brave potatoes, this Spanish dish might look rustic to you. But don’t forget to try this as tapas at a local café in Spain.  

About the dish itself, you will love it. Get lost in the feel of small, fried potato chunks that are smothered in a topping of fiery red sauce. Sure, it might burn a taste bud or two off your tongue, but don’t be stingy with the sauce! In some places, patatas bravas is also served with a creamy garlic sauce. We say try it both ways. 





Local Wines 



Tempranillo and Garnacha are the main grapes used to make this berry-scented red wine. It goes beautifully with most kinds of seafood, including the richer salmon and tuna, as well as, clams. It originates from the wine region of the same name. 



Garnacha – another red– tempts you with its peppery spice while tasting of blackberries and cherries. It pairs beautifully with complex and heavy dishes, such as wild boar Spanish stew (civet) or duck with cassis. 



Look to this one when you need a white wine with citrus-like acidity and the tartness of apricot. The Albariño pairs wonderfully with Pulpo Gallego and other grilled/steamed seafood. 



Ready to start your food adventures in Spain?

Plan your gourmet getaway with us at Finest Journeys!

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