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Eating Out in Spain

Like the country itself, Spanish cuisine is a rich and varied one. A combination of excellent ingredients, century old traditions and a host of new culinary professionals have helped put Spain at the top of the list in Europe when it comes to quality food and drink.

Some of the more traditional Spanish dishes include tapas which are little snacks that you will sometimes receive free with your drink. Another favourite throughout the country whether you are on the coast or inland is deep fried fish. Among those you should sample are calamares (squid), lenguado(sole), boquerones (anchovies) and gambas (shrimp or prawn). Gazpacho is probably the best well known of all Spanish specialties and is a chilled soup which is like a liquid salad which had been thickened with bread dough and flavoured with olive oil, garlic and vinegar.

When it comes to regional favourites, fish and seafood is especially popular in the north and the Basque tradition of baby eels are one of the country’s top culinary attractions. Another popular dish, particularly in Asturias, is fabada which is a type of bean stew. If you are heading to Cataluna you are entering the land of the casserole but the area is also famous for its sausages, cheeses and sauces just in case casseroles are not really your thing. Valencia and the surrounding area are the rice specialists. Most of you are probably familiar with paella but you should also try some of the other dishes including caldera. Andalucia is where you will sample the best of the fried food mentioned above as well as Jabugo ham which is regarded as a true delicacy.

Finally, if it’s alcohol you’re after, and it probably is, the Spanish have also excelled themselves. The country is one of the top wine producers in the world and the favourites include Rioja and Catalan Cava as well sherry, the most international of all of the Spanish wines. Liqueurs are also extremely popular and although their brandy is probably the best known of these, there are also several herb liqueurs from Galicia and Ibiza, Pacharan from Navarre, Levantine Absinth, Anisette from Chinchon and Cazalla from Andalucia.

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