The cuisine of Spain is an attraction in itself. We suggest you put everything aside and go on a virtual gastronomic journey through Catalonia, the Basque Country and other regions of this sunny corner of Europe.
Draw up your menu now for your next trip to Spain! We hope you won’t have to wait too long.
- 1 Spanish cuisine
- 2 What are the most common foods in Spain?
- 3 Ranking of common dishes
- 4 National cuisine of Spain
Classic Spanish cuisine is built on a symbiosis of European and African culinary traditions. The very location of the country, its climate, and the great feats of conquest have contributed to the infiltration of Spanish culture with their own notes and rules.
Muslims and Christians, Buddhists, followers of Judaism and Hinduism – each religious trend, as well as the diverse national composition of the country influenced the gastronomy. Thus in different regions food in Spain is prepared differently; different products and spices are popular in different provinces and regions.
Nevertheless, there are culinary traditions that make the cuisine of Spain recognizable. And its difference from other cuisines of the world attracts tourists, who enjoy going on gastronomic tours to try new dishes and get acquainted with new tastes. So what is it worth going to a foreign country for?
What are the most common foods in Spain?
Spaniards cannot imagine their life without meat and seafood, vegetables, olive oil and spices. The menu of any restaurant necessarily contains cold soups and hot appetizers. Popular foods in Spain are sausages, sausages, wieners. Cereals and cereals are not as popular here as in Ukraine, but they are present in the kitchens of hostesses from Madrid or Catalonia. And then there are sauces. Without them the main dishes in Spain simply cannot be served.
We are ready to share with you the gastronomic sights so that you know what dishes must be ordered when traveling in this country.
Ranking of common dishes
The rating includes those gourmet dishes of Spain, whose recipes have a long history and are handed down from mother to daughter.
Omelet. This dish is also called a potato tortilla. The recipe was first recorded in 1817.
According to legend, a famous Spanish warlord during another campaign stayed in the house of a poor family in Navarre.
In the morning, the hostess did not know what to feed the noble guest, so she prepared a potato omelet from what was on hand and in the pantry.
It consisted of several potatoes, a head of onions, and a dozen eggs. The unfamiliar dish was to the guest’s taste. He memorized the recipe, and began to share it with everyone he knew. Today, the traditional tortilla is available in every café and restaurant.
It is often cooked at home, because the process is simple and does not require much time. It is noteworthy that in different regions the recipe is modified. Instead of potatoes, chefs at famous restaurants often use potato chips in this national dish of Spain. In addition to onions, the dish may include various herbs.
In some cafes the omelet is traditionally prepared in a frying pan, in others – steamed in the oven. But most often the original recipe of the Spanish omelet with potatoes is used. When in Spain, order this dish for breakfast. You won’t regret it.
Tourist note: Olive oil is extremely common in Spain. It is used in literally everything. Freshly squeezed oil is used for frying. It is the basis of many sauces. It is added to baked goods. It’s used in salads. For many tourists it is a real revelation when they bring a sweet dessert, one of the ingredients is butter.
Gazpacho is the national dish of Spain. Spicy tomato soup is an effective remedy for the heat during the summer season. In Spain they know it and love it very much. They cook it not only in the heat, but also in any other season. The recipe of gazpacho includes not only ripe tomatoes, but also onions, red peppers and garlic. Dress the dish with freshly squeezed oil. And it is served with crispy toasts.
According to legend, the hot soup was invented by travelers who were forced to spend a lot of time under the open sky. They always had inexpensive products on hand, widespread in Spain.
And the ability of this dish to thin the blood helps to cope with the heat. After all, after eating a portion of the soup increases sweating, and the body is self-cooling. Today gazpacho is the most popular first course.
The classic recipe is supplemented with cauliflower, lots of greens. We recommend trying it while traveling around the country.
Interesting to know: Spaniards are very fond of soups. As a rule, they do not use meat broths to prepare them. The main ingredients are seafood and/or vegetables. Almost all soups are served chilled. In the heat of summer, one does not start a meal without them. In addition to gazpacho, tourists often order ajoblanco, a cold soup with almonds and garlic.
Paella. A traditional Spanish dish that necessarily includes rice. Although there are many variations of the famous paella, each of their recipes deserves attention.
The classic recipe includes, in addition to rice, chicken or rabbit, the meat available to Spanish peasants. And the creation of the dish is attributed to the villagers. Pulses and vegetables were also used.
But today in the cafes you can find this Spanish dish with shrimp, mussels, cuttlefish meat.
Tourist note: The name of the dish “paella” translates as “frying pan”. And this is no accident. In a large peasant family, in order to feed everyone, the ingredients were mixed in a large frying pan that was placed over an open fire.
Cuttlefish in ink
Cuttlefish in ink. Cuttlefish ink spilled on a plate can be disconcerting, but only until the first bite. Cuttlefish in ink is served with onions, garlic, fresh herbs, and peppers. The glass of wine is unchanged. This traditional Spanish dish is always a delight for tourists.
Interesting to know: The largest number of fish dishes belongs to the Basque country. And in Catalonia and the Pyrenees, for example, the preference is for smoked sausages. In Valencia – chicken and rabbit.
Stavrid under white wine chaccoli
Stavrid under white wine chacoli is one of the most delicious fish dishes of Spain. It is a popular recipe for Spanish cuisine, which in addition to sea fish and wine includes ripe tomatoes, red onions, carrots, leeks, and garlic. The fish is stewed in wine and the rest of the ingredients are gradually added. Stavrida acquires an original flavor, which is highly appreciated by locals. Travelers on a gastronomic tour will also appreciate it.
A tourist’s note: On the dining table in Spain an obligatory element of serving is wine. It must be young, of its own production or from a neighbor’s winery. Spanish wines are of high quality and transparency. Dry red varieties are especially popular.
Teruel Migas is a simple and unforgettable Spanish dish. The cooking formula is quite simple. The preliminary step is to cut the bread into thin slices and soak it in salted water for 24 hours. After the crumb is squeezed and fried in oil. Garlic, herbs and spices are used to add spice and flavor. This delicious and hearty culinary masterpiece made of breadcrumbs is served warm. The traditional Spanish dish can be served with different additives (for example, smoked sausages or pieces of pork).
Interesting to know: Many restaurants in Spain serve snacks for free. Back in the 13th century, King Alfonso the Wise of Castile ordered that wine and beer be served only when accompanied by appetizers. The decree was aimed at preventing the nobles from getting too drunk too quickly. Today this decree is no longer in force, but the tradition has been preserved. Many establishments even today serve meat platter, pickled or baked vegetables, rice cakes, mini sandwiches, baked potatoes, without which it is difficult to imagine the national cuisine of Spain.
A traditional Spanish dish rooted in Catalonia is baked eggplant. The cooking process is done on a grill. Red peppers are added to the eggplants. The vegetables are baked until the skin turns black. It is peeled off, and visitors are served strips of juicy vegetables. The eggplants are accompanied by toast soaked in tomato sauce, anchovies or tuna.
Tourist note: It is impossible to imagine Catalan cuisine without sauces. They complement almost all major national dishes of Spain. The most popular are the following four sauces – Picada, Sofrito, Samfiana and Ali oli. Their recipe includes tomatoes, herbs, garlic, almonds, eggplant, oil, and spices.
Madrid stew. A popular, colorful, hearty Spanish national dish. Traditionally, stew is made from chickpeas and green beans, meat and smoked meats, vegetables, herbs, and spices. All the ingredients are immersed in a clay pot, in which they stew over a fire for at least three hours. The result is a hearty, warming, incredibly tasty Spanish dish.
Interesting to know: Despite the fact that the main recipes of Spanish cuisine are hot and first courses, it is impossible not to mention the salads. They are served at the beginning of the meal. Salads include steamed or fresh vegetables, seafood. The main dressing for salads is oil and lemon.
Cake Santiago. This dessert is one of the top popular dishes in Spain for its original nutty taste obtained by adding crushed almonds to the dough. It is made with flour, butter, sugar, and eggs. Traditionally, the dessert is served with a glass of red dessert wine.
Spanish cuisine: What to try
A tourist’s note: In Spanish cuisine, such dessert as cream is common. Various ingredients are grinded and whipped, after which they become a paste-like consistency. The cream is served as a separate dish, such as walnut cream. Also in Spain the national dish is milk or rice pudding.
The rating of Spanish dishes is incomplete without fragrant pastries: all kinds of pancakes with fillings, pastries made of puff pastry, buns.
The presented TOP dishes will help tourists to orientate what to try in Spain during a long or short stay in this country.
What made Spanish cuisine special?
The biggest thing you’ll notice about Spanish cuisine is that there is a huge emphasis on freshness, regional dishes and most of all, seafood and produce. These elements combine to make up one of the tastiest cuisines out of any country in the world, let alone Europe.
What’s considered Spanish food?
Some country-wide staple dishes common throughout Spain include croquetas (croquettes), paella (a rice dish incorporating different ingredients as it moves away from the area of origin in the Valencia region), ensaladilla rusa (the local name for the Olivier salad), gazpacho (a vegetable cold soup) and tortilla.
What is a Spanish culture dish that uses beef?
Cachopo is a meaty delicacy from the Spanish region of Asturias, consisting of two veal or beef steaks filled with cheese and a slice of ham. The whole concoction is then coated in breadcrumbs and fried in hot oil. The dish is traditionally served with roasted potatoes, grilled peppers, and mushrooms on the side.
Paella is one of the best-known dishes in Spanish cuisine. For this reason, many non-Spaniards view it as Spain’s national dish, but Spaniards almost unanimously consider it to be a dish from the Valencian region.
Dinner in Spain may be late, but as with tapas, it’s definitely worth waiting for. Dinner is usually much lighter than it would be in the U.S. or Britain. If eaten at home, a Spanish dinner often consists of a salad, a plate of cured ham, sausages or aged cheese, or even just a yogurt and a piece of fruit.
In Spain, breakfast (el desayuno) is the smallest meal of the day. … A typical breakfast might include café con leche (strong coffee with hot, frothy milk), bollos (sweet rolls) with jam, toast with jam or mild cheese, or simply “Maria” crackers dunked in hot milk.