From iconic Spanish dishes such as paella and gazpacho to the authentic regional specialties, Musement takes you on a gourmet tour through Spain.
Spain is famous and appreciated for a lot of things: history, monuments, museums, Game of Thrones, beaches, a harmonious lifestyle, festive atmosphere and, last but not least, its cuisine! Spain’s rich, diverse and delicious gastronomic tradition is rooted in sharing the bounty of Mother Nature. Here are ten fundamentals of Spanish cuisine.
We would be remiss if we didn’t begin this article with paella as it is undoubtedly Spain’s most famous dish.Originally from Valencia, paella is named after the large platter in which it is prepared. Closely related to family life, paella is traditionally eaten on Sundays and religious holidays/ each family has their own special recipe.
2. Tortilla de patatas
Tortilla de patatas, a potato omelet, is another Spanish signature. Traditionally shared at the dinner table, tortilla de patatas faithfully reflects the country’s generous gastronomic philosophy. The dish has humble origins as potatoes were used as a substitute for eggs, which were more expensive. Nowadays, the tortillas come in a variety of vegetables and cheese flavors and are can even be enjoyed with assorted cured meats.
“The cold soup from a hot country!” Gazpacho recalls hot summer days, long lunches on the terrace and convivial dinners with friends, remembering those beautiful Spaniards who bring joy to our lives through lively conversation. This cold tomato-based soup explodes with flavor, taking you on a journey through an Andalusian summer.
Sangria is another happy reminder of summer, parties and sunshine. Made from red wine, fruit, sugar and cinnamon, there are almost as many versions of this cocktail as there are per capita in Spain.
5. Cocido madrileño<
Cocido madrileño is not as famous as the previous delicacies, but this winter dish is a true icon of Madrilenian cuisine nevertheless. This Spanish stew is made with poultry, cured meats, chickpeas and winter vegetables. In Madrid, locals usually eat it in three steps, spread out over three consecutive courses, to maximize the palate-pleasing pleasure. First, they eat the broth, then the chickpeas and veggies, and finally the meat and cold cuts.
6. Astrurian Fabada
Fabada is a traditional dish from the principality of Asturias. Often compared to Southern France’s cassoulet, Astrurian Fabada consists of white beans, black pudding, chorizo, chopped pork, paprika and saffron. This comforting dish always warrants a Spanish siesta for digestion.
7. Pulpo a la galega
A Galician-style octopus that is a staple at local fairs, the Galicians call it pulpo a feira (fair-style octopus). Available everywhere in Spain, it can be purchased at the market or enjoyed as a tapa. Traditionally cooked in a copper pot, Pulpo a la galega is always prepared right in front of you and seasoned with a few drops of olive oil, salt, and Pimenton de la Vera – an authentic Spanish smoked paprika powder.
8. Jamón iberico
No trip to Spain would be complete without tasting Iberian ham. Nicknamed pata negra (black hoof), this particularly exquisite delicacy is a staple of Spanish cuisine made from rare ‘black pigs’. Aged for 18 to 36 months, jamón iberico can be enjoyed any time of the day – as an appetizer, tapa, and even an afternoon or breakfast snack! Easy to slice with a knife, jamón iberico pairs perfectly with queso manchego, an excellent Spanish sheep cheese.
9. Patatas bravas
Patatas bravas are the ultimate tapa! No matter which bar you visit in Barcelona, you are highly likely to be served some alongside your your aperitif…the perfect way to refuel after a visit to Sagrada Familia or Park Güell! Seasoned with spicy salsa brava, these fried potatoes are delicious! Originally invented in Madrid, patatas bravas are popular all over Spain, and as with many other beloved classics, there are countless versions of this delicacy all around Spain.
10. Tarta de Santiago
What to eat for dessert? Made with almonds, sugar and eggs, Tarta de Santiago is a Galician cake prepared in honor of Spain’s patron saint: St. James. Usually eaten in July during the T. James festivities, tarta de Santiago was made popular by the pilgrims who discovered it on their travels to Compostela and decided to bring it home with them. This sacred cake has been decorated with the cross of the Order of Santiago since 1924.