Spanish gastronomy is incredible. In fact, it’s one of the most famous and acclaimed in the world. If there is one thing that stands out, it is the quality of the raw materials and the varied ways of cooking them, in which simplicity (at times) and creativity (at others) do not clash. The cuisine is, undoubtedly, a true reflection of Spain’s turbulent history and varied landscapes. Yet, that is one of the main reasons why many travelers visit the country: food connects us!
That’s why it’s not easy to list the 10 most unique and exquisite foods in Spain – we could easily list 20! But we are going to try to help you take the next step and contact one of our Local in-Destination Experts in Spain to help make your gastronomic trip in Spain unique… and tasty!
As they say in Spain, “¡Qué aproveche!
Paella is, undoubtedly, the most famous dish in Spain. A rice-based meal that arouses passions both inside and outside Spain’s borders, it has variations that include meat, fish or both, as well as other local specialties. The key ingredient will always be rice, preferably in its native “Bomba” variety. Beware: In the region of Valencia – where the recipe originates – they take very seriously the fact that paella must be prepared as the canons dictate.
Another of the standards of Spanish cuisine is the potato omelette, or Spanish tortilla, which sums up very well the concept of “less is more”. It is incredible that such a simple dish, which is basically made with potatoes and eggs, generates such an intense debate among Spaniards that it divides the country between those in favor or against the inclusion of onions. And that’s not all: undercooked or overcooked?
Spain is a country that loves to eat octopus. Yet, if there is a region that professes an unconditional love for it, it’s Galicia, where the most famous recipe comes from: the octopus “a feira”. Its preparation could not be simpler: octopus, potatoes and paprika. But the quality of the ingredients (and the savoir faire of the cook) will determine whether Spaniards lick their fingers clean or not.
Gazpacho is almost a religion in Spain, especially during the summer months when this refreshing cold vegetable soup serves to break the heat and also to do it in a healthy and wholesome way. The ingredients are very basic: tomato, bell pepper, garlic, olive oil, salt and vinegar. The result, and the flavor, will depend on the quantities of each ingredient used.
A simple flour dough cooked in oil is, curiously, one of the most popular Spanish products in other countries such as France, Belgium, Portugal, Latin America and even the USA. Churros (and their sisters, the porras) are one of the most delicious sweets in Spain, especially when dipped in coffee or hot chocolate. In Spain they are famous for their “curative” properties before coming home after a night out…
Fabada is the most representative dish of Asturias’ gastronomy, and therefore one of the most delicious dishes in Spain. Its combination of the characteristic native beans of Asturias (fabes) with chorizo, black pudding and bacon (also from the land), results in a deliciously memorable spoon to mouth experience.
FISH / SEAFOOD
The Iberian Peninsula is surrounded by sea. As a result, the devotion to its fruits reaches even inland provinces without nearby ports. Whether it is the Galician seafood (famous for its quality), the tuna and its derivatives in the coasts of Andalusia, or the many ways of cooking native fish in the provinces of the Mediterranean or Cantabrian Sea, we assure you that you won’t be disappointed.
Migas de pastor is a Spanish dish as typical as it is delicious. Its origins are medieval, and are associated with transhumance. Originally it was made by shepherds with bread and a side dish of meat or vegetables. Depending on where you try it, it admits many variables, and is a local classic as a dish, portion or tapa. Although the recipe is simple, you have to know how to cook it with passion!
In Spain, there is a common saying, “they even eat the pig’s feet,” which means that every part of the animal will be used! The best way to check it and taste it is to try a suckling pig, preferably in a traditional Castilian oven, where they roast small pigs until they acquire the right degree of tenderness and flavor.
Although it is not technically a dish, sangria is undoubtedly one of the flagships of the Spanish brand. This slightly alcoholic drink has a base of red wine, with soda water and pieces of fruit. If sugar and some liquor are also added, it is said to be made “with love”. And while we are on the subject of drinks, if you happen to travel to the region of Valencia, don’t forget to try the horchata.
To round off Spain’s most delicious foods, ham is a must! A culinary delight whose fame crosses borders, it leaves no one who tries it indifferent to its unique flavors. But beware: Ham comes in different ranges from serrano ham (the most basic) to acorn-fed Iberian ham, which certifies that the pigs have been raised in the wild and fed on the fruits of the oak groves. No matter which one you choose, rest assured that they are all delicious!