Features of Spanish cuisine
The cuisine of Spain has a truly Royal variety. It is interesting that the traditional “set of dishes” and methods of cooking vary depending on the region. However, there are common points – and in Catalonia and Andalusia eat tapas, love gazpacho soup and, of course, the traditional Spanish paella. No meal is complete without olive oil, whether it is a dinner in the Basque Country or a light snack somewhere in a Castilian cafe. By the way, if a tourist orders ice cream on a hot summer day, it is likely that it will also be prepared on the basis of olive oil. In Spain, this type of oil is used for everything-it is fried, baked, prepared sauces, seasoned salads, added to pastries and sweet desserts.
Seafood and jamon
An integral part of Spanish cuisine is a variety of seafood. In terms of the amount of seafood consumed per capita, Spain is second only to Japan worldwide. From shrimps, oysters, mussels in Spain are prepared not only paella, but also soups, sauces, add seafood to tapas (about them – a little further) or simply served as an independent snack.
Traditional Spanish cuisine is not complete without meat dishes. The world-famous Hamon-dry-cured pork leg-the undisputed leader. In addition to jamon, Spaniards pay tribute to spicy pork sausages and smoked sausage. Popular here and black pudding-they are called “marsilla”.
Tapas-Spanish variety of snacks, indicating, however, not only the dish, but also the lifestyle of a typical Spaniard. To understand the role of tapas in the everyday life of a resident of the country, it is enough to give a simple example: in Spanish there is a verb tapear, meaning ” to communicate in a bar with friends, drinking wine and eating tapas.” The tradition of cooking tapas goes back several centuries. According to legends, in the XIII century, the king of Castile Alfonso the Wise issued a decree ordering to serve strong drinks only with snacks, so that the courtiers do not get drunk ahead of time. Plates with appetizers were placed on vessels with wine, as if covering them. So there was the first tapas (tapasпо Spanish means “cover”). By the way, until recently, many bars in Spain tapas served for free if the visitor ordered a beer or wine. In the role of tapas can act any meat (often ham or smoked sausages), as well as vegetables (pickled or baked), mushrooms, seafood, meatballs of rice, tartlets with pate or sauce, mini-sandwiches with cheese and spicy seasonings, pieces of chicken, salads and even baked in fragrant herbs potatoes. Especially popular among Spaniards and visitors of the country tortilla (a kind of tapas, which is a potato-egg casserole) and banderilla (meat, vegetables and olives on skewers).
Paprika is very popular in Spain – it is added to salads, soups and snacks, and also used as an independent snack.
From soups in the menu of Spanish cafes and restaurants you can often find variations with vegetables or seafood. Meat soups and broths are less common. Many soups are served cold – in the hot summer months this is true. The best of cold soups is considered gazpacho, which is often served in a glass. Another popular first course in Spain – ajoblanco, refreshing soup, flavored with almonds and garlic.
In the second, most Spaniards prefer paella-a dish of rice with seafood, vegetables and spices. Interestingly, the first versions of paella, which appeared in Valencia, were prepared over bonfires and exclusively by men who mixed the ingredients in a huge frying pan. The word “paella”, according to some sources, comes from the Latin name of the pan.
From sweet dishes to the Spaniards most like tiny doughnuts called churros. Churros are eaten for Breakfast, at lunchtime for dessert, and in the evening as an addition to wine or hot chocolate. Popular in Spain and “Crema Catalana”, a dessert reminiscent of creme brulee and egg cream dessert called “flan”.
And, of course, no good dinner in Spain is complete without local wine. Spanish wines have a bright taste, and the ability of local chefs and sommeliers to successfully select wines for certain dishes turns lunch into a real pleasure. In hot weather, guests can be offered a refreshing white or sparkling “cava”, and on a cool evening to the meat dish is perfect Rioja red wine. Fortified sherry is considered a great aperitif, and sweet Malaga is perfect as the final notes of the dinner.