10 facts about Spanish cuisine
Spanish cuisine is one of the most popular in the world. Much is known about it, while much of the information available to non — professionals in gastronomy is not true.
Let’s try to put the basic facts about Spanish cuisine in 10 points and dispel the most serious myths about the cooking of this country. Let’s get started!
Real Spanish cuisine is quite simple. No wonder! Modern cooking in Spain has absorbed the traditions of many centuries, and began its history as the kitchen of the peasants. Over time, the Spanish gastronomy was updated and diversified, which is why today there are so many variations of the classic national dishes of this country.
Spanish cuisine is not just Spanish cuisine! It is a synthesis of gastronomic traditions from 17 different regions of the country. Each of them is like a small but independent country, which has its own favorite products, recipes and ways of cooking. For example, in Catalonia they love sauces, in Cantabria-seafood, in Valencia-rice. In Andalusia, dishes are often cooked deep-fried, and Baka (Basque cuisine) is more like Abkhazian.
Despite the heterogeneity of Spanish cuisine, it is possible to identify key features. Its main ingredients are onions, garlic, olive oil, wine and herbs. Also very popular are beans, lentils, beans, vegetables and fruits. Spaniards like to stew dishes in wine, cook them on the grill and bake with sheep cheese.
The established opinion in the world about the “diet” of Spanish cuisine is absolutely wrong. Gastronomy of this country does not live by the rules attributed to her Mediterranean diet, involving meals of beans, vegetables, fruits, rice, seafood, herbs and cereals, a small amount of nuts and a minimum of meat. This kitchen in General is really useful, but not so limited. So, the Spaniards love fruits and vegetables, but they do not eat as often and a lot, as it should be on the above — mentioned diet-2.5 cups of juice (or 2 apples) and 2 plates of salad a day. In addition, Spanish cuisine meat dishes more than fish. Seafood is favored in only three regions: Galicia, Andalusia and Cantabria. And on plates Spaniards indeed more often can be meet not sardines or trout, and juicy slice of meat. Or their national pride — Hamon (dry-cured pig’s leg).
Today, olive oil in Spain is used in every home. However, this was not always the case. The tradition of using olive oil in cooking came only in the XX century. Before that, in Spanish cuisine used a simple animal fat, most often pork.
To get an idea of Spanish cuisine, you should first try its “classics”: paella (in the classic version it is rice with saffron, vegetables, chicken, spices, wine, herbs, as well as 6-7 different seafood and fish), gazpacho (cold soup-puree of vegetables with seasonings), tapas (all kinds of snacks from a piece of bread with anything from cheese with olives and ending with boiled blood with onions), tortilla (potato omelette with meat, mushrooms and fish), smoked sausage “Serrano”, finally the famous ham. And it is best to travel to different regions of Spain to understand how different can be the cuisine of this country and how many other interesting dishes it involves.
A typical Spanish dinner usually starts with a salad, seafood, beans or boiled vegetables rather than the first course. And already they are followed by the soup. Breakfast at the Spaniards takes place at 9 am and usually consists of coffee and light pastries. Dinner begins very late: not earlier than 9 PM, and sometimes at 11.
Spaniards are very fond of wine, sangria (sweetened wine with fruit and spices), sherry (Spanish fortified wine), cider and increasingly drink beer. But not too indulge their attention coffee or tea. Among soft drinks are popular horchata (drink made from almonds) and granizados (frozen juice).
Interesting fact: we owe mayonnaise to one of the Spanish Islands — Menorca, or rather its capital, Mahon. It was not invented here, but the universal “sauce” was named in honor of this city.
One of the most famous Spanish desserts is turron (nougat with nuts). Once it was prepared exclusively for Christmas, but with the advent of the popularity of sweets began to make and sell all year round. The festive table of Spaniards is not complete without another dessert-polvorones (very crumbly cookies with cinnamon, sesame, almonds and various fillers). In Murcia and Valencia like desserts of zest, and in the Basque Country and Asturias most popular baked apples. Also in Spain are very fond of various creams and puddings.