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Spanish food

Spanish food

Spanish products

One of the secrets to Spanish food lies in the use of fresh, seasonal products. One always looks forward to sweet potatoes, chestnuts, pomegranates, and mushrooms in the fall. Regional Spanish cooking moves with the seasons. There are traditional Spanish dishes that one only eats at certain times of the year, either because of availability of products or simply due to custom. For example, turrón, a nougat candy made with almonds and honey is part of the Christmas holidays. It comes on grocery store shelves in October and disappears by the end of January till the next Christmas.

If the ingredients are not top quality, the dish will never be the best - no matter how good is the cook. Spain produces some excellent food products, from spices to wines, sausages to beans. Many of these are not readily available outside of Spain which is a pity as products this good deserve to be known. Our goal is to bring these products closer to you so that you can enjoy the original Spanish flavors.

Spanish Food Characteristics

Spain offers a large selection of fruits, vegetables and grains, as well a huge choice of fish from waters surrounding the Iberian peninsula. Also beef and pork make part of it. Spanish cuisine is rich in the use of olive oil and nuts which are typical for the Mediterranean diet and which are medically considered beneficial in preventing heart disease.

Find more on Spanish olive oil...

Origins and history of food in Spain

The long history of different invading nations is still visible in the authentic Spanish food. Olives, olive oil, and wine are related to Greek and Roman culture. Meat and fish pies have the Celtic origin. The Moorish influence can be found in the use of honey, almonds, citrus fruits, and spices - cumin and saffron. Spain was one of the first European countries to discover the New World and bring new foods native to the Americas, such as tomatoes, potatoes, pepper.

Present day meal structure in Spain

The day in Spain starts with a light breakfast (desayuno). Next comes in the mid-afternoon a lunch (comida), the main meal of the day with three courses, a family gathering. In the evening, a supper (cena), a lighter meal, is eaten. Small rolls called bollos can be eaten in the late morning. In the early evening/late afternoon, snacks with tea or hot chocolate with pastries, the merienda. Tapas, the famous Spanish appetizers, are eaten in the evening before supper. Read more on tapas.

Typical dishes in Spain

Tapas, paella, gaspacho soup

Find more on popular Spanish food recipes...

Popular meats in Spain

Chicken, beef, pork.

Popular fish and seafood in Spain

Cod, trout, sardines, eel, snapper, crab, shrimp, octopus, squid, oysters, mussels.

Popular vegetables in Spain

Tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini.

Popular fruits in Spain

Peaches, cherries, apples, pears, grapes, melon, watermelon.

Popular herbs and spices in Spain

Parsley, garlic, pepper, saffron, pepper, rosemary, thyme.

Find more on Spanish seasoning...