Though Spanish cuisine has roots in Roman and Mediterranean cooking, influence from Jewish and Moorish settlers differentiates Spain's cooking from the rest of Europe. Later, Spanish conquistadores brought back numerous foods from the Americas that were then introduced to the rest of Europe, including potatoes, tomatoes, peppers and beans.
What to Eat
To define Spain in food terms is easy: olives, olive oil, parsley, almonds, sherry, garlic, saffron. Add these to chicken, salt cod, seafood, game and to a lesser extent, meats, and you are almost inside a Spanish kitchen.
If you are a lover of saffron, that unique spice which adds a golden glow and warm flavor to foods, then knock yourself out in Spain. Spain is the leading producer of this, the world's most expensive spice. One ounce of saffron consists of 14,000 stigmas—and each flower produces only 3 stigmas each which are, to add to the costs, hand picked! So anytime you eat a meal with saffron it in, savor the experience—it will cost a whole lot more away from Spain.
Sherry is derived from the name and the town of Jerez, in Andalusia. This fortified wine is drunk as an aperitif, with tapas, or after dinner. Finos sherries are light, dry and usually drunk chilled, while amontillados are sweeter, more in the medium range. The most famous fino sherry is Tio Pepe from the Gonzalez Byass vineyards.
Cava is Spain's term for sparkling wine. In the U.S., many people know the Freixenet label. Another cava worth trying is Paul Cheneau Blanc de Blancs, with its clean crisp and complex flavors.
- Customs & Hospitality
- What toEat
- Menu Guide
- Festivals & Feasts
- The Tomatina (Tomato Fight)
Spanish Cookbooks with Recipes
- Catalan Cuisine by Colman Andrews
- El Farol: Tapas and Spanish Cuisine by James Campbell Caruso
- My Kitchen in Spain by Janet Mendel
- Savoring Spain & Portugal by Joyce Goldstein
- Olive Oil: From Tree to Table by Peggy Knickerbocker
- The Basque Table by Teresa Barrenechea
- The Best of Gourmet Magazine: Flavors of Spain
Tapas by Penelope Casas
- Fried Goat Cheese with Onion Confit
Queso de Cabra Frito Sobre Cebolla Confitada
- Vegetable and Goat Cheese "Lasagna"
Lasana de Verduritas con Queso de Cabra
- Fried Beer-Marinated Chicken Wings with Salsa Brava
Alitas de Pollo Marinadas en Cerveza con Salsa Brava
More Spanish Tapas Recipes
- Alioli Potatoes
- Bravas Potatoes
- Chicken Croquettes
- Fried Almonds
- Fried Calamares
- Fried Olives
- Red Pepper with Anchovies
- Salt Cod Fritters
- Shrimps with Garlic
- Spanish Orange Tart
- Spanish Tortilla
- White Beans with Vinaigrette Sauce
Back to the main Spain page
Spain on Wikipedia
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This page modified January 2007