Spain is a delightful blend of culture, architecture, history, friendly faces and of course, food! From the delicious tapas, which you’ll find in any self-respecting restaurant and bar in any city across the Iberian Peninsula, to the gastronomic seafood celeb of paella and not forgetting lots and lots great wine, the options are endless. Each region in Spain is fiercely proud of its local identity and culture and regardless of where you find yourself in this vast and fascinating country, you’ll quickly discover that one of the cornerstones in every regional self-image is the local food. We’ve collected (and sampled) the five following dishes, yet these are just a few examples of the great variety of dishes you’ll find in Spain.
Pintxos – Basque Country
Tapas is one of the main food pillars of Spanish society and an absolute mainstay in every bar on the Iberian Peninsula. In the northern parts of Spain, tapas has a culinary sibling that, particularly in the Basque Country, is an absolute must for any bar-dwelling visitor. Knowns as pintxos, this delicious snack usually consists of a little piece of bread, whereupon various ingredients, such as small sausages, anchovies or cured ham, are fastened to it by a toothpick, making it an easy thing to pinch(o) when you’re feeling a bit peckish.
Gazpacho – Andalucia
The midday heat of the Andalusian sun can be relentless during the summer months. Luckily, locals have invented a dish that is as refreshing as it is delicious. Served cool, gazpacho is a dish that comes with numerous different twists and is said to have been introduced to the region originally by the Romans. The dish mainly consists of bread, raw vegetables, olive oil, vinegar and of course tomatoes. The latter was added to the recipe by locals a couple of centuries ago, and although today you’ll find many gastronomic variations on the theme, nothing beats the classic version of chilled Gazpacho.
Sobrasada – Balearics
Selections of cured meat is a favourite snack throughout the country, and if you’re holidaying in either Majorca or Menorca, you must try the local delicacy that is known as the Sobrasada sausage. Consisting mainly of ground pork, paprika and other spices, the soft content of this sausage means that it is usually spread across bread when served. If you’re a fan of the more famous Spanish snack, chorizo, then a slice of Sobrasada is definitely something to try in between basking in the Balearic sun.
Arepas – Canary Islands
For centuries the Canary Islands were the main stopping point for sailors travelling between Spain and South America. These seafarers not only brought things from their native lands with them, they also introduced many South American things to these small islands in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. One of these is the Venezuelan arepa. A fried corn pancake, they are served with lots of fillings and trimmings, usually including shredded beef or chicken, black beans and salsa. Throughout the islands, you’ll find this delicious street food and you can usually choose between a wide range of ingredients, meaning that you can create the exact combination that your taste buds are searching for.
Crema Catalana – Catalonia
A delicious dessert similar to crème brulee (although if you’re ordering this in Barcelona, it’s probably wise not to mention any relation to its French counterpart, apparently it’s a touchy subject). The Crema Catalana is a great conclusion to any dinner when holidaying in Barcelona and the northern parts of Spain. The desserts differ from the French “other”, by using milk rather than cream, as well as being prepared in a slightly different way. The main point, however, is that regardless of anything, this is a dessert that has to be sampled at least once –and preferably more, when you’re dining in Catalonia.