Spanish cuisine is regarded around the world as one of the best, with it’s influences coming from across the whole of the Mediterranean – from Italy to Morocco – to create mouth watering dishes of meats, rice and spices that will make every potential traveller to Spain’s mouth water.
The reason for their being such diversity in Spanish food is the turbulent past of Spain over the centuries that has seen it conquered once by the Romans who brought with them their meat heavy dishes (which you can still try at Ancient Roman-style restaurants in Rome), and also once by the Arabs from the Northern edge of Africa and the Middle Eastern states who brought with them many spices and styles which must have been incredibly unusual to the local Spanish communities.
Between us all here at the TravelDoIt offices and a Q&A session with other travellers on our Twitter page, we’ve created a list of the 7 dishes that you must try on your next trip to Spain.
Probably the most commonly know Spanish dish outside of Spain is the national dish, Paella, a rice dish usually cooked in large quantities that typically combines the flavours of bell peppers, garlic, paprika and saffron with either meat, fish – or on some occasions – both!
Though not overly complicated in terms of ingredients, there’s quite the artform to be found in the process that takes a true master of Spanish cuisine to nurture and create, but don’t let that stop you from trying yourself using this Paella recipe from Totally Spain Travel – or, book a flight to Spain and try made fresh by the best!
Closely related to the highly popular Spanish bar snacks you’ll find everywhere in Spain – Tapas – in the North of Spain and most commonly found in the Basque Country, Pinchos have the slightest of changes to the norm that make them all the more exciting and one of the reasons that pinchos are popping up in bars across the country next to their tapas counterparts.
The main noticeable difference between the two foods is that most pinchos are small mounds of flavours held on to the top of slices of freshly baked bread by a long cocktail stick.
Fitting in to the typical Spanish nightlife with ease, pinchos make for a great bite to eat rather than a sit down dinner as you can select a few things between yourself and a group of friends whilst talking about the different flavours between them all, or just discussing your intense day of travel and the things you’ve seen.
We loved sitting with our new found friends in Bilbao whilst stuffing each different combination down our throats as fast as the bar could plate them, so when the time comes for us to have our next house party, we’ll be sure to use this great visual post and Pinchos recipe from TheWoksOfLife.com to make our own.
Another commonly known Spanish food that travellers to Latin America will have most certainly seen is the ‘breakfast of champions‘ – churros.
Normally taken during the morning period for a typical Spanish breakfast with either a cup of coffee with milk, or with hot chocolate (for the inner child in us all, this sweet donut-like fried pastry can also be eaten during the day either in cafes or dedicated churrerías throughout Spain which specialise in creating the perfect churros for any part of the day, either plain, stuffed, or coated with chocolate.
Should your sweet tooth be too keen to wait for your trip to Spain, you can always make your own with this Homemade Churros recipe from SpanishSabores.com
Probably the most commonly eaten snacking food in Spain is Tortilla Española, which as you can probably guess translates as ‘Spanish Omelette‘.
Much like Paella, Tortilla Española uses very few and simple ingredients to create a dish that you might just find you can’t stop eating once you start, much like a can of Pringles. It’s really a snacking food, and you’ll often find it as a choice in Tapas Bars, but don’t be fooled by it’s simple appearance. The moist texture is incredibly moreish that you’ll be going back for more and more, time and again.
Another Spanish food that you could try and make at home, why not try this Tortilla Española recipe from Pickles Travel Blog?
Most common to the Andalucía region in the south of Spain, Salmorejo bares a closed resemblance to another popular must try of Spanish cuisine – Gazpacho.
The largest difference between the two soup dishes is often topped with Serrano ham and diced boiled eggs. Quite the filling, yet freshening feast for any weary traveller.
If you’re feeling creative then why not give this simple summer dish a try by following this great Salmorejo recipe from Liz of YoungAdventuress.com who lives in the Andalucían part of Spain where this is most common.
The direct translation of this Spanish dish might be simple (garlic prawns), but the flavours certainly are not.
Comprising nothing much more than the main ingredients of prawns, garlic and red pepper; the flavour is intense and memorable and worth ordering as either full meal, or as just one part of a tapas selection at any bar or taverna.
This is certainly one even the worlds worst cooks could make (ourselves included!), so why not give this Gambas Ajillo recipe via BarcelonaBlonde.com a go?
And what better way to finish of eating all of this food than with dessert!
Similar in many ways to the France’s Crème brûlée, Crema Catalana is most noticeably different due to it’s subtle flavourings using either lemon or orange zest with a healthy pinch of cinnamon.
Making our mouths water as we write this, we’re incredibly eager to get home this evening to try this Crema Catalana recipe by Abi of InsideTheTravelLab.com
Notes and disclosure
– Crema catalana feature image is Creative Commons Licensed and remains the property of Stijn Nieuwendijk.
– Paella picture is Creative Commons Licensed and remains the property of mjlaflaca.
– Churros picture is Creative Commons Licensed and remains the property of Tim Lucas.
– Tortilla Española picture is Creative Commons Licensed and remains the property of Victor Bayon.
– Pinchos picture is Creative Commons Licensed and remains the property of Angloitalian.
– Salmorejo picture is Creative Commons Licensed and remains the property of Salmorejo.
– Gambas al Ajillo picture is Creative Commons Licensed and remains the property of Javier Lastras.
– Crema catalana picture is Creative Commons Licensed and remains the property of Stijn Nieuwendijk.