The Best Foods to Try While in Spain

paella

 

Spain has a mixed but diverse heritage which indeed is reflected in its dishes and drinks. Spain being a Mediterranean country the food and culture have had a strong influence of its origins. As a result, the Spanish dishes have some distinct properties in the way they are prepared and served. Onions and garlic are used extensively while wine and bread are served along with most meals. There is great variety in desserts and fruits and dairy products. There is a distinct Spanish custom that involves the serving of appetizers called ‘tapas’ before any drinks.

Here are some of the best foods to try while in Spain:

Gazpacho

Gazpacho is a kind of vegetable soup made from garlic, stale bread, and olive oil and sometimes tomato and bell paper are also added. This is served both cold and hot. The cold variant is called Gazpacho while the hot variant is called gazpacho manchego and often induces mushrooms and rabbit meat that is less of soup and more of a stew.

Paella

This is a usual rice mix that is unique to Spain. It is made by mixing saffron and olive oil with rice and is later garnished with seafood or meat and some vegetables.

Chorizo

This is a type of sausage that is made by mashing pork fat and then adding chili and paprika. There are 2 varieties of chorizo, one that is spicy and the other that is sweet. It can be eaten hot or cold although it is primarily served cold. Chorizo is used as an ingredient in many Spanish dishes but is also eaten by itself.

Jamon Serrano: Ham dish prepared by dry curing the meat.

Spanish ham – or jamón Serrano – is just one of the many jewels of Spanish food. Deliciously healthy, with exquisite taste, it’s ideal both as tapas and as part of the main meal, especially when washed down with a ruby red glass of smooth Rioja wine. For, traditionally, Spanish hams are cured in the hilly or mountainous countryside.

Serrano ham is made from white pigs and, after being slaughtered in November, the hams are tucked between layers of sea salt and curing salts for a few days – usually 24-48 hours per kilo. The salt is now cleaned off, and the curing and aging process takes place, generally lasting some 12-14 months. During this time, a specialist will regularly pierce the ham with a cow bone and sniff it, to ascertain the quality of the ham.

At the end of the curing process, the hams will have lost as much as 40% of their original weight, the meat now being dark-red in color, and the fat moist and yellowy.

Solomio de Tenera:

Is a traditional British beef fillet steak, thick and tender and served normal (rare) medio (medium rare) and muy hetcho (literally well done, but often still pink, but with no blood.) Do not be afraid of sending it back if is not to your liking.

Solomio be Buey

Is a similar steak to the Solomio de Tenera, but the meat is from an Ox, it is very similar in flavor and unless it were pointed out to you, you wouldn’t notice any difference.

Solomio de Cerdo

This is a pork fillet, often opened out flat, always tender with no fat or bone and is usually offered with a pepper sauce, (salsa pimiento), if you are not sure about the sauce you can ask for the sauce to come separately (salsa seperado).

 

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Things that might surprise you about Spain

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Spain is an exceptional tourist destination that offers fantastic places to visit. The country has some of the most fabulous beaches, hotels and exotic places to visit. Spain is one of the world’s oldest cultures and their influence can be seen around the world. The early Spanish explorers greatly influenced the modern and their country still holds some of their iconic beliefs and heritage. If you are looking for a place to tour then Spain is the country for you. Here are things that might surprise you about Spain.

The Spaniards have a New Year custom called Twelve Grapes
During the New Year celebrations, Spaniards eat one grape after each bell strike with their family members. This custom was crafted by Spanish grape farmers as a way of selling their excess grape produce. Try and visit Spain before New Year’s Eve to engage in this interesting custom.

Spain is the largest producer of olive oil in the world
Spain produces 45% of all olive oil across the globe. Most of us believe that Italy is the largest olive oil producer but Spain takes up the spot as largest producer of olive oil. While Spain consumes 20% of the total oil produced in the world while Italy consumes up to 30% of all the Olive oil produced.

Spaniards have two surnames
Spaniards can have two surnames, the first from the father and the second from the mother. This was before the gender equality law was amended which ended this tradition. Nowadays children can have their mother’s surname as their first name. This tradition meant that Spaniards had some interesting names compared to rest of the world.

Spain did not officially participate in the two World Wars
Spanish leaders were inclined to supporting Italy and Germany whereas most the country’s citizens in exile supported France and fought against the Axis Powers. For this reason, Spain was never seen to officially participate in the two World Wars as it fought on both fronts. The government was divided into two factions in the World War II making it hard for country to participate in the war.

Spain is 13th largest economy in the world
With a GDP of $1.4 trillion, Spain definitely has a strong economy. With such a good GDP, tourists are guaranteed of good infrastructure and magnificent cities. The country’s strong economy attracts investors across the globe to come and invest in the country. While you are visiting the country you can be assured on enjoying the best of the country.

Ibiza is Europe’s favorite party place
The Island of Ibiza attracts more than 2 million tourists each year. Tourists get to party with world’s top DJs thus attracting millions of revelers. If you are looking to party hard then Spain has one of the best spots. Yachts are available for hire and you cruising through the calm waters in Ibiza.

Two of the world’s biggest football clubs hail from Spain
Real Madrid and Barcelona are some of the biggest football clubs across the globe. Tourists travel from far and wide just to come and see this two clubs battle in the La Liga. The clash of this two teams has come to be known as El Classico with its huge fan-base.

 

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What to avoid while in Spain

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There are some things one should avoid while in Spain majorly in Madrid.Madrid is undoubtedly an enthralling metropolis and the capital city of Spain. Known for its friendly people, sunny climate, the collection of art, tapas, and lively people, a visit to Madrid can be riveting and fun filled. The city of Madrid offers awesome cuisines and a lot which can help you de-stress the life and make you ready to deal with the same hustle bustle back at home. Being a big city, Madrid has a lot that you can remember even when you’re back at home but make sure that your trip to Madrid remains unforgettable only because of nice experiences and not because you find yourself ensnared in some tourist trap.

It is recommended that you do not use the taxi in Spain mostly in Madrid town, especially if you are staying in the center of town. The municipality of Madrid has invested a lot to create an extensive subway commuting system — the metro. The Madrid Metro makes it possible to connect to any destination within or in the suburbs conveniently and in very short time. The metro system also quite affordable and ensures that we do not end up spending loads of money while traveling in the taxi. There are a lot of taxi drivers that may charge heavily and cheat any unsuspecting customer.

Do not dine in Plaza Mayor. It’s what locals recommend, as those restaurants located in the red brick arches are known to be tourist traps in Spain, especially in Madrid. There is no doubt that the Plaza Mayor is one of a gorgeous place that city has, but it is not one place where locals indulge in having beer or lunch. Most of the restaurant’s offer inflated prices for food and service. There are some breakfast joints, coffee bars, and restaurants in other parts of Spain or Madrid as a capital city and all kinds of foods from breakfast and lunch, and dinner is served here.

Another important consideration when it comes to restaurant etiquettes is tipping. You must first check the bill as general restaurants in Spain charge you with a service charge in the bill which caters to the tip of the waiters. In such case, you do not need to pay generous tips because they are extra charges..

In Spain, you’ll find some beggers roaming around in Puerta del Sol and Plaza Mayor area. Do not get carried away by how they present themselves in gruesome condition and it is recommended that you do not offer them money. Most of the times, there are groups which better controlling such activities, and it is a means to extort money from people, especially tourists. If you give money to them, you are yourself getting trapped.

Always make sure that you never leave your luggage unattended, wherever in Spain you are. There are always chances of getting pick pocketed, so it is important that while you are in Spain, you pay special attention to your belongings.

 

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What to Pack for Your Trip to Spain

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Are you planning to spend your holiday in Spain but still have no idea what to carry? Unlike normal trips, travelling to Spain requires you to be selective on what to include in your luggage. This is to avoid carrying unnecessary items that will make your package heavy. Things to include in your package will be greatly be influenced by places you plan to visit, occasions to attend and season you plan to tour Spain. We are going to look at essentials of what to pack for your trip to Spain.

Clothes

Spain is among the few countries that still values conservative dressing. Since you are on a holiday, you necessarily don’t have to be on strict official wear. Smart casual wear is preferable; you can try a pair of jeans with a decent top. Carry a scarf to cover your shoulders as a sign of respect while visiting religious places. When travelling during winter, remember to carry correct jacket to keep you warm. While during summer you can carry a pair of light jacket and some sun protection glasses or hat.

Shoes

Since your stay will most probably involve a lot of moving, it is advisable to carry comfortable pair of shoes. Carry comfortable flat shoes that match your casual wear. The shoes should protect your feet from sharp cobblestone pavements which are common in the streets. Carry a pair of sandals to wear while on the beach or when relaxing indoors.

Travel guidebook

You have probably researched on places to visit and what to do prior to visiting Spain. It might be hard to remember all those places, bearing in mind that it might be your first time to tour Spain. Guide book will help you navigate easily through the busy streets of Spain and find best hotels and restaurants for accommodation. Remember to stick to your travel wish plans in order to attain the purpose of visit.

Camera and journal

This will make it easy for you to document history and capture fun moments for future reference. The journal will help you plan and accomplish different daily activities, thus making your stay more organised. After the trip, it will be easy to refresh your memories without forgetting any detail with the aid of the journal and pictures. It will also be easy to share your experience in Spain with families and friends.

Laundry detergent and toiletries

It is advisable to carry detergent because it is hard to spot a laundry in Spain or it might be expensive. Carry your favourite toiletries since the market might be stocked with a wide variety making it difficult for you to select. On arrival, ensure that you carry enough tissue packets to carry on public toilets.

Voltage converter

You will definitely want to charge your electronics devices during the stay. Carry a voltage convertor to avoid electric upsurge which could damage your electronic devices. Most hotels in Spain are connected to 220 volts power supply; this might not be the case in your country of origin or with your device manufacturer. The converter will help regulate the voltage to desired level making it safe to use for your electronic devices.

 

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