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 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.
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.
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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