The cuisine of Spain comes in great varieties that spread out from its differences in geography, culture, and climate. It is mainly influenced by the easy access to seafood that surrounds the land, which shows the country’s deep Mediterranean roots. The widespread history of Spain also helps bring together many new cultural influences, flavors, and dishes, resulting in a unique cuisine with endless recipes and selection.
A significant portion of Spanish cuisine derives from the Jewish and Moorish traditions. The Moors were a strong influence in Spain for many centuries and some of their food is still eaten in Spain today. However, pork is popular and for centuries eating pork was also a statement of Christian ethnicity or limpieza de sangre, because it was not eaten by Jews or Muslims. Several native foods of the Americas were introduced to Europe through Spain, and a modern Spanish cook couldn't do without potatoes, tomatoes, peppers or beans. These are some of the primary influences that have differentiated Spanish cuisine from Mediterranean cuisine, of which Spanish cuisine shares many techniques and food items. The essential ingredient for real Spanish cooking is olive oil; 44% of the global production of olives is in Spain. Daily meals eaten by the Spanish in many areas of the country are still very often made traditionally by hand, from fresh ingredients bought daily from the local market. This practice is more common in the rural areas and less common in the large urban areas like Madrid, where supermarkets are beginning to displace the open-air markets. However, even in Madrid food can be bought from the local shops, bread from the panadería, meat from the carnicería, etc. Traditional Spanish cooking also often revolves around outdoor cooking over a fire, perhaps in a special clay or brick oven. One popular custom when going out is to be served tapas with a drink (sherry, wine, beer, etc.). In some places, like Granada, tapas are given for free with a drink and have become very famous for that reason. It should be noted that almost every tapas bar serves something edible when a drink is ordered, without charge.
Another traditional favorite is the churro with a mug of thick hot chocolate to dip the churro in. Churrerías, or stores that serve churros, are quite common. The Chocolatería de San Ginés in Madrid is especially famous as a place to stop and have some chocolate with churros, often late into the night (even dawn) after being out on the town. Often traditional Spanish singers will entertain the guests. As is true in many countries, the cuisines of Spain differ widely from one region to another, even though they all share certain common characteristics. Spanish food is not spicy, and in fact many Spaniards find even common black pepper too hot for their palate.
Among the multitude of recipes that make up the varied cuisines of Spain, a few can be considered common to all or almost all of Spain's regions, even though some of them have an origin known and associated with specific places. Examples include the potato omelet, gazpacho, paella, stews, migas, sausages (such as embutidos, chorizo, and morcilla), jamón serrano, and cheeses. There are also many dishes based on beans (chickpeas, lentils, green beans); soups, with many regional variations; and bread, that has numerous forms, with distinct varieties in each region. The regional variations are less pronounced in Spanish desserts and cakes: flan, custard, rice pudding, torrijas, churros, and madeleines.
Churro is a sweet, fried-dough pastry-based snack, which came from Spain, and is most popular in Latin America, the USA, and Spanish-speaking Caribbean islands where people often by them. The churro is sometimes called the Spanish doughnut because of how what this treat is made of and what it tastes like. Many think that the name churro came from the shape of the horns on a particular breed of sheep and there may be a possibility of this theory being true since the churro was initially invented by the shepherds of this region.
This is a cold, liquid salad that was popular by Spanish in warmer areas and during the summer. Gazpacho came from an ancient Andalusia concoction based on the combination of stale bread, garlic, olive oil, salt, and vinegar - a cold bread soup. After Christopher Columbus discovered the Americas and brought the tomato and bell pepper to Europe those 2 vegetables became what Gazpacho was commonly known for. While the original ingredients were the key ingredients that defined this recipe. In many different places there are different types of Gazpacho and some of those types don’t even include tomato. One of the most popular types of Gazpacho was the Ajoblanco Malagueño made principally with Almonds, bread, garlic, vinegar and oil.
Migas is a traditional dish in Spanish cuisine meaning “crumbs”, that was originally was eaten as a breakfast that made use of leftover bread. Migas today is a stylish first course served for lunch and dinner in many of the restaurants in Spain . The ingredients of migas vary in different regions of spain. It depends on where ou live what kind of miga you will get like in Extremadura, it includes day-old bread, garlic, pimentón, and olive oil and in the north of Spain near the Pyrenees, it includes chorizo sausage or bacon, and is often served with fried eggs and grapes. In Texas, migas is a customary breakfast dish in Tex-Mex cuisine.
Olla podrida, meaning something along the lines of “powerful stew”, is a popular dish in Spain that dates back to the Middle Ages; a mixed stew of bacon, fowl, ham, meats, and vegetables. The French fell in the love with olla podrida after arriving in Spain and bought it back to their home country, calling it potpourri. Soft, cooked red bean is the principal ingredient. The stew might have “powerful” ingredients, such as bacon, morcilla, chorizo, and parts of a smoked pig. The dish sometimes includes stuffing, and finished off with an egg. Olla podrida is a main course, but the beans should be served before the meat.
A rich bean stew originated from and is popular in Astrurias, Fabada Asturiana, although is available through Spain and Spanish cuisine from around the world. The stew is made with dried fabes beans that are soaked overnight before, shoulder of lacón (pork), morcilla (black blood sausage, chorizo (spicy sausage), azafrán (saffron), and seasonings.