HISTORY OF SPANISH FOOD

History of Spanish food...............

A significant portion of Spanish cuisine derives from the Roman, Jewish and Arab traditions. The Moorish people were a strong influence in Spain for many centuries and has also marked the history of Spanish food.

However, pork is popular and for centuries eating pork was also a statement of Christian ethnicity or "cleanliness of blood” because it was not eaten by Jews or Muslims. Several native food of the Americas were introduced to Europe through Spain, and a modern Spanish cook could not do without potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, and 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 as Spain produces 44% of the world's olives. However, butter or lard are also important, especially in the north.

Daily meals eaten by Spaniards in many areas of the country are still very often made traditionally by hand, from fresh ingredients bought daily from the local foodmarket. This practice is more common in the rural areas and less common in the large urban areas like Barcelona or 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" and meat from the "carnicería".

Tapas is a tradition that has a long history. In the  beginning the bar owners put a bread on top of the sherry wine to keep the flies away form the drink.  Now a days tapas is a very important way of eating in Spain.

In some areas, like Almeria, Granada or Jaen in Andalucia and in some areas in  Madrid or Salamanca the tapas is given for free when ordering a drink.  

Another traditional favorite is the churro with a mug of thick hot chocolate to dip churros in. "Churrerías", or stores that serve churros, are quite common, often late into the night (even dawn) after being out late in town. With luck, traditional Spanish singers and musicians 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, which include:

  • The use of olive oil as a cooking ingredient in items such as fritters. It is also used raw.
  • The use of sofrito to start the preparation of many dishes.
  • The use of garlic and onions as major seasonings.
  • The custom of drinking wine during meals.
  • Serving bread with the vast majority of meals.
  • Consumption of salads, especially in the summer.
  • The consumption of a piece of fruit or a dairy product as dessert. Desserts such as tarts and cakes are typically reserved for special occasions.

Food and wine tours in Spain

Spanish Cooking holiday    

Tapas tour in Spain

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