Everyone knows that one of the best parts of traveling is the food you get to eat. Every country is famous for something – in Italy there’s pasta, in France there’s crêpes, in Germany there’s sausage, in Greece there’s gyros. Here in Spain, there’s a never ending list of spectacular foods to try, so I figured I’d do the world a favor and compile a list of the top 11 foods to try while in Spain
1. Pisto Manchego
Originally from the region of Castilla La Mancha, pisto manchego is a blend of tomato, onion, eggplant, green and/or red peppers, and olive oil – though every restaurant has its own variation – with a fried egg on top, and it’s amazing.
- If you want to try it at home, here is a great recipe to use http://www.recetaslamasia.es/pisto-manchego/
This dish comes from a city on the coast of Spain called Valencia. Usually made in a large amount at once to share, paella is a dish traditionally made with rice and seafood but it can also be made with rice and vegetables, chicken, and/or beans. It’s considered the national dish of Spain, although in Spain it is considered a Valencian dish. With excessive amounts of rice, olive oil, and various meats/vegetable ingredients, what’s not to love?
This recipe can be found at http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/rice-recipes/ch..
Although this dish has different variations throughout Spain, the base of the dish is fried bread crumbs. Usually there is ham or chorizo in the dish and it is served with grapes, some restaurants include beans and other additional ingredients.
- Check out one variation of this recipe at http://www.spanish-food.org/meat-stews-migas.html.
Similar to tomato soup, salmorejo is a purée of tomato and bread among other ingredients such as olive oil and garlic to make a thick, creamy soup which is served cold. It was created in the south of Spain along with a similar dish called gazpacho.
If you would like to try out this delicious dish as a way to cool down this summer, you can check out a recipe at http://www.directoalpaladar.com/recetas-de-sopas-y-cremas/receta-de-salmorejo-cordobes-tradicional.
This next dish is one that is especially variable when it comes to different recipes in different areas and among different families. Generally, it is made with flour and has various ingredients added to make it a flavorful dish to enjoy (meats, garlic, etc.).
One of many good recipes can be found here: http://www.hogarmania.com/cocina/recetas/ensaladas-verduras/200904/gachas-manchegas-1614.html.
- Duelos y quebrantos
Translated to literally mean “duels and losses,” this dish was made famous by the well known book "Don Quixote," written by Miguel de Cervantes. In the book Cervantes mentions the main character eating this dish of scrambled eggs, sausage, and pork bacon along his journey. It is especially popular in the Castilla-La Mancha region (where the book takes places) as a first course.
Check out this recipe to try at home: https://cookpad.com/es/recetas/270756-duelos-y-quebrantos-receta-del-quijote.
This Spanish salad consists of onions, tomatoes, green peppers, and cucumbers. Occasionally, it also includes fish or eggs but either way this salad is both delicious and easy.If you want to make it at home, you can find a recipe here: http://danzadefogones.com/pipirrana/.
- Castellana soup
Another traditional dish in the Castilla La Mancha region, this soup is good for both vegetarians and meat lovers as it can be made with or without meat. The general base of this soup is simply bread, eggs, and paprika, with a meat or vegetable based broth and Spanish cured ham if desired. A great authentic Spanish dish that is both easy and extremely inexpensive to make. If you want to give it a whirl at home, here is one possible recipe: http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/sopa-de-ajo-castellana-castilian-garlic-soup.
- Guiso de bodas
In case you haven’t noticed, Spain is big on soups. This particular soup, which translates to “wedding stew,” is one that was traditionally at weddings to serve a lot of people easily. It too was made especially famous by Cervantes in "Don Quixote." Made from chicken, broth, and whatever ingredients desired to achieve the desired flavor, with balls of bread soaked in the broth, this soup is easy to make and easy to adjust to appeal to the pickiest of eaters.
Check out this dish here: http://cocinitas.es/guiso-de-las-bodas-de-camacho/.
When it comes to dessert, natillas is always the best way to go for a simple but delicious way to end your meal. Essentially just vanilla pudding with cinnamon and occasionally a vanilla cookie on top, it’s safe to bet most everyone will enjoy it.
Check out a recipe for natillas here: http://tartasdechocolate.com/natillas-caseras/.
Another dessert, bizcochada is vanilla cake soaked in milk with cinnamon. It tastes like cinnamon toast crunch and it’s delicious.
If you’d like to try it at home, here’s an easy recipe: https://cookpad.com/es/recetas/139438-bizcochada-manchega?ref=search.
As you can tell, in Spain, there's more than enough new foods to go around. If you ever get the chance to visit Spain, I encourage to try some authentic Spanish food. No matter what you get, you can't go wrong. And if you don't get the chance, or you're just feeling like trying something new, try some of these recipes at home. Happy eating!