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Spanish eats and treats

As a nod to The Living Room’s resident chef Miguel, we thought we’d take you on a brief journey of scrumptious Spanish cuisine. Ole!

La historia

When you think of Spanish food, it’s usually ingredients such as tomatoes, pork, seafood, potato and garlic that spring to your mind (and tastebuds). ‘Menus en espanol’ have always been dominated by fresh seafood available around the coast of the country, but Spanish cuisine has also been influenced by many other cultures. Because of its handy geographical position where the Mediterranean meets the Atlantic, tradesmen from countries such as Morocco, Italy and Greece dropped anchor off the coast of Spain centuries ago and came ashore bearing guzzle-worthy gifts. Phoenicians brought sauces, the Greeks and Romans gave olives and olive oil and the Moors, who went on to rule Spain for over 500 years, introduced fruits, saffron and rice. Spanish explorers visiting other countries also returned with ingredients such as tomatoes, vanilla, beans, potatoes and chocolate and thus, a colourful cuisine that was uniquely their own was born.

Los ingredientes

Here are a few of the foodstuffs that you’ll find in the pantry of any Spanish chef:
Olive oil
Garlic
Pepper
Paprika
Eggs
Potatoes
Tomatoes
Spanish wine
Parsley
Onion

Los platos

If you munch and crunch your way around Spain, here are few of the most popular dishes you’d try:
Tortilla – potato omelette sometimes served as a bar snack
Paella – rice with saffron, vegetables, meat and seafood regarded by many as Spain’s national dish
Chorizo – a spicy sausage hailing from the Iberian Peninsula
Arroz con leche – rice pudding sometimes served with dried fruit
Gazpacho – chilled tomato soup from Andalusia
Jamon Serrano – dry-cured ham usually made from the Landrace breed of white pig
Calamares a la romana – fried squid
Turron – nougat with almonds and honey often served at Christmas
Fabada Asturiana – a rich stew made from pork shoulder, white beans, chorizo and saffron
Catalan cream – the Spanish version of crème brulee; a rich custard topped with a hard caramel
Cochinillo Asado – roast suckling pig eaten in Castilla y Leon
Pescado Frito – fried fish commonly served on the coast of Spain as an appetizer
Manchego – a firm, buttery cheese made in the La Mancha region
Patatas Bravas – deep fried potatoes and a vinegary tomato sauce often found on tapas menus