The succession of cultures that one-by-one set foot on the Iberian peninsula have each left a lasting mark on every facet of Spain's culture: language, music, art, architecture and, of course, food. In fact, many people are surprised to learn just how much of a delicious melting pot Spain really is.
The basis of the history of Spanish food of course has to do with its geographical situation. First of all, the country is located on the Iberian peninsula and is therefore almost entirely surrounded by the waters. Naturally, due to this fortunate location, seafood forms one of the pillars of Spain's gastronomy and categorizes the country as having a Mediterranean diet.
The rest of Spain is a diverse terrain made up of mountain ranges, lush pastures, fertile farmgrounds, extensive coastlines and more, which together provide quite the variety of fresh products. For example, Spain's famous hams are cured high in the mountains, vineyards and olive groves sprawl across expanses of land, and fresh fruits and vegetables hail from throughout the country.
Top Spanish dishes
The Spanish practice of going out for tapas - called el tapeo - had its humble beginnings long ago and ironically originally involved empty plates. Widely thought to have gotten its start in Seville, bartenders would cover - or tapar - wine glasses with a small plate in order to protect the drink from fruit flies. Soon, they took to placing a simple slice of ham on top of this place, an addition which naturally appealed to bar patrons. Seeing the possibility of attracting more customers, the bar-owners began varying the tapas adorning the little plates that came with each drink, and the widespread national phenomenon known as tapas got its start.
The Spanish version of fried dough is called a churro and, unlike its ever-delicious fairground counterpart, it is a commonplace treat for breakfast and a snack. Whether you sprinkle them with sugar or dunk them in a steaming cup of hot chocolate, be sure to eat them while they're hot and crispy!
Pescado en Salsa de Limon
Spanish Baked Fish with Lemon Wine Sauce - Pescado en Salsa de Limon Spanish Mediterranean recipes generally use fresh ingredients in uncomplicated dishes: Fresh white fish baked with lemon slices and white wine, create a light, lemony sauce. Because it is such a simple recipe, you can enjoy the flavors of the fish and the citrus.
Tortilla de Bacalao: The Spanish make a large variety of "tortillas" or omelettes, not just the classic potato omelette, or "tortilla de patata." Sauteed peppers, tuna and ham are just some of the ingredients mixed into omelettes. This simple recipe originates in Vizcaya in the Basque Country and peppers the omelette with small pieces of salt cod or "bacalao."