Traveling Through Spanish food on this week’s Cultural Tidbits Monday! As you already know, on this mini series, I’ll be featuring some of my favorite ethnic foods and restaurants through educational (and quite yummy) photo essays. Let’s get started!
When someone utters “Spanish food,” what comes to mind? Typically, it is a misused term in America, where all kinds of Latin American dishes are called “Spanish food” indiscriminately by gringos and even American Latinos alike. Properly, though, Spanish food refers to cuisine that comes from that European nation that was once filled with Conquistadors heading West to discover (and dominate) the New World. Now, are you ready to discover some Iberian delicacies?!
First, I’ll start with bocadillos (or “mini bites”). Every time I visit Spain, I must visit El Museo Del Jamón (literally “The Ham Museum”) to eat a tumaca, crosán mixto and cañita at least 3 times a day. Daily. During my whole stay. Just ONE EURO each. My body basically requires them! Everyone at Museo Del Jamón knows me by name (and country) now: “La María, directamente de PUERTO RICO!” such a lovely thing to hear as I walk in =D
As you can see, I have a slight obsession with Jamón Serrano *grins* umm, yeah. It is basically one of the most amazing pieces of meat your mouth will ever touch. Savour. Enjoy. I chew each bite ever so slowly. It is one of those heavenly things that you just can’t explain, but rather have someone eat in order to understand
Another important ingredient in most of my favorite bocadillos and Spanish tapas in general are cheeses: Such a delightful variety! Combine them with amazing Jamón Serrano or Ibérico and…
Other typical ingredients of tapas are olives/olive oil, garlic, onions, chorizo (hot, mild or sweet), almonds, chillies, parsley, basil, orégano, paprika, peppers and tomatoes.
Tapas: Not just appetizers
In Spain, tapas are not simply appetizers, though. In fact, it is quite common to group several tapas and make up a whole meal. Furthermore, the same items may be eaten for breakfast, lunch, or a midnight dinner! There’s a very blurred line of things to eat in the morning or at 10 PM, which is another thing I loved about Spain since I’m the gal that typically has pizza for breakfast because she is too hungry for anything less 😉
Another quintessential Spanish food is paella. This dish, a hearty rice concoction, is nothing short of amazing as well. There are many different types, so I recommend a culinary tour around Spain to sample them all!
Now that I have given you a broad overview of Spanish food, I will share my favorite dishes of Ceviche, a chain of Spanish restaurants in the state of Florida. Surprisingly, very very good chain! I have visited both the Tampa & orlando locations and my favorite tapas tasted exactly the same. I go there often and absolutely love their sangría, too!
That shall be it for part four of the mini series, Traveling through food! Hope I piqued your interest (and appetite) for Spanish food further and you venture out to try something new.