Authentic Spanish food to try when in Spain
Food is an important part of everyday life in Spain and to the Spanish culture as a whole, as it brings family together at mealtime and friends together in the tapas bars. Spain is known internationally for its unique and diverse cuisine, ranging from simple, home-made dishes to Michelin-star gastronomic experiences. With so much to choose from, how do you know what to authentic Spanish food to try on your next visit to Spain? Here are some of the dishes that are loved by Spaniards and are true culinary delights that shouldn’t be missed!
Tortilla de Patatas
Tortilla de patatas is a dish that can be found in any tapas bar in Spain but is also prepared slightly differently by everyone. If you ask any Spaniard what some of their favorite foods are, no doubt they will tell you their mother’s tortilla is on that list. An omelette prepared with sliced potatoes, onions, salt and eggs, it’s a simple comfort food that can’t be beat. Tortilla can also be dressed up with bell peppers, chorizo, or artichokes to make a simple dish even more delectable. Try it as a tapa or pintxo served over bread for a Spanish tapa de toda la vida.
No trip to Spain is complete without trying paella at least once! Similarly to tortilla de patatas, this dish has a general recipe but can vary slightly in ingredients and preparation. With rice as a base, any number of ingredients can be thrown in like meat, seafood, or fresh veggies. Depending on the chef’s preference, the rice may be cooked to the point of being crispy at the bottom of the pan, or cooked for less time, leaving the rice soft and moist. Most restaurants have several variations of paella but whichever you choose is bound to be a delight.
All tapas bars have croquetas, or small fried bites that are filled with ingredients like Iberian ham, chicken, fish, or vegetables. Made by combining any of these things with bechamel sauce and then fried until golden perfection, these bite sized tapas are another staple in Spanish cuisine. Try the house specialty or have fun bar-hopping to try a wide variety of different croquetas!
A summertime favorite, gazpacho is a refreshing way to keep cool on a hot summer day. A cold soup featuring tomatoes, cucumbers, and other fresh vegetables, gazpacho can be drunk from a glass or eaten with a spoon. Served cold all summer long, gazpacho is just the thing you need to beat the Spanish heat.
Any kind of bean stew
Spaniards love beans: lentils, chickpeas, navy beans and beyond. Bean stews are commonplace in Spanish homes a few times a week for lunch and are often seen on restaurant menus during the week as well. These hearty stews are served all year long and are a healthier alternative as they feature legumes and fresh vegetables. This is no boring soup, however, as stews are often laden with plenty of spices to provide an explosion of flavor in each spoonful.
Cured meats and cheeses
Iberian ham is a passion for Spaniards, and no party or holiday is complete without a leg of ham to shave off thin slices of this cured delicacy. Embutidos, or cured meats like jamón, chorizo, or fuet, are great to pick at when you’re at a tapas bar, along with a good Manchego cheese. While these foods may be so simple, they are essential to Spanish cuisine and culture.
Spanish cuisine varies from region to region but no matter where you are or what you eat you are in for an unforgettable gastronomic experience. Food is so important to culture so when you eat what the locals eat you are having the most authentic experience possible. With that in mind, Food Lover Tour is committed to offering authentic Spanish food on our food tours, as well as great experiences and memories.