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Spanish cuisine is a way of preparing varied dishes, which is enriched by the culinary contributions of the various regions that make up the country. It is a cuisine influenced by the people who, throughout history, have conquered the territory of that country.
- 1 History
- 2 Spanish regional variation: typical dishes and meal routines
- 3 Selected list of Spanish chefs
- 4 See also
- 5 References
- 6 External links
Spain as a territory of the Roman Empire
The Romans introduced the custom of collecting and eating mushrooms, which is still preserved in many parts of Spain, especially in the north. The Romans along with the Greeks introduced viticulture; it also appears that the extension of the vine along the Mediterranean seems to be due to colonization of the Greeks.
The Visigoths introduced brewing. The change came in 711 AD, when Muslim troops composed of Arabs and Berbers crossed the Strait of Gibraltar, invading the Iberian Peninsula. The Muslim conquest brought new ingredients to Spanish cuisine from the Muslim world, such as Persia and India.
The cuisine of Al-Andalus included such ingredients as: rice, sorghum, sugar cane, spinach, eggplant, watermelon, lemon, peach, orange and almonds. It is common for modern dishes to possess Berber and Arab roots.
The discovery of America, in 1492, initiated the advent of new culinary elements, such as tomato, cucumber, potato, corn, bell pepper, spicy pepper, paprika, vanilla and cocoa or chocolate. The latter caused a furor in the Spanish society in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries; Spain was where it was first mixed with sugar to remove its natural bitterness. Other ingredients traveled to the Americas, such as rice, grapes, olives and many types of cereals.
Spanish regional variation: typical dishes and meal routines
La comida, the large midday meal in Spain contains several courses. It spans about 2 hours from 2pm to 4pm, and is usually followed by Sobremesa, which refers to the tabletalk that Spanish people undertake. Menus are organized according to these courses and include 5 or 6 choices in each course. At home, Spanish meals wouldn't be too fancy, and would contain soup or a pasta dish, salad, a meat and/or a fish dish and a dessert, such as fruit and/or cheese. Green salad with the meat or fish courses.
The following is a list of traditional Spanish meals:
Andalusian cuisine is twofold: rural and coastal. Of all the Spanish regions, this region uses the most olive oil in its cuisine. The dish that has achieved the most international fame is Gazpacho. It is a kind of cold soup made with five vegetables, bread, vinegar, water, salt and olive oil. Other cold soups include: pulley, Zoque, salmorejo, etc.
Snacks made with olives are common. Meat dishes include: flamenquín, pringá, oxtail and often gypsy (also called Andalusian tripe). Among the hot soups are: cat soup (made with bread), dog stew (fish soup with orange juice) and Migas Canas. Fish dishes include: fried fish, cod pavías, and parpandúas. A culinary custom is the typical Andalusian breakfast, considered to be a traditional characteristic of laborers and today extending throughout Spain.
The Aragonese cuisine has a rural and mountainous origin. The central part of Aragon, the flattest, is the richest in culinary specialties. Being a land of lambs raised on the slopes of the Pyrenees, one of its most famous dishes is roast lamb (asado de ternasco) (with garlic, salt and bacon fat), having the lamb to the shepherd, the heads of lamb and Highlanders asparagus (lamb tails). Pork dishes are also very popular, among them: Magras con tomate, roasted pork leg and Almojábanas de Cerdo. Among the recipes made with bread are: migas de Pastor, migas con chocolate, Regañaos (cakes with sardines or herring) and goguera. The most notable condiment is garlic-oil.
Legumes are very important and the most popular vegetables are borage and thistle. In terms of cured meats, ham from Teruel and Huesca are famous. Among the cheeses Tronchon is notable. Fruit-based cuisine includes the very popular Fruits of Aragon (Spanish: Frutas de Aragón) and Maraschino cherries.
Asturian cuisine has a long and rich history, deeply rooted in Celtic traditions of northern Europe. One of its most famous dishes is the Asturian bean stew, which is the traditional stew of the region, made with white beans, sausages such as chorizo and morcilla and pork. Another well-known recipe is beans with clams, hare and partridge. Also of note are Asturian stew and vigil. Pork-based foods, for example chosco, tripe Asturias and bollos preñaos are popular.
Common meat dishes include: carne gobernada, cachopo and stew. Asturian cheeses are very popular in the rest of Spain. Among them, the most representative is Cabrales Cheese a strong-smelling cheese developed in the regions near the Picos de Europa. This can be enjoyed with the local cider. Notable desserts are frisuelos, rice pudding and carbayones.
The Balearic cuisine has purely Mediterranean characteristics. The islands have been conquered several times throughout their history by the French and the English, which has left some culinary influences. At present are well known: the spicy sausage and rice brut, cheese Mahon, Mahon Gin ("pellofa") and mayonnaise. Among the dishes are tumbet, variat frit and roast suckling pig.
The cuisine of the Basque Country is a wide and varied range of ingredients and preparations. The culture of eating is very strong among the inhabitants of this region. Highlights include meat and fish dishes. Among fish, cod is produced in various preparations: bacalao al pil pil, cod Bilbao, etc.. Are also common anchovy, bream, bonito, etc.. Among the most famous dishes is the seafood changurro. Among the meats are: the beef steaks, pork loin with milk, fig leaf quail, marinated goose, etc.
Among the most typical fruits are: bananas, yams, mangoes and persimmons. The fish dishes are well placed and are usually accompanied by a sauce called mojo, known as mojo picon. Stew is one of many similarly-prepared dishes. Prominent among the gastronomy are: wrinkled potatoes, almogrote, frangollo, rabbit in salmorejo, stewed goat, etc. The most popular sweets are trout with potato or pumpkin, roasted maize meal nougat, etc. Among the wines, the best known is the Malvasia wine.
A popular Cantabrian dish is cocido montañés, a rich stew made with beans, cabbage and pork. Seafood is widely used and bonito is present in the typical sorropotún or marmite. Recognized quality meats are Tudanca veal and game meat. Cantabrian pastries include sobaos and quesadas pasiegas. Dairy products include Cantabrian cream cheese, smoked cheeses, picón Bejes-Tresviso and quesucos de Liébana. Orujo is the Cantabrian pomace brandy. Cider (sidra) and chacoli wine are increasing in popularity.
In this region, the culinary habits reflect the origin of foods eaten by shepherds and peasants. Al-Manchara means, in Arabic, "Dry Land" indicating the arid lands and the quality of its dishes. It is said that the best La Mancha cuisine cookbook is the novel Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes. Wheat and grains are dominant, used in bread, soups, gazpacho manchego, crumbs, porridge, etc.. One of the most abundant ingredients in Manchego cuisine is garlic, leading to dishes such as: ajoarriero, ajopuerco and garlic marinade.
Given the fact that its lands are dry, and thus unable to substain big amounts of cattle living on grass, an abundance of small animals, such as rabbit, and especially birds (pheasant, quail, partridge, squab) can be found. This has led to game meat being incorporated into traditional dishes, such as Conejo al Ajillo (rabbit in garlic sauce), Perdiz Escabechada (marinated partridge) or Huevos de Codorniz (Quail's eggs).
Castile and León
In Castile and León characteristic dishes include morcilla, Valladolid (a black pudding made with special spices), judión de la granja, sopa de ajo (garlic soup), Cochinillo asado (roast piglet), lechazo (roast lamb), botillo del Bierzo, hornazo from Salamanca, Jamón de Guijuelo (a cured ham from Guijuelo, Salamanca), Salchichas de Zaratán and other sausages, Serrada cheese, Burgos's soft cheese, and Ribera del Duero wines.
The cuisine of Catalonia is based in a rural culture; it is very extensive and a great culinary wealth. Notably, it was in Catalonia where the first cookbook was written in Spain. It has a triple cuisine: seafood, mountain and interior. Among the most popular dishes include: escudella and tomato bread. Bean tortilla, Coca de recapte, samfaina, farigola soup and snails are famous dishes. Notable sauces are: romesco sauce, aioli, bouillabaisse of Catalan origin and picada.
Cured pork cuisine boasts sausage (white and black) and the salami and pepperoni of Vic. Among the fish dishes are: suquet, stewed cod and black rice. Among the vegetable dishes, the most famous are calçots and the Escalivada (roasted vegetables). Among the desserts are: Catalan cream, carquiñoles, panellets, Kings Tortel, kink and neulas.
La Rioja is recognized by the use of meats such as pork, and their cold cuts made after the traditional slaughter. The lamb is perhaps the second most popular meat product in this region (Sarmiento chops) and finally, veal is common in mountain areas. The most famous dish is Rioja potatoes and Fritada. Lesser known are: Holy lunch and Ajo huevo (garlic eggs).
The cuisine of Extremadura is austere, with dishes prepared by shepherds. It is very similar to the cuisine of Castilla. Extremaduran cuisine is abundant in pork; it is said that the region is one of the best for breeding pigs in Spain, thanks to the acorns that grow in their fields: Iberian pig herds raised in the fields of Montánchez are characterized by dark skin and black, thin legs. This breed of pig is found exclusively in Spain and Portugal. Iberian pork sausages are common, such as pork stews (cocido extremeño).
Another meat dishes is lamb stew. It is also known that lizard is often cooked in Extremadura. Highlights include game meats such as wild boar, partridge, pheasant or venison. Famous cheeses are Torta de la Serena and Torta de casar. Among the desserts are: Leche frita, perrunillas and fritters, as well as many sweets that have their origins in convents.
Galician cuisine is known in Spanish territory because of the emigration of its inhabitants. One of the most noted is Galician soup. Also notable is pork with turnip tops, a popular component of the Galician Carnaval meal laconadas. Another remarkable recipe is Caldo de castañas (a chestnut broth), which is commonly consumed during winter. Pork products are also popular.
The seafood dishes are very famous and rich in variety. Among these are: the Galician empanada, Galician octopus, scallops, crab and barnacles. Among the many dairy products is Queso de tetilla. Orujo is one of Galicia's alcoholic drinks. Sweets that are famous throughout the Iberian Peninsula are the Tarta de Santiago and Filloas (pancakes made with blood).
Madrid did not gain its own identity in the Court until 1561, when Philip II moved the capital to Madrid. Since then, due to immigration, many of Madrid's culinary dishes have been made from modifications to dishes from other Spanish regions. Madrid, due to the influx of visitors from the nineteenth century onwards, was one of the first cities to introduce the concept of the restaurant, hosting some of the earliest examples.
Notable dairy products are: rice pudding, meringue milk, cheese and curd. Some important fruits and vegetables are Aranjuez strawberries and melons. Madrid is rich in religious confectionery, with sweets such as chocolate con churros and buñuelos.
The cuisine of the region of Murcia has two sides with the influence of Manchego cuisine. The region of Murcia is famous for its varied fruit production. Among the most outstanding dishes are: Murcia tortilla, zarangollo, mojete, eggplants cream, pipirrana, etc.. A typical sauce of this area is the cabañil garlic, used to accompany meat dishes.
Among the culinary preparations are: the michirones (dried beans cooked with bay leaves, hot peppers and garlic). Among the cooked include: the gypsy pot, cooked with balls, mondongo, etc.. Among meat products Murcia find black pudding, which is flavored with oregano, and Murcia cake that is made with ground beef. Among the fish and seafood are: the golden salt, the Mar Menor prawns and octopus baked. Rices are common and among them are: the cauldron, the pavement rice, rice with rabbit and snails, rice scribe, and the widower rice.
The desserts are very abundant, among them are: paparajotes Orchard, stuffed pastries and various pastries. This region also has wine appellation of origin, as the wine from Jumilla, Bullas wine and wine Yecla.
The gastronomy of Navarra has many similarities with the Aragonese cuisine. Two of his dishes flag are: trout to Navarre and cochifrito, although we must not forget the lamb chilindrón. Among the dishes is the Garbure. There are very curious recipes such as the Carlists eggs.
Salted products are common and, between them, include: chorizo de Pamplona, stuffing and sausage. The lamb and beef have, at present, designations of origin. Within the dairy include: Roncal cheese, the curd or Idiazabal cheese. Among the most typical alcoholic drinks are: the claret and pacharán.
The cuisine of Valencia has two components: the rural (products of the field) and the other coastal, which is seafood. One of the most popular dishes is paella, but there are many other rice dishes, such as Arroz con costra, fideuá and throw rice, Arroz al horno, and rice with beans and turnips.
Coastal towns supply the region with fish, leading to popular dishes like "all i pebre" typical of the Albufera of Valencia, or fish stew. Among the desserts are: coffee liqueur, chocolate Alicante, arnadí and horchata. Notably, during Christmas, nougat is made in Alicante and Jijona; also well-known are peladillas (almonds wrapped in a thick layer of caramel).
Other Spanish dishes: (Salchichón)
Selected list of Spanish chefs
- Ferran Adrià of El Bulli, Girona (closed).
- Juan Mari Arzak, Arzak, San Sebastián, Guipúzcoa (1989).
- Santi Santamaría, El Raco, Can Fabes, Barcelona (1994).
- Martín Berasategui Berasategui Lasarte, Guipúzcoa (2001).
- Carme Ruscalleda Sant Pau Sant Pol de Mar, Barcelona (2006).
- José Andrés Minibar by José Andrés Washington D.C.. Andres is a student of Adrià. He hosts Made in Spain on PBS.
- Karlos Arguiñano, celebrity television chef.
- Sergi Arola, La Broché, Arola and Sergi Arola Gastro. Arola is a student of Adrià who has been awarded two Michelin stars.
- Penelope Casas, New York-born cookbook author.
- María Mestayer de Echagüe (Bilbao b. 1878 d. 1956), also known as "Marquesa de Parabere", the author of a two-volume cooking encyclopaedia entitled La Cocina Completa. There are sections dedicated to the pantry and table etiquette.
- Ángel Muro, a 19th-century food expert and author of the book Practicón.
- Simone and Ines Ortega, authors of 1080 recetas (1080 Recipes).
- Manuel Maria Puga and Parga, an early 20th century food expert and author of La cocina práctica.
- Ilan Hall, Casa Mono, Manhattan, NY, winner of Top Chef Season 2. 
- Joan Roca, Jordi Roca i Fontané and Josep Roca i Fontané. El Celler de Can Roca, "Rocambolesc", "Can Roca", "Mas Marroch" and "Cap Roig", in the province of Girona, and he restaurant "Roca Barcelona" in the province of Barcelona. Three Michelin stars in 2009. In 2013 "El Celler de Can Roca" is selected as the best restaurant in the world by Restaurant magazine.
- List of Spanish dishes
- List of Spanish soups and stews
- Spanish wine
- Agriculture in Spain
- List of Spanish cheeses
- Flattop grill
- Medina, Xavier (2005). Food Culture in Spain (Food Culture around the World). Greenwood. ISBN 978-0313328190.
- Barreda F. The chacoli Santander in the 13th to 19th centuries. Maxtor Editorial Library. 1943. 2001 edition, first reprint. ISBN 84-95636-84-0.
- "'Vignobles et vins du Nord-Ouest de l'Espagne, Alain Lemps." "The txakoli of Burgos Valle de Mena wants OJ" 2005. Accessed 19 January 2008.
- "A laboratory of taste." The New York Times sunday supplement 10 August 2003.
- Hughes H. "Frommer's 500 places for food and wine lovers." John Wiley & Sons 2009 p110. ISBN 0470480645, 9780470480649. Accessed at Google Books 18 January 2014.
- Keown D. "A companion to Catalan culture." Tamesis Books 2011 p247. ISBN 1855662272, 9781855662278.
- Facaros D. and Pauls M. "Bilbao and the Basque lands." New Holland Publishers 2008 p190. ISBN 1860114008, 9781860114007.
- Ruscadella C. "Carme Ruscadella's mediterranean cuisine." Salsa Books 2007. ISBN 8496599159, 9788496599154.
- "Biography." Jose Made In Spain website. Accessed 18 January 2014.
- Barlow J. "Everything but the squeal." Clic-books.com 2014 p83. Accessed at Google Books 18 January 2014.
- Stone P. "Frommer's Barcelona". John Wiley & Sons 2011. ISBN 1119994497, 781119994497.
- Casas P. The foods and wines of Spain. (1982).
- Parsons R. "Penelope Casas, pioneer of English-language Spanish cookbooks, dies." LA Times 19 August 2013.
- "Penelope Casas, Spanish food author, dies at 70." The New York Times 18 August 2013. Accessed 9 September 2013.
- "The immigrants' universe." Xlibris Corporation 2010 p128. ISBN 1456811940, 9781456811945.
- Richardson P. "A Late Dinner: Discovering the Food of Spain." Bloomsbury Publishing 2008 p68. ISBN 0747593809, 9780747593805.
- Anderson L. "Cooking Up the Nation: Spanish Culinary Texts and Culinary Nationalization in the Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century." Boydell & Brewer Ltd 2013 p2. ISBN 1855662469, 9781855662469.
- Puga y Parga M. "La covina práctica." Everest Galicia, 2001. ISBN 8440305109, 9788440305107.
- Food and Wine Magazine. "Bravo’s New Top Chef Tells All". Retrieved December 25, 2014.
- This article draws heavily on the corresponding article in the Spanish-language Wikipedia, which was accessed in the version of 9 January 2006.
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