And therefore Spring.
Thank goodness, as in the last few weeks in Germany, you might be forgiven had you thought it was October!
Around here it was Autumn!
As you know, my family and I went to Spain and Portugal. Here are the last few posts in case you missed them:
If you’ve been following me for the merely two years that I’ve been blogging, you’ll see that I like travelling and experiencing the local gastronomy. I mean, just take a look below and you’ll see what I mean…!
THE CZECH REPUBLIC:
Yummmy Yum Yum!
So without further ado, let’s talk about Spanish food.
Here we go!
We spent three (3) days in Madrid and three (3) days in Seville and we were really able to get a good insight into what the lovely Spanish cuisine is made of.
Food in Spain is important.
It’s a message of love, desire, fun, and good fortune. It’s something that is shared, divided and passed around among friends, families, neighbours and strangers.
Many a time, I have been to the Mediterranean and there has been one street festival or the other. And what did the locals do? They invited us in and shared what they had.
That is what food is all about.
A message of love!
Spanish cuisine is heavily influenced by geography, climate and local culture. Food has a great amount of influence on cooking methods, local ingredients, and a complex history of traditions, religion, art and music.
When we think of Spanish food, we don’t necessarily think of gourmet, and as for vegetarian food? Well, it exists in vegetables of course, but beef, pork and seafood still reign, as the local eating monarch!
In fact, “The Tall Young Gentleman” who, as a male 14-year-old tween, spends much of his time eating, grew tired of devouring long slabs of ham and pork!
I mean whaaaaaat!
While we were in Madrid, we stayed in a Spanish-British run hostal.
A hostal is a type of lodging found mostly in Spain and Hispanic America. They are often family run independent businesses with a strong involvement, with the local community. They’re also very reasonably priced.
Madrid is expensive so it’s best to stay in the centre rather than the suburbs. I finally managed to find a hostal that could fit the three (3) of us into one (1) room, was within walking distance of the sights, and only cost €88.00 per night!
It wasn’t of the quality that I’m used to, but was Spanish in style, and definitely did the job! I’m not going to write about the hostal on my blog, but if you want the name, just contact me via the usual way!
Get ready to lick your chops!
Breakfast wasn’t provided so we went out to eat. Our hostal was on C/de la Cruz not far from Puerto del Sol, and there were absolutely loads of restaurants, cafes and bars to choose from.
Bear in mind that a lot of restaurants didn’t actually open until after 10:00!
We tended to have a local baguette sandwich, filled with either slices of Serrano ham or Iberian ham, and accompanied by parmesan and very, very squashed tomatoes!
I love tomatoes and in pretty much every sandwich shop we went to, they squashed them so that every ion of liquid was squeezed out, resulting in a bit of a mush!
We also had Spanish Croquettes that were stuffed with more ham, cheese and sometimes pork.
The highlight of breakfast however, were the churros.
I can’t stand coffee as I must have my daily cup of tea! However, I do enjoy a hot cup of chocolate, with a swirling of whipped cream, sprinkled with white chocolate flakes!
In Spain, locals tend to go to a chocolatería, so why not do likewise?
Savour in the delicious taste of goodness, and get yourself a local titbit known as a churros con chocolate. This “meal” is a fried churro dipped in a lovely thick cup of dripping hot chocolate!
And you do need to dip the sweet churros in your drink, ‘cos the hot chocolate is extremely thick and slightly sour!
Stews, broths, soups and sauces have always been stables of any cultural tradition.
Spain has a large variety of soups and sauces made with beans and tomatoes, full of spice and full of flavour, available to eat in both hot and cold varieties!
The dishes above are called pisto. They are traditional dishes made from tomatoes, onions, eggplant or courgette, green and red peppers and olive oil. Similar to ratatouille, they are usually served warm with a fried egg on top!
The stew above is pretty spicy served with seafood. Eat with a crusty loaf of bread.
Vegetable stew filled with all the goodness of Spain! Serve hot. Or cold!
If you haven’t had paella, you haven’t lived!
Paella is a rice dish invented in Valencia and consisting of white rice, green beans, chicken or rabbit, white beans, snails, and seasoning such as saffron and rosemary. Sometimes also including artichoke, seafood mixed vegetables and olive oil.
Spain has a large collection of rice dishes but it’s important to note that paella is the national dish of Spain!
There’s a lot of paella to go around.
Made in huge pots on large open-air stoves, it’s a meal made for the world and it’s mother!
A few weeks ago, I spoke at length about tapas and how you can order them at a local bar.
Simply put, a tapa or tapas are a wide variety of food served as an appetizer or snack.
The word “tapas” is derived from the Spanish verb “tapar,” meaning “to cover,” and also “on top of” or “a lid” and even to mean “small portion” and there are many stories, depending on which Spanish city you happen to be in lol!
One theory is that the tapas were slices of bread or meat which punters in taverns used to cover their glasses against dirt, dust, and fruit flies, between sips. The meat used to cover drinks was usually ham or chorizo, which were both very salty and activate thirst.
Because of this, bartenders and restaurant owners created a variety of snacks to serve with alcohol, thus increasing their alcohol sales.
A nice plateful of variety is well served.
On the left-hand side, you have a bowl of potatoes which they describe as “roast” potatoes but are actually fried, covered with a tomato and pepper sauce called Xató or Romesco. On the right-hand side you have a bowl of fried squid, and in the middle, a bowl of chistorra which is a type of sausage made from minced pork, or a mixture of minced pork and beef, flavoured with garlic, salt, and paprika, and usually baked, fried, or grilled.
A Spanish omelette is the English name for a traditional Spanish dish called tortilla española, or tortilla de patatas. This dish consists of an omelette made with eggs and potato and fried in oil.
It can be eaten warm or cold.
Speaking of cold. Let’s not forget dessert.
Enjoy this Spanish crème caramel or caramel custard, with a huge dollop of whipped cream!
Or stay “healthy” and go for strawberries and thick swirly cloted cream, instead!
And lastly, you can’t be in Spain if you haven’t at least tried, and tasted some good ol’ Spanish plonk!
That’s right. If you’ve ever thought about whether to start drinking beer or not, Spain is the place!
You can’t compare the quality to German beer of course, but at 50 cents per glass, you really can’t go wrong!
Drink a few glasses of beer washed down with tapas to start your evening!
How about a glass of Spanish Tinto de Verano otherwise known as sangria?
It’s not like the cheap stuff you would normally get at a packaged beach destination on the Spanish islands, but is rather quite nice and refreshing!
If you drank it with a few cubes of ice and slices of fruit. You’d be in clover!
Now I didn’t know this previously, but were you aware that gin and tonic is a huge thing in Spain?!
A huuuuuge thing!
We found out by accident as we went to a tavern and were served jars of clear liquid, which we thought was water.
But it wasn’t!
It was Gin and Tonic!
And the first time we knew of it was when “The Tall Young Gentleman” took a gulp of icy “water” and instantly spat it out, declaring that the “water” had gone off!!
We were supposed to try out the traditional Asturian Cider, but for some reason, we were served Spanish red wine instead!
I’m not complaining though.
A few glasses or bottles of wine drunk while people-watching, snacking on tapas, or generally “going out for a drink” is not to be sniffed at!
Oh yes, lest I forget,
Prices for freshly pressed fruit juice are outrageous. And in some cases, as much as €4.00 per glass!!
Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
This article is not sponsored and all opinions and the heavenly sangria and splendid wine, are my very own!
In the summer I’ll be going to Germany, France, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway and possibly Russia!
Next week, I’ll be focusing on Portugal!
On May 5th, I’ll be at a Travel Massive & DNX Mingle so if you’re a blogger or just interested in travel, lifestyle or travel technology, then come and meet us! Registration and attendance is free of charge!
From May 18th – May 22nd, I’ll be at the Berlin Music Video Award ceremony.
May is going to be thrilling!
I’ll be there. Will you?
If you’re not in Berlin in May, you must be off your Nelly!
Watch this space!
See you in Berlin.