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Spanish Cuisine and Recipes


Information  about Spanish Food, Recipes and Cooking

Cooking by Country - March 2002


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Go to:- Spanish Speciality Dish  |  Spain Featured Ingredient  |  Cooking by Country Main Page



Spain is probably best known for Paella, but with the long stretch of coastline on the Mediterranean Sea producing daily fresh fish and seafood and it's  Central Castilla Plateau where baby lamb, goat and and suckling pig is reared, there's more to Spanish cuisine than that. 



Ancient Times, History and Influences on Spanish Cooking


Being in Europe,  one would expect Spain's culinary heritage to have been influenced by the Greeks, and Romans but its southernmost points are just a short sea crossing to North Africa,  and after 800 years of Moorish occupation, these  influences are also heavily present. In particular  ingredients like almonds, honey and egg yolks were introduced from North Africa, especially in dessert making. 


Later,  imported ingredients from the New World, which included the tomato, potato, vanilla, a wide variety of beans, courgettes and peppers also took  a firm place in Spanish  cuisine. 


Current Day Spanish Cuisine


Spanish cooking is still essentially family cooking in that it's relatively simple to prepare and always uses fresh produce. 


Cooking in the  different regions varies greatly,  from  Andalusia in the South where the food is hot and spicy with an Arabic influence,  to Galicia in  the Northwest  with its Celtic heritage and known for its Pote (hearty soups made with meat bones and beans)  and Asturias famous for its bean dish Fabada. In the East,  Valencia leans  toward  the more typical Mediterranean cuisine whilst in the West Extremadura is famous for its ham and sausages, including Chorizo. Game is also frequently used.   




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We can't possibly do a feature on Spanish cuisine without the mention of Catalan and Basque cooking.


Cataluna is in the Northeast of  Spain  and  includes the town of Barcelona.  The cuisine uses fish, seafood, meats and poultry, which are often combined with local fruits in an exciting and inventive way, whilst in the fertile Basque country (North Spain - includes the town of Bilbao ) a more hearty type of cooking prevails utilising fresh fish, meat and vegetables including a popular local dish called Marmitako (potatoes with Bonito).



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