If there is something Spain is known for internationally, it is for its extraordinary gastronomy. There is no corner of the country that doesn’t offer fresh products and truly exquisite traditional dishes, which is why it is a great tourist destination for cuisine lovers of good food. However, there’s a misconception about Spanish gastronomy since many unaware of how varied and rich it is depending on where you travel.
Broadly speaking, in the north, many of the typical dishes that you will find are based on seafood from regions bathe by the Cantabrian Sea. In the heart of the Iberian Peninsula, stews and grilled meats are a tradition. The south is home to tapas, fried fish and elaborations with products from the garden. While, in the communities bathed by the Mediterranean, casseroles and rice dishes are a classic main course.
In short, the richness of the cuisine in our country is undoubtedly one of the reasons why many of our recipes and gourmet products are awarded for their flavour and gastronomic relevance. If you want to know more about it, don’t miss the following list.
The best gourmet products and gastronomic elaborations in Spain
- Acorn-fed Iberian ham, delicatessen for your palate.
- Cheese, it’s practically impossible to choose one.
- Saffron, a condiment worth its price in gold.
- Seafood, delicacies of the sea to lick your fingers.
- La Alcarria honey, one of the best in the world.
- Red, rosé or white wine, but always with PDO.
- Extra virgin olive oil, the key to the success of our dishes.
- Andalusian gazpacho, with the best products from the garden.
- Potato omelette, classic yet essential in any gastronomic tour.
- Ham, chicken, cod or mushroom croquettes, you choose.
1. Acorn-fed Iberian ham, delicatessen for your palate.
Iberian ham is one of the most exquisite products of Spanish gastronomy. The protagonist of many tapas throughout the Iberian Peninsula and an essential ingredient in cold-meat tables. This product is not only one of the best known within our borders, but also outside them.
Coming from Iberian pigs, the ham is more delicious depending on their breeding and their feeding method. Therefore, if they are raised in freedom and fed exclusively on acorns and natural pastures, the product obtained will be of higher quality. In addition to being a great source of protein, this product contains a high level of oleic acid, which has proven to be a healthy fatty acid for consumption.
2. Cheese, it’s practically impossible to choose one.
Spain is one of the countries in the world with the greatest variety of cheese. In fact, in our country, more than 150 different classes are produced and there are around 32 Protected Designations of Origin (PDO) of this product, so it’s practically impossible to choose just one.
Whether made from sheep, goat or cow, or as a mixed cheese, this product is still a classic aperitif in many Spanish homes and, in the same way as Iberian ham, it’s a great co-protagonist in tapas and tables, whether is a fresh, creamy, tender, cured or a smoked variety. Although as we say it’s difficult to choose, if we must highlight a few we could talk about the award-winning Manchego Viejo, the Curado Mahonés or the Torta del Casar Virgen Del Prado.
3. Saffron, a condiment worth its price in gold.
Saffron, the most expensive spice in the world, is an essential condiment in many dishes of Mediterranean cuisine, especially key for giving colour and flavour to Valencian paella, which is still one of the most representative recipes of our gastronomy. But, in addition, this product is known for its therapeutic properties for the mind and body.
However, there is another reason why it is worth its price in gold and this is due to its complex production. Saffron, which was already used in Ancient Egypt, is obtained by roasting the stigmas or strands of the flower with the same name, so it takes around 250,000 flowers to get a kilo of this spice.
4. Seafood, delicacies of the sea to lick your fingers.
Mussels, lobsters, prawns, clams, spider crabs, barnacles and velvet crabs among other seafood are the delicacies that bring us the seas bathing Spain. If there is a well-known product of our coastal gastronomy that has made us enviable, it’s the quality of our seafood, which can be the protagonist of the main course as well as a key ingredient in some dishes such as rice and stews that are a true tribute to our palate.
5. La Alcarria honey, one of the best in the world.
In our country, honey, which is one of the oldest foods in the world, has its maximum expression in La Alcarria, a natural Castilian region that includes the provinces of Madrid, Guadalajara and Cuenca and which is home to the first Denomination of Origin of honey recognized by the European Union, and that reveals spectacular landscapes of lavender and rosemary, aromas that permeate its high quality, internationally recognized kinds of honey.
6. Red, rosé or white wine, but always with PDO.
If there is something that Spain stands out for is the different Denominations of Origin of its wines. In fact, our country has the largest area of vineyards in the world that produce high-quality reds, rosés and whites such as Rioja, Ribera del Duero, Jerez or Ries Baixes. These are just some of the most prestigious PDOs that are an excellent accompaniment, provided they are consumed in moderation, for multiple special dishes.
7. Extra virgin olive oil, the key to the success of our dishes.
Olive oil, especially if it is extra virgin, is undoubtedly essential in Spanish gastronomic recipes. Our country is the largest exporter of this olive juice, so when looking for quality there is nothing better than selecting an extra virgin olive oil with Denomination of Origin in Spain:
As we also know it, EVOO contains a multitude of antioxidants and healthy properties, which is why its consumption is recommended over other oils and fats. It is not surprising that extra virgin olive oil is the key to the success of many of our dishes, adding flavour to key elaborations that you will find any gastronomic tour of Spain such as the following:
8. Andalusian gazpacho, with the best products from the garden.
No matter how simple the Andalusian gazpacho recipe is, this is still a wonderful drink that combines the best products from the garden of the south of the Iberian Peninsula, giving rise to a delicious and highly nutritious vegetable juice that is suitable for all types of diets, without exception.
Based on tomato, green pepper, cucumber, garlic and, of course, extra virgin olive oil, this preparation is completely refreshing and a great option to consume more vegetables between spring and summer, although we could not blame anyone for doing it. in the colder months.
9. Potato omelette, classic yet essential in any gastronomic tour.
Our potato omelette is not as the classic omelette, and it can be crowned as one of the queen recipes of our gastronomy. Although much is being discussed about its origin, we know for sure is you will always find it as a tapa in any Spanish region and that it should be a dish to try on any worthy gastronomic tour. The potato omelette (with or without onion, this is much discussed) is a classic delicacy that is great as a side dishes as well as part of a much well-prepared dish.
10. Ham, chicken, cod or mushroom croquettes, you choose.
Although it’s a French heritage, today we could not conceive of Spanish cuisine without croquettes. Tapa par excellence or part of the typical gastronomic selection in a traditional and familiar meal, croquettes are another gourmet recipe that any cuisine lover should try in our country. Whether made with ham, chicken, cod or mushrooms, croquettes are a versatile appetizer that has multiple variations depending on the region of Spain in which you are.
Has your appetite been whetted? If you are interested, you can learn more about the top-rated gourmet products of Mallorca.