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Top Ten Spanish Foods

Some of the most famous chefs in the world hail from Spain. There are restaurants in the Basque Country and Catalonia which you have to book a year rather than a month in advance. But posh nosh aside, what are the top ten traditional Spanish foods?

Patatas bravas

Whilst the Spanish are keen on spices, they're not so hot for spicy food. One of the few exceptions to the rule is the nationwide favourite, patatas bravas. Here a fiery red sauce, varying in composition from province to province, accompanies humble spuds which have been peeled, cubed, and fried.

Paella

For an authentic paella, you've got to head to Valencia. For it was here in the mid-19th century, on the shores of Lake Albufera, that the dish was born. In a Valencian paella, the key ingredients are chicken and rabbit although the seafood version's considered traditional in more coastal areas.

Gazpacho

Nothing cools you down more when the sun's summer rays beat down, save for a cold shower, than a starter of this chilled soup. Which explains why this dish hails from mainland Spain's most southerly region, Andalucia. Combining pestle-and-mortered cucumber, garlic, onion, pepper, and tomato with olive oil, salt, water and wine vinegar, the gazpacho receives a happy finish of chopped cucumber, onion, pepper, and tomato.

Jamón Ibérico

Walk into any bar, let alone restaurant, in any part of Spain and you'll always see a leg of ham. One of the bar staff will, on request, slice said ham into succulent slices to create one of the country's most distinctive taste sensations. A popular tapas selection, Spain produces 40 million hams a year. Jámon jámon indeed.

Calamari

There's an argument that anything tastes good deep-fried. What's beyond doubt is the scrumptious crunch-meets-chewy gastronomic experience of battered squid. Especially when doused in freshly-squeezed lemon.

 

Pulpo a la gallega

Staying in Galicia? Roll into any old hostelry and order a plate of octopus, Galician style. Here, Galicians pep up boiled octopus with paprika, sea salt, and olive oil.

Tortilla Española

Something was definitely lost in translation. For Spanish omelette is nothing like the version which used to appear in British kitchens with judicious use of chunky pepper. Tortilla española's also known as tortilla de patatas and pre-fried potatoes are the main ingredients after eggs. Chopped onion completes the recipe.

Crema catalana

A crema ordinarily refers to a creamed soup. However, a crema catalana is a Catalan take on France's classic crème brûlée. Here caramelized sugar tops a rich custard flavoured with citrus zest and cinnamon.

Chorizo

You'll certainly know when you've been chorizoed. For the taste lingers for several hours after you eat this alternately spicy or sweet sausage. Especially as whoever's made it would have gone heavy on the garlic.

Fabada asturiana

Chorizo turns up in Asturias' signature dish of fabada. Alongside morcilla, black pudding. This is a hearty white-bean stew that the mountain dwellers of Spain's most picturesque region use to warm themselves up when the cold snap of winter strikes.

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