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'Pintxos'. Bilbao, Vizcaya


Cava

Spanish sparkling wine produced by a classic method in the region protected by the Designation of Origin Cava, which encompasses (specially) Catalonia – in particular the white-grape varieties: macabeo, xarel.lo and parellada, and also Aragón, Navarre and La Rioja. Its presence in the international market is constantly growing. Cava comes in different levels of sweetness (sweet, semi-sweet, dry, and brut). Although it is the most recommended wine for celebrations and toasts, it is becoming more and more common to use it as the main drink for all kinds of occasions.

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Cena (dinner)

The last meal of the day, less copious than lunch, although it is recently beginning to replace it, becoming the most important because it is usually shared with the family. Although it can be had until very late at night – in some restaurants even served after midnight – the most usual time for dinner in Spanish homes is between 21.00 and 22.00 h.

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Chocolate

A traditional sweet made from cacao seeds and oil. Chocolate is originally from Mexico; the Spanish were the ones to add sugar to it, successfully softening its intense flavour. It comes in many different presentations. Chocolates and chocolate bars are the most frequent. It is the most important staple ingredient in modern confectionery.

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Chorizo

Chorizo is the most typical of all Spanish sausages. It is made with minced pork and lard, although sometimes it includes other meats as well, like beef. The most distinguishing ingredient, however, is paprika, which gives chorizo its deep-red colour. It can also be smoked. Presentations, as well as thickness, vary. Chorizo is made in all Spanish regions.

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Churros

Churros are a typical Spanish product, made with water, flour and yeast. The dough is given an elongated and narrow shape (the churro itself), and is fried in olive oil. They are sprinkled with sugar while hot. In theory, they should be easy to make. However, it is extremely difficult to achieve the right point. They should be eaten right away, while they are still hot. They are usually served for breakfast, with coffee and milk.

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Cochinillo (suckling pig)

A few-weeks-old piglet, weighing less than 4 kg. Suckling pigs are usually roasted in a wood-fired oven, very slowly, so that the skin gets crispy and the underlying fat melts away. It is roasted whole, brushed up with lard to facilitate the crispening process. Cochinillo is a traditional dish from Segovia. It can also be prepared on a skewer.

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Cocido

Cocido has been a staple dish in Spanish cuisine for years. Its original recipe derived from another dish called olla podrida. It is a stew made by boiling together chickpeas, vegetables, and different kinds of meat and meat products (including at least hen, cured-ham knuckle, cured-loin bones, morcilla and chorizo). The stock is used to make a soup (with noodles or bread), and is served as first course. The second course consists of the chickpeas and vegetables, while the third takes care of the meat.

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Cocochas

Small pieces of edible flesh formed by the facial muscles of fish. Although they can be obtained from many different fish, hake cocochas are the most widely commercialised; cod's are too, but are not as valued. They are very juicy, soft and tender. When prepared in a sauce, their juices mix with the other ingredients, yielding delicious results. It is also frequent to roll them in batter and fry them.

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Cordero lechal (suckling lamb)

Lamb that has not been weaned, and is not older than a month nor heavier than 8 kg at the time it is slaughtered. Its meat is light pink, almost white, and is very low in fat. It is usually oven-roasted or grilled. This is a meat of exceptional quality, whose flavour has a milky hint to it, and does not compare to any other. Traditional dish in Castilla-La Mancha and Castilla-León.

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