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'Pintxos'. Bilbao, Vizcaya


Bacalao (cod)

This is a cold water fish, with a very fine meat that is firm and delicate. Although sometimes it can be found fresh, it is more common to see it salted in the market. Cod is used in many of the most traditional Spanish dishes, including salads (Moorish salad, esqueixada) and wonderful stews (a la viscaína, al pil-pil, al Club Ranero), as well as in some great regional dishes like niu, the most representative Catalan dish of what is known as "sea and mountain cuisine".

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Berberecho (cockle)

A bivalve mollusc that measures from 3 to 6 cm, and lives mainly in the sandy seabed of the Galician shores. Its two shells are identical, almost circular in shape with radiating ribs. The flesh is hazelnut-hued with a bit of coral in it. Cockles have a firm consistency. If purchased fresh they are usually served steamed, but it is more common to consume them tinned. They are usually served as an appetiser, with a side of lemon juice or spicy sauce.

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Bocadillos (sandwiches)

In Spain, a bocadillo is a piece of bread, usually a small baguette, opened in half and filled with just about anything and everything that the consumer may fancy. Spanish people usually eat them at any hour of the day, although it is more common to have them as a midmorning snack or in the afternoon.

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Bonito

A blue fish, similar to tuna but smaller and with a lighter flesh. Bonito belly (ventresca) is the fattiest and also the most delicate part of this fish. The best time to have fresh bonito is in the summer, when it reaches its highest quality in both texture and flavour. It is usually found tinned – in water, in olive oil, or marinated.

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Brandy

A beverage distilled from wine, that goes through an ageing process in oak casks, which give it its particular aroma and flavour. The ones produced in Andalusia and Catalonia are famous worldwide, but that should not discourage anyone from trying the very interesting varieties from other Spanish regions.

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