When you think of food from Spain, what comes to mind? If it’s “paella” and “gazpacho”, well, you’re not alone! However, these two iconic dishes make up a tiny percentage of Spain’s glorious cuisine. In fact, it’s nearly impossible to pinpoint just one definition of “Spanish food”! Foods greatly vary from region to region throughout the country, each having their own culinary identity. Thus, we’re going to take you on a culinary cyber tour from northern to southern Spain, breaking down each region’s culinary personality. Foodies ready?

Northern

Let’s start on the northernmost tip of the country; considered the gourmet capital of Spain, known for its lush green landscape and dramatic coasts, this region is truly a foodie’s paradise. The Basque Country is famous for its Txakoli white wine and elaborate pintxos, made of top-notch ingredients artfully arranged on a piece of sliced baguette. Moving west to Asturias, this region’s star dish is called “fabada”, a white bean, chorizo and blood sausage stew. And of course, one mustn’t forget its famous cider! Finally, the northwest most region on Spain’s map is Galicia, with incredible fresh fish, octopus and savory empanadas.

Castilian

Moving down to Spain’s “heartland” located smack dab in the middle of the country, it’s no wonder meat is their claim to fame! From cured meats called embutidos, to their iconic grilled and roasted meats, this region lends itself to carnivores. If passing through the beautiful region marked by endless pastures and medieval architecture, be sure to try their star dishes: slow roasted suckling lamb and pig or cochinillo, as the locals call it. They are also known for hearty stews, cured cheeses, and last but not least, delicious wines!

Mediterranean

Now, for the famous spotlight dish of Spain…paella! While paella originated in the region of Valencia, it is traditionally eaten in both Valencia and Catalonia. Whether it is the typical Valenciana paella with meat and vegetables, or the oh-so-popular seafood paella, whatever rice dish you choose, you can’t go wrong!

Andalusian

Finally, we’ll end in Andalusia, the southernmost region of Spain. Marked by sunshine and an easygoing coastal lifestyle, it’s no surprise that a typical table will include cold, refreshing tomato soup like Gazpacho or Salmorejo, fried fish and ice cold beers. Other Andalusian staples include top quality acorn-fed iberico ham, cured cheese, spinach and garbanzo stew, stewed oxtail and huevos a la flamenca.

The common thread

While each region is completely unique in its culinary identity, there are a few common denominators that work as a culinary thread throughout the country. If you ask a Spaniard what they believe the “national food” to be, many will tell you their grandma’s go-to dish, “tortilla de patata.” The tortilla de patata, or “Spanish omelette,” is eaten throughout the entire country.

However, the threads that truly tie the country’s cuisine together are its products; cured cheeses, iberico ham, top quality olive oil, olives and incredible wines. Of the absolute highest quality and produced with centuries of tradition, these very special products native to Spain’s land are the ingredients that make each region’s foods, while greatly varying, utterly delicious. Which regions are speaking to your inner foodie? Written by: Casie Tennin May 18, 2017

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