Food and wine with Designation of Origin: the best of the best

Spanish cuisine is increasingly highly regarded around the world. While on holiday in Spain, you can enjoy a wide variety of healthy, imaginative dishes. Part of the secret is in the ingredients: high quality products which you can also take home with you. And if you want to be sure you’re choosing the best, look out for Designation of Origin certificates. Discover what they are and where to find them.

Tapas, traditional sweets, delicious meals, the Mediterranean diet… A trip to Spain offers a wide range of different pleasures to choose from. And you can take some of these delights home with you: try them and you’ll agree that Spanish ham, cheese, wine and olive oil make excellent souvenirs or gifts for your friends.

The best quality is guaranteed by Spain’s certificates, especially the Protected Designation of Origin (DOP) and Protected Geographical Indication (IGP). These marks ensure that the food is of excellent quality, that it comes from a strictly defined area, and has its own particular characteristics. Designations of Origin are also protected by European Union standards, and they include the most famous products of Spanish cuisine.

Superb wines

Over 300 foods and wines are covered by this quality system. Seeking them out is also a great excuse for visiting different parts of Spain. The variety of products is very wide, from cheeses, pulses and sausages to drinks, sweets and spices. However, one group stands out above all: wine. Of course, you’ve heard of the wines of La Rioja and Ribera del Duero, and sparkling cava. And there are other options of extraordinary quality, as well as a very inviting way to explore them: following a wine route.

Ham and cheese

To accompany your wine, you might like one of Spain’s finest products, Iberico ham; the most famous hams are certified to come from areas like Guijuelo, Jabugo, Dehesa de Extremadura, Trévelez (Andalusia) and Teruel. There are also plenty of cheeses to choose from, such as Los Beyos, Idiazábal, Afuega’l Pitu, Cabrales, Gamonedo and Casín (Asturias); Flor de Guía, Majorero and Palmero (Canary Islands); Nata de Cantabria; Manchego, Zamorano and Valdeón (Castilla y León); l'Alt Urgell and La Cerdanya (Catalonia); La Serena, Ibores and Torta del Casar (Extremadura); Tetilla (Galicia); Camerano (La Rioja); wine cheese from Murcia; Quesucos de Liébana (Cantabria); and Mahón-Menorca.

For a sweet tooth

Lovers of sweets, pastries and desserts will also find plenty to enjoy in Spain, from traditional cakes like Tarta de Santiago to artisanal honey from different areas (Granada, Tenerife, Liébana, La Alcarria, Villuercas-Ibores and Galicia), “alfajores” from Medina Sidonia, “ensaimadas” from Mallorca, “sobao Pasiego”, marzipan from Toledo and “mantecadas” from Astorga. Around Christmas there is even more to choose from, with mantecados and polvorones (lard cakes) from Estepa, and turrón (nougat) from Agramunt and from Jijona.

Delicious fruit

Whether for dessert or at any other time of day, Spain also boasts a huge variety of fruit with quality certificates, such as chirimoyas from the Costa Tropical of Granada and Malaga; peaches from Calanda; bananas from the Canary Islands; melon from La Mancha and Torre Pacheco-Murcia; Reineta apples from Bierzo and Girona; pears from Lleida, Rincón de Soto and Jumilla; cherries from Jerte and Montaña de Alicante; persimmons from Ribera de Xúquer; kumquats from Callosa d’en Sarriá; dessert grapes from Vinalopó; and the citrus fruits of Valencia.

Something for everyone

Salads become gourmet-worthy with olive oil from Jaén or Córdoba, and vinegar from Huelva or Jerez. If you like paella and other rice dishes, try rice from La Albufera in Valencia, seasoned with saffron from La Mancha for spectacular results. And dedicated carnivores, as well as ham, will love the traditional roast meats of Avila, lamb from Aragon, “botillo” from Bierzo, “cecina” from León, chorizo from Cantimpalos, suckling lambs from Castilla y León, “morcilla” from Burgos, “salchichón” from Vic, veal from Galicia, etc. There is a long, diverse list of Spanish foodstuffs with the guarantee of Protected Designations of Origin and Protected Geographical Indications. Choose your destination and discover the quality of these products - they will be some of your fondest memories of a holiday in Spain.

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