Spain is a place where sweet, fresh squeezed orange juice, quality olive oil and plates of fine cheeses are everyday fare. Does that sound like your kind of place? There’s actually no better way to savor Spain’s quality foods and unique Mediterranean flavor than with a food-centered trip straight to the source. A foodie pilgrimage to Spain is in order!
Places to Go, Things to Eat
Get out your forks and your passport. Consider kicking off your culinary tour of Spain with some of the following tasty dishes and destinations.
1. Seek out seafood and Santiago cake in Santiago de Compostela, a town known for its Celtic heritage and as the end point of Spain’s famous pilgrimage route. The surrounding region of Galicia is rich in seafood and maritime history, with many restaurants specializing in octopus and vieiras, which are like oysters. Santiago cake is a traditional, flourless almond dessert cake that is decorated with a relief of a Saint James Cross in powdered sugar.
2. Enjoy roast suckling pig in Segovia, a city known for its well-preserved Roman aqueduct and the splendid castle that inspired Walt Disney’s. Segovia’s tender, roast suckling pig is cooked whole over a traditional wood fire.
3. Devour tasty tapas in San Sebastian, a resort town known for La Concha beach, its pretty promenade and the old town with its many tapas bars. San Sebastian’s tasty bites and plates are sized for sampling and served on toothpicks.
4. Savor paella and horchata in Valencia, a city known for its Fallas fire festival and its location beside the sea. The Spanish rice dish of paella actually originated in Valencia, where it is studded with different meats, seafood and vegetables and flavored with saffron. Spanish horchata is a sweet milky drink made from ground tiger nuts and served cold.
Made in Spain
To fully capture the flavors of Spain, you should try to sample all the different fresh, quality base ingredients central to Spanish cuisine, such as ham, cheese, wine, olive oil, oranges and saffron. Two excellent places in the country to do that are at the gourmet markets found in Spain’s main cities: San Miguel Market in Madrid and Santa Catalina Market in Barcelona. Both of these fun markets showcase some of the best fresh ingredients and prepared foods around.
While they are arguably slightly less gourmet in outlook as San Miguel Market and Santa Catalina Market, La Ribera Market in Bilbao and Zaragoza’s Central Market are two other excellent covered markets where you can find a variety of quality products and discover all the real tastes of Spain. In fact, La Ribera Market is the largest covered market in Europe. Be sure to try the cheeses produced in the area!