Food & Drink

Spanish food

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la comida española - Spanish food

Spanish food is very varied and there are many, many dishes that are typical.

unas tapas - small portions of food

You eat these in a bar. You can make a meal by eating several of them – tapas variadas.

DID YOU KNOW ... the word tapar means 'to cover' and that's where the term tapas comes from as people used the small plate on which the snack is served to tapar - or cover - their drink so that flies couldn’t get in!

la tortilla - a Spanish omelette

This is not like a thin French omelette, but thick and made with potatoes and onion. It's served in slices or cubes like a cake.

DID YOU KNOW ... in Mexico, a tortilla is a different thing – it's a thin bread made of wheat or corn used in lots of Mexican foods like burritos and tacos!

el pan con tomate - bread with tomato

Take a piece of bread, rub a halved tomato on it and drizzle over some olive oil. Sometimes people rub garlic on the bread too. This is a typical Catalan snack and is called pa amb tomaquet in the Catalan language.
Catalonia is one of the 17 'autonomous regions', or areas in Spain, which means it has its own government, as well as language and culture.

el turrón - nougat

This is a typical sweet eaten at Christmas. There are two main types:

turrón de Jijona - soft nougat

turrón de Alicante - hard nougat with whole nuts

el gazpacho - a cold soup

Gazpacho is made of tomato, garlic, bread and olive oil. It is typical of Andalucia in the south of Spain where it gets very hot in the summer. It's very refreshing and is based on an Arab soup.

la paella - a typical Spanish rice dish

Traditionally from Valencia, paella valenciana contains rice coloured yellow with saffron, meat, snails, beans and green vegetables. Paella de marisco has seafood instead of meat and snails and green vegetables. Paella mixta as its name suggests, is a mixture!

paella valenciana - paella with meat

paella de marisco - paella with seafood

paella mixta - paella with meat and seafood

You often see people making huge paellas on the beach - the Spanish version of a barbeque!

las aceitunas - olives

These are everywhere in Spain especially as a tapa or snack.

el jamón serrano - literally, mountain ham

This is a dry, cured ham that is served in thin slices cut from a leg of ham.  You often see the legs hung from the ceiling in bars.