Food and drinks you need to try in Spain

Tortilla Española

Shed your preconceived notions of what a tortilla is.  A Tortilla Española is a thick Spanish omelet with potatoes and onions.

Sangria/Tinto Verano

The beautiful wine, juice, and fruit concoction made its start in Spain. Most of the sangria you will find in Spain will be that of the red variety. Spain has some of the best and strongest wine in the world. If you are used to the alcohol content typically found in American wines, you may be a little wobbly. Tinto verano contains everything in sangria but it’s bubbly. I always preferred tinto verano over sangria because I found it to be more refreshing.

Olive Oil

Spain is the number one exporter of olive oil, so it’s safe to say that it will likely be featured in many dishes you try. Eggs to top your rice dish will be fried in a pool of olive oil. It will be drizzled on your salad. It may even be served with some bread as a tapa.

Tapas

Tapas are small meals ordered with drinks in Spain. There are many varieties of tapas. Normally, the tapas will increase in size and robustness the more drinks you order. Free tapas are provided in Granada, Spain with any order of a drink, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. Travelers can make a meal out of a few drinks.

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Tapas featuring octopus, croquettas, and salted peppers in Madrid.

Croquettas

Croquettas are little balls of mashed potatoes and ham fried until they are golden brown. These fried treats are served on the side of a dish or can stand on its own.

Churros con chocolate

These hot and fried churros dipped in viscous chocolate will remind you of snowy, winter days. Many may be used to the churros with cinnamon sugar you can buy in the US, but these churros are just fried dough. It’s the thick, warm chocolate that takes the dessert to a different level.

Piononos

Piononos are a pastry that can only be found in Granada, Spain. The small pastry is made of spongy, flat cake that is soaked in sugar, then rolled up and filled with custard. Most bakeries in Granada sell these delicious treats.

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My friends and I chowing down on some piononos. Photo courtesy of Leah.

Paella

Paella is a rice dish similar to Italian risotto. This Spanish dish comes in many varieties such as vegetable, seafood, and mixed. Mixed paella includes seafood and different types of meat like sausage and chicken. Seafood paella typically includes shrimp and squid. The dish has a large portion size. It is one of my favorite Spanish dishes.

Flan

Flan is a Spanish dessert well known in other parts of the world. I have eaten flan before and not enjoyed it. It wasn’t until I ate homemade flan in Spain that I fell in love. Flan is made with condensed milk and a special syrup is used to top it. The custard dish is a must try.

Seafood

Because Spain is a county with an ocean above it and a sea below it, seafood is fresh and in many dishes. Even if the fish is just lightly fried and served with the head still attached, it is good.

Fanta Limón

Fanta Limón is a soft drink for those who don’t want to be drinking pure sugar. The lemon soda is perfectly tangy and refreshing.

Gazpacho

Gazpacho is a blend of different vegetables with a tomato base served cold. Although it may feel like you are eating cold soup, it comes in different varieties so you can find the Spanish gazpacho that jives with you the best.

Kinder Bueno

Although the Candy bar did not originate in Spain, it is prevalent in most Spanish vending machines. It is a wafer filled with hazelnut covered in chocolate. Kinder Bueno made every lunch break at the Universidad de Granada enjoyable for me.

Ham

Spain is known for their special cured ham, or jamon ibérica. The ham is sliced finely and can be found in sandwiches with cheese or on a tapas dish. Spanish cows are fed a grass that is unique to the Iberian Peninsula so the ham has a flavor unlike any other ham. The ham is tough to chew but it has a great taste.

Café con leche

Breakfast foods are not as important in Spain as they are in the US. Eggs, meats, and potatoes are rarely eaten for a Spanish breakfast. A Spanish breakfast is small and is usually only coffee with milk. Coffee in Spain is much stronger than it is in the US. Breakfast may also include tostada or toast with butter and jelly or crushed tomatoes.

Fresh fruit

There are many fruit and vegetable stands on the streets in Spain. One must stop to enjoy all the fresh fruits and vegetables.

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