One of my favourite countries to visit – the people, way of life and culture and of course the food!
On my recent trip to Madrid I finally learnt the difference between tapas and pincho’s. Essentially, tapas are small preparations of a meal which Spaniard’s typically eat at bars before dinner. When I was in Granada years ago, the bars served tapas for free with every drink order! Pincho’s (also referred to as pintxos or pinchu), is also typically eaten in bars traditionally in northern Spain and are particularly popular in the Basque country. The main difference between tapas and pincho’s is that the former uses toothpicks to avoid the snack from falling off the bread and to keep tabs on the number of pinchos the customer has eaten.
Dishes (and drinks) to try when in Spain –
- Albondigas – Spanish for meatballs and are traditionally found on a tapas menu
- Churro – This delicious fried-dough pastry is best served with liquid chocolate and icing sugar
- Gambas Ajillo – Garlic prawns. Usually found on a tapas menu
- Gazpacho – A soup made of raw vegetables served cold. This delicious dish originates from the south of Spain in the region of Andalusia
- Horchata – Originally from Valencia, this drink is best drunk with a type of sweet bread glazed with sugar known as fartons
- Jamon Iberico – You will see this all over Spain; hanging jamon (Spanish ham!)
- Kalimotxo – Popular is the Basque country, this drink is a mix of red wine and cola
- Paella – Valencia is home to paella so if you get a chance to have it there try traditional paella with either chicken or rabbit
- Patatas bravas – Crispy potatoes with a mildly spicy tomato based sauce and mayonnaise
- Queso Manchego – A lovely Spanish sheep cheese
- Sangria – A punch-like alcoholic beverage, traditionally consisting of red wine, chopped fruit, orange juice and brandy
- Tinto de Verano – The supposed ‘poor man’s Sangria’. This refreshing drink is red wine mixed with lemonade, lemon juice or sparkling water
- Tortilla de patatas – Also known as a ‘Spainish omelette’, is made with eggs and potatoes and usually onion. It is fried in oil and is often served as an appetizer
And of course you have to try tapas and/or pincho’s while in Spain!