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Enjoy Spain's Famous Food!

Apr 10, 2008
One of the best things about visiting Spain is the amazing number of foods that are offered depending on what area of the country you travel.

Along the coast, as you'd expect, you'll find absolutely delicious - and super-fresh - fish and seafood. Move inland and you'll be delighted with the different meat and vegetable dishes on offer - without forgetting the incredible variety of different fruits available.

Of course all of Spain is famous for the wide variety of appetizers or tapas that are provided as either part of a main meal or as small tidbits to have with drinks.

In most of the small rural areas the tascas (tapas bars) are the only types of restaurants available and will feature different dishes based on what is available. In large cities there will be all different types of restaurants and more likelihood to find the more elaborate presentations and preparations of the traditional foods of the country.

There are two main meals of the day, lunch ("comida" or "almuerzo") and dinner ("cena"). Both are eaten considerably later than in Anglo-Saxon countries. Lunch is usually eaten between 2.00 and 3.30 in the afternoon, and dinner any time after 9.00 in the evening. Breakfast is a very light affair, and most people have a snack in the early evening, called a "merienda".

But perhaps the best-known Spanish dish outside Spain is the paella (which is, in fact, the name of the pan where the dish is cooked). Paella is a dish based on rice, colored and flavored with saffron, which can contain any mixture of meat, vegetables, fish or seafood. The "original" paella comes from Valencia and was made with rabbit, broad beans and other vegetables, but the best known types of paella now are often "mixed" paellas, containing different kinds of meat, fish and seafood.

Spain is a country that produces wonderful fresh vegetables and fruit. A visit to a local market is a wonderful experience. It is very common to eat a dish of just one vegetable as an entree, or, perhaps more usually, one vegetable sauted with ham, or with ham and onion.

Desserts are perhaps not as varied as in some other countries, but you can still find a great variety, often varying from region to region. And after your dessert, why not end your meal in typical Spanish fashion, with "caf, copa y puro" (coffee, liqueur/spirit and cigar - although the cigar is becoming less and less common).
About the Author
Terry Roberts has lived in Spain since the 1970s. Check out his website, Travel to Spain , for information and advice for your next trip there - and don't miss his ideas on the Top Ten Things to Do in Spain .
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