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Traditionelle spanische Paella, Bild: nelea33 / shutterstock

Experience Spanish cuisine: 7 dishes you simply have to try

When you think of Spain, sun, sea and, of course, delicious cuisine immediately come to mind. Spanish gastronomy is a fascinating mix of history, regional influences and fresh, local ingredients. From the hearty paella of Valencia to the refreshing gazpacho of Andalusia, Spain’s culinary landscape is as diverse as the country itself.

In this article, we will go on a journey together through the aromas and tastes that Spain has to offer. We go on a discovery tour with seven dishes that you should definitely try in Spanish cuisine!

Paella: The heart of Valencian cuisine

Paella, the flagship of Valencian cuisine, is much more than just a dish – it is a symbol of community and tradition. Paella has its origins in the rice fields of Valencia, where it was originally prepared by farm workers over an open fire. Today, the recipe varies from region to region, but the centerpiece remains the same: saffron-colored rice combined with a variety of ingredients. One of them is, of course, real olive oil from Spain!

While rabbit and chicken are often used in Valencia, seafood paella is more common on the coast. The preparation is particularly important: let the rice rest in the pan so that the coveted “Socarrat” crust forms on the bottom.

A tip for paella lovers: real paella is never prepared with peas or chorizo – these are more touristy variations. So if you want to experience the authentic paella, you should pay attention to the traditional ingredients and preparation methods.

Gazpacho: A refreshing Andalusian tradition

Gazpacho, a cold soup dish from Andalusia, is the perfect refreshment for hot summer days. This traditional soup consists of a harmonious mixture of fresh, raw vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, onions and garlic, refined with olive oil, vinegar and some bread to bind it. Originally eaten by farm workers as a simple lunchtime meal, gazpacho has become a culinary highlight that can be found throughout Spain and beyond.

Each region has its own variant – in some areas, it is enriched with fruits such as melon or grapes, which gives the gazpacho a sweet note. It is ideally served ice cold, often garnished with diced vegetables or even ham and hard-boiled eggs. Once you’ve tried it, you’ll understand why this simple but flavorful dish has become an indispensable part of Spanish summer cuisine.

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Tapas: Variety in miniature

Tapas, the small Spanish appetizers, are not just a meal – they are a lifestyle. In every bar and café in Spain you will find a colourful variety of these miniature dishes, which are as diverse as the country itself. From simple olives and cheese bites to more unusual creations such as prawns in garlic oil or small portions of paella, there is something for everyone.

The beauty of tapas is that you can try several different dishes while enjoying a glass of wine or a cold beer. In some regions of Spain, such as Granada, you even get a free tapa with every drink. Tapas are also a great way to immerse yourself in the local culture and strike up a conversation with locals , as eating and sharing tapas together creates a relaxed and sociable atmosphere.

Tortilla Española: A simple but popular dish

The tortilla Española, also known as the Spanish omelette, is the prime example of the simple enjoyment of Spain. This popular dish consists of just a few basic ingredients: eggs, potatoes, and sometimes onions. The preparation is uncomplicated, but the result is always impressive: slightly crispy on the outside and wonderfully soft and juicy on the inside.

Every family in Spain has its own, often guarded, recipe, and the discussion of whether or not onions belong in it can be passionate. The tortilla is incredibly versatile – it can be served hot as a main course, cold as a snack, or even as part of a tapas platter.

Not to mention, it’s also a popular part of a Spanish picnic. Whether you enjoy it in a rustic country inn or in a hip city pub, a well-made tortilla Española is an unforgettable part of Spanish cuisine.

Churros con Chocolate: For the sweet moments

Churros con Chocolate, a heavenly combination of sweet pastries and rich chocolate, is not just a dessert in Spain, but a real cultural asset. These delicious, deep-fried dough sticks, often sprinkled with sugar, are the perfect accompaniment to a cup of hot, thick chocolate – a truly decadent treat! Whether as breakfast, a late dessert after a night out on the town, or simply as a sweet snack, churros con chocolate is popular with young and old alike.

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In Spain, you can often find long queues in front of the churrerías in the early hours of the morning, who prepare fresh churros. The dough is formed into spiral sticks in hot oil until they are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. If you then dip them in the delicately melting chocolate, a taste experience unfolds that you won’t forget in a hurry. Simple but incomparably delicious, it’s a must-try for any visit to Spain.

Jamón Ibérico: a taste of luxury

This noble ham from Spain is truly a taste of luxury. It comes from the Iberian pigs that roam freely in oak forests and feed on acorns. This special food gives the meat its unique, nutty taste. When you bite into a wafer-thin slice of this ham, you will experience a real explosion of flavours: tender, rich and with a slightly melting texture.

Jamón Ibérico goes through a careful aging process, often lasting several years, which gives it its unmistakable quality. Whether enjoyed on its own, on a piece of crusty bread or as part of a tapas platter, Jamón Ibérico is a delicacy not to be missed. A real piece of Spanish food culture!

Pimientos de Padrón: Small green surprises

Pimientos de Padrón are small green peppers from Galicia and a real Spanish delicacy. Usually mild and tender, every handful of these small pods has the chance of a fiery-hot surprise.

Traditionally, they are simply fried in olive oil until the skin blisters, and then sprinkled with coarse sea salt. The result is a delightfully crispy exterior with a soft, aromatic interior.

When enjoying these tapas, it is always a bit of a gamble whether you come across a mild or a spicy pod. Pimientos de Padrón are a perfect snack for social gatherings and a delicious introduction to the Spanish art of “tapeo”. Simple, rustic and memorable!

Result

Our culinary journey through Spain shows how diverse and rich Spanish cuisine is. From savoury paellas and tapas to refreshing gazpacho, sweet churros and luxurious Jamón Ibérico, each dish tells its own story and reflects the country’s culture. These seven taste experiences are a must for every connoisseur!