Hannah Explores the Cuisine of Spain

Hannah Explores the Cuisine of Spain

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Hello! My name is Hannah and I am travelling to Madrid, Spain this summer for 3 weeks. I am incredibly excited for this experience and cannot wait to board the plane!

In preparation for this trip, I have researched Spanish cuisine in order to prepare myself for the foreign dishes my host family may present to me. I visited a Spanish Tapas restaurant to taste the most famous dishes of Spain. Tapas are small dishes, such as an appetizer or a snack that can be cold or hot, consisting of different traditional Spanish recipes. My family and I went to Toro Bravo in Portland to try the delicious cuisine of Spain.

Spanish cuisine relies heavily on local resources such as fruits and vegetables as well as meat and seafood. Every region is known for its own unique dishes. Madrid is recognized for its incorporation of ingredients that are not well known by foreigners, such as pig’s ear and other pork specialities. The Basque Country, a region often considered a culinary paradise, is well known for its skilled preparation of seafood, specifically cod which has become a delicacy, appearing in many traditional dishes. The Asturians in the North create their most famous dishes by slow cooking over low heat and maintaining an absence of spice to enhance the natural flavours of the ingredients.

At Toro Bravo, I tried several famous Spanish dishes that I anticipate being served in Spain. My family and I ordered various tapas dishes to share. We tried chorizo and manchego, classic Spanish tinned octopus, olives, tortilla española, Ibérico skirt steak, and the famous Spanish paella dish. Spain is known for its consumption of cured meats and manchego cheese. In Portland, I follow a vegetarian diet but when I travel to Spain I will eat everything. At Toro Bravo, I didn’t adhere to my vegetarian diet and instead tried all of the seafood and meat that I usually would not eat. The chorizo that I tasted at this restaurant was unbelievably delicious, especially with the added manchego. This plate was by far my favourite tapas dish of the night!

Seafood is a large part of Spanish cuisine and that includes "pulpo" or octopus. Classic Spanish dishes include octopus that has not been fried - like in calamari - and I tried one such dish that night. I had never tasted canned octopus and I was not a very big fan. Even with this experience, I will keep an open mind and try new versions of octopus in Spain if it is offered.

Tortilla española is one of my favourite Spanish dishes. My friend’s mom is originally from Spain and she always makes this dish whenever I go over to her home. She has perfected the recipe and it is so, so delicious. I can’t wait to eat lots of tortilla española during my travels in Spain.

One Spanish dish that everyone should find an opportunity to try is paella. Spain is known for its delicious paella, made with fresh and tasty seafood. Paella is prepared in a special cast iron pan that adds an earthy taste to the dish. Paella consists of rice, seafood, chicken, chorizo, and spices. The abundant amount of chorizo adds a strong flavour to this rice dish. I have grown up eating paella and I am very eager to try this dish from a traditional restaurant in Spain.

I am so excited to try classic Spanish recipes with my host family. I can’t wait to visit Spain this summer and share my experience with you when I get back!