A foodie's guide to Spain
"Food is not rational. Food is culture, habit, craving and identity." - J. Foer
While the rain in Spain may fall mainly on the plane, there is no reason for you to leave your taste buds there too. With each autonomous region specialising in different cuisines, we thought it would be cool to put together a little travel guide based on local menu staples. So, here goes nothing! Let’s travel Spain according to your favourite dishes!
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Valencia is by far the most stereotypical place to start. As the architects behind the delicious paella, this port city on the east coast of Spain has everything one could want in a quick getaway: beaches, imaginative dishes and a great combination of old and new attractions.
See The City of Arts and Sciences, the museum that (arguably) sparked the city’s revival.
Try You can’t go to Valencia and not get a paella Valenciana!
With the northern region of Galicia best known for its rocky coastline, it is perhaps of no surprise that seafood is all the rage. From octopi to clams and from fish to crabs, Galicia’s geographical location along the Costa da Morte takes centre stage in nearly all the local dishes. Visit in August and there’ll be a wide selection of food festivals in nearly every town and village.
See The stunning medieval town of Santiago de Compostela, which is also the final town of the infamous Camino de Santiago.
Try Octopus. It’s a far too underrated dish.
A small town in the French-neighbouring Basque Country, Donostia has somehow accrued more Michelin-starred chefs than nearly everywhere else in Europe (2nd behind Paris!). Combine this with crystal clear beaches and an abundance of green spaces, and this quaint little town is a gastronomic paradise – perfect for a relaxing escape!
See Take an afternoon to hike along the coast to the nearby town of Pasajes de San Juan to take in the beauty of Donostia from above.
Try Pintxos. As the region that brought tapas to the masses, it would be foolish not to indulge in a fair few different plates.
The Spanish capital may be known more for its ability on a football pitch than in a kitchen, but the city’s gastronomic quarter is looking for a late second-half comeback, playing on the constant flow of tourists to show off Castilla’s traditional culinary delights.
See With a booming tourist sector, you don’t have to leave the city to keep yourself entertained, but take the trip out to Toledo to experience the winding streets, old churches and homely squares that only a medieval town can bring.
Try Callos a la Madrilena, a cold weather meat dish served in clay pots as old as the city itself.
Not that I’m biased, but Granada is by far my favourite city in Spain… Lying in the deep south, Granada’s geography makes it one of the most interesting places in the country. With a history dating back to the Moorish occupation of Spain, it is perhaps of no surprise that the Moorish influence goes beyond the stunning architecture and winding alleyways filled with vibrant market stalls, and has played a role in the local cuisine too.
See The Alhambra. There is a reason that this work of architectural genius is Spain’s most visited tourist site.
Try Grab some tapas and taste the Moroccan influenced spices, giving a new perspective on traditional Spanish dishes.