Spain was one of the countries on this trip that I was most excited about, and not because of the amazing sites to see, the history of the Spaniards and the Moors and the Conquistadores, or even the Spanish inquisition. The one thing I was most enthralled by knowing that we were heading to Spain was the food. I know, what a huge surprise, this blogger was excited about food. I know.
I was completely unfamiliar with Spanish food until very recently. Although it always looked delicious on TV and all of the cheftestants on Top Chef who seemed to win had some experience working in Spanish kitchens, I never actually tried any of Spain’s delightful foods until we visited Hong Kong. Hey, after a couple of years living in Asia you’d eat at a Spanish restaurant when you visit the most western of all Asian cities too. Anyhow, the whole tapas experience excites my stomach because you can have a little bite of a bunch of different things without feeling like too much of a total pig.
In Spain, the experience was a bit different. We tried the local fare of Madrid and Barcelona, with a special lunch at a San Sebastian style Basque tapas bar for our final (and most grand) tapas meal. Everything was amazing in Spain. The ham fell apart in your mouth. The chocolate covered churros, well, I’ve already gushed on and on about those. Catalan sausage, all sorts of marinated tuna and salmon, and a wide variety of cheeses, all of it completely geared towards my palate. Spain seems to be the spot where they figured out how to use spices in a way that just screams (or sings maybe) finesse, whereas the way they’re used in Turkish or Indian cuisine screams WE’VE GOT LOTS OF SPICES AND WE AREN’T AFRAID TO USE THEM. Of course, Turkish and Indian cuisines are beautiful for that very reason.
At any rate, a picture is worth a thousand words, and I think this little gallery of images of Spanish cuisine will probably make you hungry.
Montaditos of anchovy, squid, chorizo, manchego, potato, and tortilla
Montaditos of chorizo, manchego, blood sausage, and mortadella
Cheesecake and cafe con leche
Planchado of bacon and cafe con leche
Counterclockwise from left: Croquetas, pork grilled with moorish spices, albondigas, and gazpacho
More montaditos, salads, and tinto verano.
Torrados of Catalan sausage and manchego
Pintxo of ham and vegetables with cafe con leche and a berlina.
Pizza of smoked tuna.
Empenadas of ham, cheese, and spinach.
Chocolate covered churros.
Clockwise from top: Pintxos of marinated tuna, soft cheese and pinenuts, salmon, and tortilla.
Pintxo of chorizo, served hot.
Hungry yet? Yeah. I thought so. May I suggest that you pick up some jamon Iberico and manchego cheese, and make yourself a nice sammich?