Cultured Palate: Dishes from Spain
The cuisine of Spain has been heavily influenced by the many different regimes that have held power in the region over the centuries. Romans, Greeks, Visigoths, and Berbers have all influenced both the methods of preparation and the types of ingredients used.
If you’re visiting for the first time, it’s not hard to see that food has become a central part of everyday life. There’s even a specific Spanish word for the leisurely conversation that follows a meal. If you’re traveling through the country, take the time to get to know each region’s unique cuisine, and use this list to help you find your ideal meal.
One of the most well-known foods exported from Spain is jamón Ibérico – a type of cured meat made from Ibérico pigs, a native Spanish species. The pigs are kept on farms, where they’re fed regular corn and grain, or left to forage for acorns. These acorn-fed pigs are marketed under the name jamón Ibérico de bellota and their meat can be sold for twice as much as regular Ibérico ham.
Jamón Ibérico is made from the pigs’ legs, which is air cured for two to four years. When served in a restaurant, jamón Ibérico is usually served in paper-thin slices on slightly warmed plates, so that the fat begins to soften.