A Sample of Spanish Cuisine

Michael Mikolajczak
Major: Spanish, Finance
Universidad de Burgos, Spain, Fall 2018

When traveling abroad one of the most exciting things to experience is food. The food of a country can be very telling of its culture and the life of its people. For example, most of the food in Spain is considered tapas. Tapas are basically appetizers or small portions of food designed to be shared in a large group. Tapas are the perfect example of the social nature of the Spanish. Instead of having your own dish and stuffing your face without talking, tapas force social interactions – not that the Spanish need to be forced to interact!

Tapas can consist of many different types of food. Burgos is famous for Morcilla, a sausage is filled with pig blood and rice. Although it may seem gross, it is a truly delicious meal that originates from Burgos.

Morcilla.jpeg
Image: The famous Morcilla sausage.

Another typical meal is the tortilla. A tortilla is basically a potato omelet and it is delicious and easy to prepare for any meal of the day. The Spaniards are very opinionated about the tortilla. A debate rages across the country whether onions belong in a tortilla. I like the added taste of the onions, but that decision is up to you to make if you study here.

spanish omlette
Photo Credit:  Tortilla española (c) Mediterranean Living

Meat and cheese are extremely common as well. Often served straight off the leg of a pig, it is much more delicious than the part platters you can buy in America. The “deli” section of the super market is mainly just hanging pig legs.

Jamon
Image: The hanging legs of jamon Iberico at the deli.

Moreover, a croqueta is a very common tapa that accompanies a drink without an added fee. A croqueta can be compared to a mozzarella stick, but instead of cheese, it is will with a mix of flour and milk. The fried outside paired with the creamy mixture on the inside makes for a delicious snack. If you are looking for some in Burgos, I recommend Pancho Bar. While you are there order some champiñones (mushrooms) as well because they are delicious!

Photo Credit: Croquetas (c) Traveler conde Nast

Pulpo and calamari, in English octopus and squid, are very common in Spain, especially in the coastal areas, however, the best calamari that I have had was in Madrid, an inland part of the country. They usually are deep fried and served with a side of lemon to minimize the fishy taste. They are also a main component of paella, a seafood and rice jambalaya. In Burgos, the restaurant Norte has a unique take on calamari. If you are looking for something not as traditional I recommend Norte.

Photo Credit: Calamari frito (c) Quora

Patatas bravas are one of my favorite tapas to share. They are basically french fries doused in a “bravas” sauce, hence the name. Bravas is basically a mix of ketchup, mayo, and hot sauce. They are the perfect snack during the time between meals and are so easy to share. Every bar makes them somewhat different, but I have never had patatas bravas I did not like.

patatas-bravas
Photo Credit: Patatas bravas (c)  unareceta

All in all, Spanish food is amazing. Before my trip I was not really sure what to expect; Spanish food is not extremely common in America. Although I have listed a general outline of Spanish cuisine, there are so many more options when it comes to typical food. As a general guideline Spaniards love anything with potatoes, olive oil, and wine. Every meal consists of a meat or fish, vegetables, and bread to clean your plate when you are finished. Spicy food is few and far between, but I have not eaten anything I haven’t enjoyed. If you are not interested in this program for the amazing opportunity to grow as a Spanish speaker and experience Europe like you never could before, I implore you to come for the food!

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