Talking about my trip to Spain would not be complete without a post about the food. As someone who has eaten the same breakfast everyday for the last 3 years, and easy find myself in a food rut, it may surprise you that while traveling I throw all caution to the wind and will eat just about anything. My feeling is I may not have the chance to have camel (Australia), guinea pig (Peru) or blood sausage (Spain) again, so I might as well give it a try! Spain did not disappoint as far as new foods were concerned. Everywhere we went there was a new tapas and other foods to try. No matter where we were, Madrid, Barcelona, Sevilla, I was always able to find something on the menu to try that I hadn’t eaten before.
By far my favorite menu item were the variety of cheese and meat platters. Always artfully served, it was so refreshing to eat real cheese, with some bite to it, and try out the many types of jamon, sausage, and other pork(?) meats.
In Madrid we tried Cocido, a delicious dish that reminded me so much of a boiled dinner. It included cabbage, potatoes, carrots, just like in a boiled dinner. The big difference were the chickpeas and mixed types of pork and beef meats. As a huge chickpea lover I was thrilled with this typical Spanish dish. It didn’t taste half bad either!
On one of our quick stops, as we drove south from Madrid, we had lunch at Venta del Quijote. In order to make it to our next stop we had to eat quick. I grabbed a dish called migas manchegas. It is like a mix of stuffing, garlic, pork, sausage, and red peppers. It was so tasty! Paired with a glass of red wine it was the perfect pick me up for the rest of our long bus ride. Not to mention it was quick to eat, leaving some stolen time for quick souvenir shopping.
While we were in Granada we were treated to a Moroccan tea house in the Alhambra Sabika Hill district, for lunch one day. To start we had a delicious soup with chickpeas and a thin noodles in it. Knowing we had a second course I tried to save room, even though I could have been content with just the soup. For the second course I chose a Moroccan meat pie. The flavors were amazing! A mix of sweet and savory combined just perfectly; cinnamon, garlic, chicken, raisins, almonds, saffron, and so many more flavors all blended and tucked into a soft flaky crust. I could only begin to make a dent into this huge pie after soup. My only regret was that we couldn’t take home the leftovers!
After our school visit one day we were treated to lunch at a local health club, La Motilla. I’m not going to lie, I was a bit skeptical of what the food might be offered, even if it was a fancy health club, but I should have known better. Of course everything was delicious! Another teacher and I shared a few tapas for lunch. All three are dishes were full of flavor and are things that I would not normally see at home. First there was Berenjenas con jamón (eggplant with ham in a sauce). Next Espinacas con garbanzos (spinach with chickpeas). And finally we had Patatas bravas (ali-oli, roquefort o mayonesa) (a potato and meat dish with red sauce). With each bite I decided that, this was the best thing I had eaten. I honestly don’t know that I could pick a favorite. I also highly doubt I will be able to recreate these delicacies at home.
It makes sense that in the city by the sea, Barcelona, there were many fish options for meals. In the 30 minutes between a city tour and a tour of La Sagrada Familia, I needed to grab a quick something to tie me over until a later lunch. I popped into a small cafe with a few friends and we grabbed some tapas. Without asking what was inside, I selected a few tuna empanadas. They were warm, flaky and so delicious. It was the perfect snack to ward off a hangry attitude.
A second seafood dish I had to try before leaving Spain was paella. On our last day in Barcelona I finally found my chance. With a group of teachers, we found a cute little restaurant along las ramblas that served paella. I was thrilled to try this authentic Spanish dish before we had to leave. It certainly did not disappoint, it was delicious!
I would be amiss if I didn’t talk about this last dish, churros. There are churro shops all over Spain, and most places serve them as a dessert, but I believe we may have found the best place in the world to eat them, Churrería Los Artesanos 1902. It was being transported into a magical chocolatey land as soon as we stepped over the threshold into the shop. Hands down these were the best churros of my life. The chocolate was to die for and the churros were cooked just perfectly. They may have been the most delicious thing I have ever eaten! Without a doubt this is the food I miss the most. I will search in vain for something that comes close to how amazing these tasted here at home.
It is making me hungry just thinking about all these amazing meals I had throughout my trip. Have you had any of these dishes before? What are some of your favorite Spanish dishes?