Friday, June 18, 2010

food and drink in spanish/spain

Food and Drink are very important in Spain, and both are relatively cheap and substantial. The Spanish Traditional food of Tapas, Serrano Ham and Paella are a good way to sample traditional food, normally found in small bars and served at anytime of the day. Wine in Spain is more popular than anything else but there is still a large selection of beer (of course the infamous San Miguel).Spanish Brandy is also very popular especially with a coffee in the mornings.Coffee is drunk in Spain in large quantities. Cafe solo comes in a small cups and is a black coffee,strong and thick. Cafe con leche is coffee with milk.Paella is a rice dish, originally from Valencia where it is eaten especially on Sundays . There are many variations of it with different ingredients.The name paella is the word for "frying pan" in Valenciano(from Latin patella). However, the dish has become so popular that the word paellera is now usually used for the pan and paella almost exclusively for the dish. In the Valencia area, nevertheless, the name paella is commonly used for both the pan and the dish.Paella is usually garnished with vegetables and meat or seafood. The three main ingredients are rice, saffron and olive oil.Paella is generally cooked in a paella pan, which is a large, shallow, flat pan. First the meat, and then the vegetables are fried in olive oil and the rice is added so as to be suffused in the oil. Boiling stock is then added to the paella pan, and reduced by boiling. Once the rice is nearly done, the paella is removed from the heat and left to absorb the remaining water. Traditional paella has a crispy, caramelized, toasted bottom that is considered to be the most delicious part of the dish by the Spanish and most paella purists. This is called the socarrat. To achieve a socarrat, one need only to turn up the heat to high and listen to the bottom of the rice toast. Once the aroma of toasted rice comes from the pan, the heat is removed once again. The paella is ready to be served after having cooled for several minutes


Tapas are small portions of foods, both hot and cold, served in bars, bodegas and tascas to accompany a copa of fino (dry Spanish Sherry) or draught beer. You can enjoy tapas in most bars before the lunch hour (in Spain this is very late - tapas at

1 pm, lunch at 2 pm or after), and again before dinner (8-9 pm, with dinner later yet).Tapa-hopping is part of the convivial Andalusian way of life. With a few friends you stop in at several bars to have a glass of wine and sample the tapa specialities of each. It's customary to stand up at the bar.Here's a taste of some of the dishes--hot and cold-- you might find in a tapa bar in Spain.Certainly the superb ham, both serrano , which just means mountain-cured, and the pricey iberico . This salt-cured ham is served raw, very thinly sliced. It makes a marvellous combination with fino Sherry.And, of course, olives. They can be the famed Seville olives, sweet, meaty manzanillas ; orgordales , the size of small plums; or home-cured ones, slightly bitter, flavoured with herbs and garlic, or olives stuffed with anchovy. A tapa of mixed olives might include fat caper-berries too.Amongst cold dishes on the tapa bar are a variety of salads, some wonderfully exotic. For example, salpicon with chopped tomatoes, onions and peppers might include prawns and other shellfish or it might be made with chopped, cooked octopus. Remjón is a salad of oranges, codfish, onions and olives. While it might sound strange, it tastes wonderful. So does roasted pepper salad; ensalada campera, a lemony potato salad; and cooked fish roe dressed with oil and lemon.Fried fish, from tiny fresh anchovies (boquerones) and rings of tender squid (calamares) to chunks of fresh hake and batter-dipped prawns are enticing, in deed. Look for cazsn

en adobo, fish marinated before frying, and boquerones en vinagre, marinated raw fish. The selection of shellfish will astound you--clams and razorshells, mussels, prawns ranging in size from the tiny to the jumbo; crab, lobster, and more.Then comes a variety of hot dishes. Some are cooked to order--prawns pil pil, sizzled with garlic and oil; garlicky grilled pork loin--while others are dished out of a bubbling stew-pot. You can savour meatballs in almond sauce, kidneys in Sherry sauce, sautéed mushrooms, chicken fried al ajillo, with garlic; lamb stew; broad beans with ham; piquant tripe, spicy snails, and, of course,tortilla, a thick round potato omelette. Crisp-fried fritters and croquettes are other great tapas of Andalusia, which produces the world's finest olive oil.

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