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It would be a criminal offense to go to Spain and not sample the country’s amazing Mediterranean cuisine. Spain is known for some of the best food in Europe. From delicious paellas to Catalan’s version of tapas, we’ve got you covered with a detailed food guide to Spain.

Paella in Valencia

Guide to food in spain
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Oh, Paella! Spain’s national dish, which is a mixture of rice, saffron, meat, seafood, and vegetables, has been winning over the hearts of tourists for centuries. While you can eat good Paella in all of Spain, Valencia is the true home of the country’s national dish. Paella was created in Valencia during the Roman era. The dish was a fusion of Roman culture with Moorish culture: the Romans created the unique shallow-round pan and the Moors brought the rice and spices to Spain from the African continent. Traditional Valencian paella usually has rabbit as the main meat, which is said to enhance the flavor.

Pulpo in Galicia

Guide to food in spain
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Pulpo is the dish to try if you’re visiting Galicia, which is Spain’s green, northwest region. Galicia lies on the Atlantic coast and is known for its delicious octopus and squid. The dish, which is just called Pulpo (meaning octopus), is a base of potatoes, covered in olive oil and salt, topped with a layer of sautéed squid. The dish is then finished with more olive oil and generous sprinkles of paprika. Locals mop up the sauce with crusty bread. Try Pulpo with a glass of Rioja, or red wine, which the region is known for. If you’re heading to the region of Galicia, we have tons of great places for you to stay, from cute cabins through to coastal B&Bs.

Tapas in Madrid

Guide to food in spain
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No trip to Madrid would be complete without sampling the city’s traditional tapas bars. Spain’s capital city is awash with tapas bars, and you can spend hours hopping from place to place, sampling delicious bites. The idea of tapas is to have a small bite to eat, to accompany a drink (typically a beer or glass of wine). Typical tapas includes a slice of Spanish tortilla (a thick omelet made with egg, onion and potato), pimentos padron (small green peppers cooked in salt and olive oil), different types of chorizo, ham and cheeses, and calamari (fried squid). Grab a beer, and a tapas or two, before hopping on to the next bar – it’s the perfect way to see as much of the city as you can. If you need a place to rest your head and full-stomach, we have tons of great accommodation options for you.

Pintxo in Barcelona

Guide to food in spain
Photo by Daniel Lee

Barcelona, in the region of Catalonia, has a fierce sense of independence and a unique culture. Pintxo (pronounced Pin-t-choss) is like a normal tapas dish, except served on a small piece of bread, with a pick-stick holding the creation together. You can find all the traditional tapas (Spanish tortilla, squid, anchovies, different types of cheeses, Russian salads and chorizo) placed on top of small pieces of bread. In traditional Pintxo bars in Barcelona, your bill at the end is traditionally counted by how many pick-sticks you have on your plate. The idea is to accompany a beer or glass of wine with a Pintxo (or three).

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