Spain has a very rich and diverse cuisine. There are however certain foods that form the basis of the Spanish cuisine. Read on and get to know more about the basic Spanish foods that are most commonly consumed by the people of the land.
The Spanish cuisine that is widely consumed today has a long history behind it. The formalized Spanish cuisine was once undergoing a series of experiments and changes with the people of different religions the origins that lived in the region. What is interesting to note is that much of the Spanish cooking is still done according to the same methods that were common during much older times. The basic ingredients that the Spanish have used over the years to prepare their food have also remained the same since about three hundred years ago. This is the reason why Spanish food is still as fresh and rich as it used to be in the good old days.
You will find that each region in Spain has its own unique cuisine. This is due to the physical nature of the different regions and the different ethnic groups that occupied the land. The thing that binds all the Spanish food together is the select list of basic ingredients that the Spanish use to prepare their meals. This well defined list is common no matter which end of Spain you are in.
The basic essentials
The number one basic ingredient in Spanish cuisine is olive oil. Whether you are eating a specialty of the east or a delicacy of the islands you will find that everything in Spain is prepared using olive oil. The south of Spain is rich with the growth of olive trees which has made the country the leading producer of olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil is also commonly used but tends to be a bit more expensive. Garlic will usually be seen where olive oil is and these two items together are used to prepare all kinds of basic Spanish food.
There was a time when pork was hardly eaten in Spain. This was when the Moors occupied the land as it was forbidden in their religion. After the decline of the Muslim era the use of ham increased and now it is one of the most valued meats in Spain. Jamon Serrano in particular is a popular kind of ham consumed in Spain. On the contrary to this is the very neutral food; fish. The fact that Spain has waterways on three of its corners has given it plenty of easy access to fish. Fresh fish and seafood is part of the everyday staple diet of the people of Spain which includes everything from shrimp, halibut and octopi.
Spain is known to produce a variety of excellent cheeses out of goat, ship and cow milk all mixed together. Manchego is a popularly eaten aged cheese variety and tetilla is a soft cheese that originates from the region of Galicia. Cabrales is a variety of blue cheese which is matured in limestone caves. Cheese is considered to be a basic tapas food item but it is also widely consumed during meals and for dessert as well. Sausages of different meats and kinds, eggs, chicken and fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts of different kinds along with herbs and spices are other basic Spanish food items that are consumed regularly on a daily basis.