5 Interesting facts about olives -

Read next

5 Interesting facts about olives

January 17, 2018

The delicious olives, although they are originally from the Mediterranean area, have managed to conquer the heart of the whole world.

This small fruit hides a lot of interesting facts that you’ve never heard. That’s why today we bring you 5 the most interesting ones:

# 1 Colour

Many people do not know that olives change colour during ripening. If you are wondering about the difference between green and black olives, most will say that they are different kinds. In Spain, most of the black olives are the same as the green ones but they are simply ripe. However, there are some kinds of olives that are dark from their origin, ranging from a coppery colour when green to a more intense black once ripe.

# 2 Calories

Each olive has nothing more than 9 calories on average. Olives have a reputation for fattening due to their high fat content, approximately 20%. However, each olive has only 9 calories and much of its fats are very beneficial, such as Omega 3 and Omega 6. It is therefore a beneficial product for cholesterol.

# 3 Aligned

You can not eat olives directly from the tree. The olives are very bitter and hard; it would be practically impossible to eat them directly from the tree. In fact, it is the only fruit that can not be eaten directly from the tree, needs to lose its bitterness and become soft before it is edible. To eliminate that flavour they are left in brine for a while. In some cases they can be dressed with different things, like garlic or aromatic herbs. In some cases they are allowed to cure even a year to take a characteristic flavour. These varieties with a long healing time are considered gourmet and are very appreciated by lovers of cuisine and original and different dishes.

# 4 Stuffed

It is estimated that there are about 90 varieties of stuffed olives. Olives are likely to be filled with all kinds of things. Although in Spain the most famous are the anchovy stuffed olives, there are also stuffed with varieties of cheese, garlic, onion and so on up to 90 different ingredients.

# 5 Flavours

The table olives meet the four basic tastes that the palate detects: acid, bitter, sweet and salty, which allows its use in any culinary recipe without more limitation than the imagination and the skill of the cook.

Read next

What to eat in Spain according to what area you are in

January 24, 2018

Spanish cuisine, like all great cuisines, is highly regionalized, but the homogenizing forces of modernity in general, and tourism specifically, threaten this diversity. These days you’ll find paella and sangria and patatas bravas in every corner of the country. But that just means as a traveller you need to be aware of where you are and make your food choices accordingly.

The people who find Spanish food disappointing are the ones who order paella in Madrid and sangria in San Sebastián. Of course, there is a common language that unifies Spain’s cooking — high-quality olive oil, cured pork, an abiding love of seafood — but it expresses itself in very different ways as you move around the country.

GALICIA

Up in Galicia? Eat octopus and shellfish and gooseneck barnacles and wash it down with a crisp Albariño. Galician empanada filled with chocos (cuttlefish), zamburiñas (variegated scallops), cod and raisins, tuna… anything! You must also taste Lacón con grelos (shoulder of pork with turnip tops), another winter classic based on the same ingredients and the infallible Galician gastronomy formula.

And if you are in Galicia at summer and the sun is out, is a perfect day for a churrasco! A few pork ribs, chorizo, our unbeatable marinade, a few beers, and… time to eat! Finally, don’t forget to taste Padron’s fried peppers, as Galicians say, some are hot, and some are not.

ANDALUCIA

When in Andalusia, eat jamón and fried little fish and drink sherry. Move over, gazpacho; Andalusia’s spooning out a better alternative to the chilled tomato-based soup. Salmorejo is thicker than gazpacho, but made with similar base ingredients: tomatoes, olive oil and bread.

Tiny, delicate clams known as coquinas are harvested from the waters off Andalusia’s coastline. However, these little treasures aren’t always available; they’re so treasured that only certain numbers of them can be brought to shore.

Originally brought over by the Sephardi (Spanish Jews), aubergines are a staple in Andalucian kitchens, whether in pistou (ratatouille-like vegetable stew) or deep-fried and then drizzled with molasses (made in Malaga).

VALENCIA

No doubt, eat paella. Sample Spain’s most famous rice dish at its birthplace – but try the others too! There are also ‘sticky’ and ‘soupy’ versions (meloso and caldoso) variants too.

If your only experience of eel has been in its grilled, unagi nigiri form, all-i-pebre will make for an intriguing second foray. Its name refers not to the fish but to the sauce itself: a soupy blend of garlic, paprika, and ground almonds, in which chunks of fresh eel and potato are simmered to the point of melt-in-your mouth perfection.

In Valencia, the familiar refresher of horchata is made exclusively from chufas, a local variety of tiger nut. Order a glass of this ice-cold milky drink with a serving of the amusingly-named fartons. Not as sweet as a doughnut, nor as savoury as a bread roll, these elongated, sugar-dusted dipping pastries are the perfect vehicle for soaking up horchata’s sugary goodness.

Another dish that you must taste is Esgarraet. Esgarraet is cured salt cod, mixed with sweet red peppers, garlic, and olive oil. So delicious!

Our advice, spend a bit of time learning about the great regional specialties of the country and seek them out aggressively. An hour or two of reading online will make your food experience exponentially better.

And of course, there are some dishes that you can order without fear in any area of Spain such as tortilla de patatas, calamari or delicious olives. And, enjoy your meal!

Read next

10 Curiosities about Mediterranean food

January 31, 2018

Many studies say that one of the healthiest diets is the Mediterranean one. It is known all over the world! And you? How much do you know about Mediterranean diet? Here 10 curious facts that you probably did not know about such delicious cuisine:

1. Did you know that the Mediterranean diet is on the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity?

2. Experts claim that drink a glass of wine daily has numerous beneficial effects for our organism.

3. Garlic, which is the essential complement of Mediterranean cuisine, reduces cholesterol and combats hypertension because it contains essential nutrients and vitamins for our organism. In addition, garlic is depurative, diuretic and antioxidant.

4. Salad is one of the star dishes of the Mediterranean diet. Eating a good salad with vegetables regulates the intestinal flora and provides fibre and many nutrients.

5. Consuming legumes regularly reduces hypertension and improves control of blood sugar levels.

6. Starting the day with an orange juice fills us with energy and fills us with good humour.

7. Research shows that if you eat tomatoes regularly you have less risk of spills.

8. Wheat has been cultivated in the Iberian Peninsula since the Neolithic, it has a fundamental part in the Mediterranean diet.

9. Grapes help protect the skin from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Eating grapes is essential in summer.

10. Olive oil, helps fight aging and protects the brain

And an extra:

11. The star of the Mediterranean diet, table olives, are a source of vitamins A and C that help improve our defences.

 

 

Read next

Interesting Facts about Spain

February 6, 2018

Spain is one of the world’s oldest cultures with a rich heritage that has influenced entire continents. It is the birthplace of the Spanish language, Miguel Cervantes and Salvador Dalí, and attracts millions of people every year, many of whom end up falling in love with its charm, making it their place of residence.

Spain has tons to offer, from tortilla de patatas and olives, to flamenco dance and Spanish guitar. On that note, let’s look at some known (and some not so known) interesting facts about Spain.

#1 The Puerta del Sol (“Gate of the Sun”) plaza in Madrid is the physical center of the country.

In it, the so-called Kilometre Zero of the country’s radial network has been located since 1950. The square also contains the famous clock whose bells mark the traditional eating of the Twelve Grapes and the beginning of a new year. The New Year’s celebration has been broadcast live on national television since 31 December 1962.

#2 Spain has been through a bunch of different names throughout its history.

The North African inhabitants who first crossed the Straits of Gibraltar called it Iberia, which meant land of rivers (‘Iber’ meant river). When the Greeks discovered the peninsula, they called it Hesperia, meaning “land of the setting sun” (since it was then the westernmost point of the European continent).

When the Carthaginians came to the land around 300 BCE, they called it Ispania, which meant “land of the rabbits”. Later, the Romans took over and Latinized the name to Hispania. Over time, this changed to España. So essentially, Spain is the “land of rabbits”!

#3 Ratoncito Pérez 

There is no tooth fairy in Spain, instead, the Spanish have a legend called ‘Ratoncito Pérez’ who exchanges children’s teeth for money. Normally a coin is given, such as 1 euro for each tooth.

#4 New Year with Twelve lucky Grapes.

As per this custom, Spaniards celebrate the New Year by eating one grape with their family for each bell strike of the clock (for a total of 12 grapes – hence the name). This custom was originally popularized by Spanish vine growers as a way to sell their excess grapes! These grapes are associated with good luck, so you should eat them to have a good year.

#5 Spaniards have two surnames

Traditionally, you have two surnames in Spain – the first surname from your father, and the second from your mother.

For example, if your name is Pablo López Alegre, and your wife’s name is Lidia Sanchez García, your kids’ surname will be López Sanchez.

However, as per a new gender equality law, this tradition is now being changed to favour the mother’s last name, so you can change the order.

Read next

Top five Spanish markets for foodies

February 12, 2018

Top five Spanish markets for foodies

Spain is a country with lots of flavour. One of the best ways to enjoy so is by exploring its food markets around their cities: traditional places where visitors can find fresh fruits, vegetables, meats and fishes or even enjoy prepared food such as tapas or sandwiches with a glass of wine.

Some of the most famous markets include the Boquería in Barcelona, San Miguel in Madrid or the Mercat Central in Valencia.

We would like to approach five Spanish markets in which tradition rules: markets where neighbours do their daily shopping, places where tradition remains and where local gastronomic secrets may be discovered. So ¡vamos!

#1 MERCAT CENTRAL IN VALENCIA

Valencia’s main market is one of the most beautiful and recognizable buildings in the city, and is worth visiting just to marvel at the architecture, which sits in the middle of the city’s Ciutat Vella, or old town. Its iron, glass, and ceramic domes are a good example of early 20th century Valencian architecture. It was opened in 1928, and today has around 1,200 stalls, making it one of Europe’s largest markets. It specializes in fresh food, from meat, fish, fruit, and vegetables, to more local offerings, like olives and cheeses.

Today you can find a lot of stalls with more international offer, so it’s the perfect place to find anything you need to cook.

Also, if you have never feel the experience of enjoying a bocadillo or tapas surrounded by the harmonious bustle of a market, you should try it in Chef Ricard Camarena’s Central Bar. The bar is located in the heart of the Mercat Central. So let yourself be enveloped by its smells, sounds, colours and flavours.

#2 MERCADO DE SAN MIGUEL IN MADRID

Probably Madrid’s most famous market, Mercado de San Miguel is located right in the city centre, just off the Plaza Mayor. Built in 1916, the wrought iron and glass structure was renovated and reopened as a gourmet food market in 2009. This is the place to come for freshly prepared food; try Spanish classics like jamón Ibérico (cured Iberian ham), plump, juicy olives, and vermouth—Madrileños favourite aperitif.

In addition, in certain occasions small concerts or events are held inside, so you can disguise the best of Spanish cuisine in a unique atmosphere!

As a curiosity, there is only one stall remains of what was in the previous stage of the market, specifically, a greengrocer.

#3 MERCADO DE LA BOQUERIA IN BARCELONA

The San José Market, better known as La Boquería” is the most famous market in Barcelona. It has become a top tourist attraction over the years because of its central location on Las Ramblas, so prepare to jostle with selfie-takers and tour groups as you browse the stalls. It is worth a visit, however, for its bustling atmosphere and tempting food stalls, offering a wide array of freshly prepared dishes.

The colourful market is a labyrinth of more than 2,500 square meters along which are located more than 300 stalls offering all kinds of products. Eggs, meat, sausage, sweets, fruit juices … It is difficult to imagine any product that can not be found in La Boqueria.

Some of the stalls offer delicious menus prepared with the freshest products.

The exciting mix of colours and flavours and its lively atmosphere, make it an indispensable place for locals and tourists.

#4 MERCADO DE LA RIBERA IN BILBAO

At 100,000 square feet (10,000m2), Bilbao’s Mercado de la Ribera is the largest indoor market in Europe. Its 1930s Art Deco flourishes make it a beautiful place to explore. Pick up some of the freshest Basque meats, fish, and cheeses, or try some of the market’s produce in La Ribera Bilbao restaurant, which also plays host to live jazz on an evening.

You have plenty of options: the market has three floors and there you can find the best and freshest products of the sea and lands within the Basque Country: meats, fishes, fruits, fresh vegetables, mushrooms, cheeses, wines, flowers, pies, seeds, tinned or pickled food etc. Some of the chefs of one of the best cuisines all over the world -the Basque cuisine- do most of their shopping here.

#5 MERCADO DE ABASTOS IN SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA

The second most visited attraction in Santiago de Compostela after the cathedral, Mercado de Abastos is a great place to explore the city’s incredible seafood. From scallops and prawns, to lobsters and the local specialty of goose barnacles, there is a wide array of fish and seafood on offer. The market bar will cook up your purchases so you can enjoy the freshest food in the bustling atmosphere.

The market is run as a cooperative and some market gardeners still go there to sell the harvest they collect daily from their gardens; so fresh products are more than guaranteed. This traditional market has been updated thanks to the use of online shopping services, vacuum packing to keep your goods fresh till you get home and you can even hire your own personal shopper to get advice.

Read next

3 Spanish Eating Customs you need to know in Spain

February 20, 2018

3 Spanish Eating Customs you need to know in Spain

Eating in Spain, as you can imagine, is steeped in tradition, culture and habit.  This is a list of observations of the Spanish in their natural habitat, enjoying a good meal with friends and family. They are small, mostly completely insignificant details, but if you want to understand and immerse yourself fully in the Spanish culture on your next trip, or you just love to know these little things, keep reading!

1# Bread

A piece of bread is the third cutlery utensil after the knife and fork in Spain. If you want to stop a Spaniard from eating, just don’t put any bread down next to his plate. Spaniards will eat bread with anything and everything, including heavy carbohydrate dishes like pasta and rice. All ‘Menu del Dia’ include bread. Spaniards just don’t eat without bread!

In fact, in each area of Spain there are typical breads from that area, and it is considered one of the main foods in their diet.

If you invite a Spaniard to eat at your house, do not forget to buy some bread, and you will have conquered his heart!

2# Water / Agua del Tiempo

So whilst we’re on the subject of drinking whilst eating, let’s talk about water. The Spanish do not eat without water. In UK, there is some variation family to family on this. Some families do tend to drink water with lunch and dinner, but a large proportion, if not the majority, wash their food down with juice, orange squash, coke, beer etc. These drinks are aperitifs in Spain – they usually don’t appear at the dinner table. The most you will find beyond water is a bottle of wine.

Water is always still, and mostly from the tap too, but it is always, always served – there is no variation across families here. The other little detail about how the Spanish take their water is the issue of temperature. When you order water at a bar in Spain, you’ll be asked “Fría” (cold) or “Del tiempo” (literally ‘of the weather’, actually meaning ‘ambient temperature’). Many Spaniards don’t like their water too cold, so don’t want it straight out of the fridge.

Another point about water, is that on rare occasions you will see people ask for or drink sparkling water, which is very common in other countries. What’s more, if you want sparkling water in a bar or restaurant, you have to specify it, otherwise you will be served still water.

#3 Coffee

Coffee is quite the Spanish phenomenon. Many Spaniards drink several cups of their favourite caffeinated beverage in the course of a single day. Coffee also traditionally follows a Spanish meal and is served after the dessert.

The tradition has survived the massive landing of Starbucks and similar franchises. You can still find acceptable coffee for one euro or just over one euro in a bar, cafeteria or restaurant, although you have to know where and what types of coffee are suitable at every moment of the day.

First of all, explain that there may be local differences depending on the city of the country where you order coffee, we will talk about those that are more widespread:

1. Cofé Solo: The equivalent of Italian espresso, coffee and water under pressure in an express machine, it takes 25 seconds to make, and a good waiter will deliver it in a minute. The best thing early in the morning.

2. Café Cortado: A cortado, as requested in Spanish bars, is a coffee with a little milk.

 

3. Café con leche: It is prepared with the same amount of milk as coffee and is served in a larger cup or glass than the previous two, which is served in small cups. The king of breakfasts in the Spanish cafeterias.

These are the 3 types of coffee most common in bars, although there are others like bombón, cortado served with condensed milk instead of coffee, coffee with ice (a delight in summer) or a tocado, coffee served with a trickle of some liquor.

There are many other customs, but we leave that for another day…