3 Spanish Eating Customs you need to know in Spain -

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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…

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Olives in haute cuisine

February 26, 2018

The table olive is not only a delicious snack for any appetizer, it also has many culinary uses. So much so, that many of the great chefs of the planet have introduced it into their recipes or even become the centre of them.

Olives acquired in any establishment can be mixed with a wide range of ingredients that allows obtaining surprising dishes and novel flavours.

In addition, the nutritional composition of olives is another of the reasons that make them great allies of chefs, since they have fibre and up to 77% oleic acid, are source of Vitamin E and its caloric content is low (100 gr of olives represent only 150 kcal, compared to 550 kcal of other substitute snacks).

Recently twenty leading chefs of Spanish gastronomy set out to give a new image to the typical dish of anchovy-stuffed olives. Why not dress them with basil, honey, mustard, red vermouth, pine nuts or salmon?

The Aceituning, as it was called this recipe book of olives, pretended to present new flavours of the Spanish olives.

It has 60 recipes in which they play with the flavours and texture of all the olive varieties (green, black, Gordal, pitted) with the ingredients that complete the seasoning.

Sergio Fernández proposed green and black olives in mojito; Darío Bueno green olives with lime, chili and smoked salmon; or Antonio Arrabal who opted for the black variety with vinaigrette of basil, pine nuts and fresh cheese. Pure originality!

For the chef and ambassador of Aceituning, Sergio Fernández, “the olive has glamor and potential”. This simple guide contains dressings for “table olives that can be found in any supermarket. You just have to dare to try.

Other chefs such as José Pizarro, Omar Allibhoy or Ben Tish, have introduced Spanish olives in many of their delicious recipes. Marinated Lamband Escalivada, Braised chicken in Spanish Olive sauce or Roast Lamb Rackwith Squashes. The possibilities and the versatility of the olives make them a fantastic ingredient for the haute and low cuisine. Let’s cook!

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 8 incredible Spanish Villages for an Escape

March 5, 2018

Spain is well known for its endless beaches, crystal water islands or city breaks. But the country has almost 20,000 villages diverse in architecture, traditions and culture.

Do we know the real Spain? Here below you are going to discover the deep and charming Spain, unexploited.

An insider’s guide into the top places and villages to visit in Spain, across the admiring and lesser-known hamlets. If you want to chill and relax, you are reading the right post.

From north to south,from west to east here we go:

COMBARRO, Galicia

With one of the most beautiful and typical pictures of Galicia, Combarro is located in between the sea and the land, with its fishing port, its unique old town and above all its stilt granaries on the edge of the estuary, an example of popular architecture .

Do not miss, the landscape during the low tide and the comings and goings of the fishing boats.

CUDILLERO, Asturias.

The legend says it was founded by Vikings. The picture of this Asturian coastal town facing the sea on the side of the mountain is hard to forget. The main attraction are the town’s colorful houses, stretching out in a semi-circle around the bay, with a backdrop of deep green hills. Its lighthouse sits on the cliff’s edge from where you can see the town of Cudillero and the impressive Atlantic Green Coast.

Never mind, whatever you do, you always end up in the harbor just by dropping down its steep streets.

Do not miss: Any of the restaurants in the Plaza de la Marina.

 GETARIA, País Vasco.

A beautiful fishing village of Gipuzkoa with medieval features overlooking the sea accompanied by the txacolí, a young and light wine ideal to combine with fish, its vineyards and wineries are one of its main tourist attractions.

Do not miss, its mouse shaped mountain and the Balenciaga Haute Couture Museum.

CADAQUÉS, Catalunya.

Part of the Cap de Creus Natural Park and the mediterranean roacky coast, the town is accessible only through a narrow road, which is probably why its old charm is still intact. Known as the favorite town of Salvador Dalí the famous painter for a reason.

Do not miss: The house-museum of the painter in Portlligat.

ALTEA, Alicante

This Alicante town has become a MUST on the Costa Blanca. An old fishing village with white houses, flowers on its walls and labyrinthine streets.

Do not miss: The fish market where in the evenings the catches of the day are auctioned, great spectacle.

VEJER DE LA FRONTERA, Andalusia

The most spectacular of all Andalusia’s white villages, the Moorish town with cobbled streets housing, flamenco bars and tapas restaurants. Any view is good to enjoy the valley below.

Do not miss, the walls surrounding the whole town and its Castle.

RONDA, Andalusia

Stunningly set above a 120-meter-deep canyon, the town of Ronda, is made up of two parts: the old

Moorish settlement and the 15th-century town. In the 18th century, they were connected by a stone bridge to form Ronda as we know it.

Do not miss: A walk down into the gorge along the Camino and its Goyesca bullfights.

MIJAS, Andalusia

The whitewashed streets of historic quarter, Arab in layout and nestling in the mountain landscape, Mijas an Andalusian town next to Malaga, a long-time favorite of day-trippers village.

Do not miss, its spectacular panoramic view of the Mediterranean Sea coast from the Sierra de Mijas, a 400 meters above the sea.

From now on you will not find an excuse to not visit Spain, enjoy yourself.

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 How to pit your Olives for stuffing

March 12, 2018

If you like cooking and like olives at the same time, it’s bound to happen: you have olives, a recipe that calls for olives, and yet the olives still have the pits in them. Luckily, pitting olives at home is pretty easy.

No matter what you marinate or flavor your olives in, pitting and stuffing them is fun and delicious.

 Why to pit your olives?

Whole olives can be amazing as a simple appetizer, but if you want to use them in tapenades, stews, or other dishes, they usually need to be pitted.

 How to pit your olives?

The technique you use to remove the pit usually depends on the type of olive. Some have flesh that sticks to the pit, while other varieties are softer and will yield their pits with less of a struggle.

To properly pit an olive, we suggest using an olive pitter. Just place the olive in the tapered hole, grasp the handle, and squeeze hard so the pit pops out the other end.

If you are more into DIY mode, why not, let’s go for a couple of advises.

First of all is better if you know which kind of olive are you “fighting” against.

The pits of some soft black olives slip right out, just by pinching both ends of the olive between your forefingers and thumbs. When we talk about green olives, are bit more stubborn, meaty and firm,

requiring though a bit more force.

Instructions :

Find a large chef knife. You can also use small frying pan or other heavy flat surface, even the bottom of a mug.

Place the flat surface of the large knife blade on top of the olive and press down, gently but firmly.

You need to use some force. An you will feel the pit inside the olive start to pop out.

The smashing should have essentially released the olive’s hold on its pit. Continue to press down on the olive and gently pull the knife towards you. This will cause the olive to roll and help in squeezing the pit out. The pit should pop right out or, at most, you’ll need to pull it out easily.

Maneuver the pit out of the olive with your fingers if it still hasn’t popped out.

*In any other case, we suggest to “cheat” and take the highway. Buy pitted olives and go straight to Step 2.

 What we do now the olives are already pitted?

Let’s stuff them ! (Step 2)

Have you ever tried olives and blue cheese with slow sips of martini? Believe it, these two ingredients when combined together are unbeatable.

First of all, if you have the choice look for pitted gordal-kind olives, which are large in size, the best option for stuffing.

For stuffing easily, we suggest using an olive stuffer (for softer fillings like cheese). Or just keep the mixture in a pastry bag and fill the olives with it. You can also make a cone of freezer paper and use in

case pastry bag or olives stuffer is not immediately available.

Once you get to the stuffing step you got infinite possibilities. Mango, marcona almond, manchego cheese, serrano ham, goat cheese and honey, roasted garlic and gorgonzola and much more.

Stuffed olives make an easy but elegant appetizer, will make any cocktail or dinner party flavorful and enjoyable.

A funny task to enjoy with family and friends suitable for all audiences, as we did in our last event in the UK with a stuffing station where children and adults learned to pit and stuff olives. Fun and family come together !

Would you like to learn more? Stay tuned, stay olived, a new event will come earlier than you think, practice is better than theory, promise !

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5 typical Spanish dishes in Easter

March 20, 2018

Spain is known for being good at celebrating; this also counts for Easter, or ‘SemanaSanta’. Therefore this article will explain – and maybe inspire you – what people in Spain are eating when celebrating Easter.

Easter is the time for a lot of traditions that can differ from region to region. One thing they agree on is the food! Spanish people definitely have a sweet tooth and Easter is not an exception.

Unlike other cultures where chocolate eggs are dominating the picture, people in Spain eat different sweet pastries.

TORRIJAS.

The first one is ‘las torrijas’ which more or less is a Spanish edition of a French toast.

There are different versions of this sweet treat; you can even get one soaked in wine, which must be in the true spirit of Spain.

Normally, the Torrijas is soaked in milk and eggs and afterwards fried and served with sugar or honey.

LA MONA DE PASCUA.

This is a Spanish Easter cake. The traditional cake was served with hardboiled eggs at the top. The newer version has replaced the real eggs with eggs made of chocolate. Among other thing, the cake consists of marzipan and apricot jam and thereafter decorated with

chocolate glaze, almonds and even some times colourful feathers.

This cake is mostly eaten on Easter Monday and is very popular.

Besides being a tradition related to Easter, this cake is also a sign for that the summer is near and are therefore seen as a warm welcome to the good weather.

HORNAZO.

They are originated in the region of Salamanca, which actually is one of the cities in Spain that has been declared ‘Fiesta of international tourists in Spain.´

Hornazo consists of bread stuffed with eggs, pork loin and chorizo.

There is just at the torrijas different versions of the hornazo, one of the others could be ‘bollo de hornazo’ which is dry bread with a sweet taste that are decorated with hard boiled eggs.

Eggs are an important part in the tradition of Easter since it back in the days was considered as meat and therefore not allowed during the lent (period of fasting). This meant that there were plenty of eggs at leftovers after the lent and therefore it was obvious to eat more eggs at Easter.

BARTOLILLOS.

Bartillos is quite related to the pestiños and churros. They are originated from the area of Madrid and some other calls them ‘Madrid Crème Puffs’. As the name indicates, the triangular pastry is filled with crème.

If you have a very sweet tooth and want the full experience, is recommended to enjoy this pastry with a glass of dessert wine.

PESTIÑOS.

IT is once again a sweet pastry. This treat is also typical during Christmas time.

The pastry has the shape as small cookies. The dough has been deep fried in olive oil and thereafter flavoured with sesame and in the end they are glazed with sugar and honey.

These typical delicious dishes are directly connected with the traditions of Spain and they are all being eaten in the week of Easter.

Actually, it is seen as being impolite if showing up at someone’s house without bringing some of the pastries in that period.

Once again, Spain unites about their passion for food. This is a true joy for everyone experiencing it.

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The Essential Guide to Easter in Spain

March 27, 2018

Let’s start from the beginning, the Spanish word for Easter is Pascua.
If you are looking for some colorful eggs and bunnies, you are in the wrong place! Easter celebrations in Spain are no joke.

With more than 70% of Spain’s population identifying themselves as Catholic, Pascua is Spain’s most celebrated holiday. Almost every spaniard will take part in the festivities in some way.
Some curiosities to introduce you the Pascua:
– The fasting period of forty days that leads up to Easter is called Lent. Lent is called La Cuaresma in Spanish.
– The seven days leading up to Easter Sunday are called Holy Week, or La Semana Santa in Spanish.
– The first day of La Semana Santa is Palm Sunday (Domingo de Ramos).The word ramos means ‘bouquets’ and ‘branches.’ and in Spain, when you go to church on Palm Sunday you carry a palm
branch or an olive branch. Boys carry a plain branch and girls carry one that has been decorated with ribbons and sweets.
– Semana Santa in Spain dates back to at least the 16th century when the Church wanted to
present the story of the Passion of the Christ in a way that the average person could understand.
During Semana Santa people all over the country come together for religious ceremonies, honoring the Passion of Jesus Christ.

Now the question is, ¿How and where? Because even if its true that the Holy Week is a national bank holiday, this celebration is much more important in the south of Spain, because the religious tradition is more deeply rooted in this part of the country. So if you want to really feel the ceremony you need to know what city to visit.

Semana Santa in Andalucía.
The most magnificent and unforgettable Semana Santa celebrations in Andalucia take place in Sevilla and Málaga where the streets are taken over by extravagant parades and elaborated religious displays
depicting biblical scenes.
In Sevilla, you can not miss La Madrugà, a series of processions that take place during the night/dawn of
Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. Listen to saetas or outbreaking flamenco from people on balconies, so moved by the spactacle showing their real lament.
Women often wear the mantilla, a black lace veil worn high on the back of the head, and made it clear
red lipsitck and skirts above the knee were definitely not allowed.
Now we only need to arrange a couple of things before leaving, some suggestions to keep in mind before
you arrive and during your stay.

Tips for Traveling to Spain During Easter
Arrange your accommodation well in advance, the most important is to come with calm.

Be respectful, dress for the occasion. If you want to blend in and show respect to their traditions, dress as
if you are going to a Sunday mass. Understand that Pascua is a highly revered holiday and that people take their traditions seriously. Remember, despite the heat women usually dress modestly.

The number of visitors considerably increases during these festivities,in crowded situations it never hurts to take caution of your pertinences. Once again, the most important is enjoying your holidays.