AN ARRAY OF FANTASTIC FOODS

Spain has a plethora of wonderful produce with provenance to offer the food lover from the wind swept Atlantic coast in the far north to the ‘pueblos blancos’ (white villages) in the sun scorched South.

To name just a few, a slice of melt-in-the mouth jamón, a large juicy Gordal olive or the salty creamy tang of an aged ‘manchego’ – all can partner up nicely with a glass of fino, a fruity Albariño or a rich Rioja. The choice is infinite!

Chorizo

Probably the UK’s favourite Spanish food product, chorizo in fact comes in a multitude of variations that can differ wildly from one part of the country, or even village, to the next. Even so, the basic recipe remains the same.

The most recognizable trait of chorizo is its striking colour, which can range from burnt orange to vibrant red, thanks to the addition of Spanish pimentón, or paprika, which was first made by monks at the Monastery of Guadalupe using peppers brought back from the New World by Spanish conquistadors in the 16th century.

Jamón

If picking one product to represent the essence of Spanish gastronomy, it might be cured ham. Made in Spain since before the Romans arrived - even 700 years of domination by the Moors did not halt its production or Spaniards’ passion for it.

Nowadays Spain is one of the world’s biggest and best producers of cured ham. Choose between serrano, made from ‘white’ breeds of pig and ibérico, made from the indigenous Iberian pig and widely judged to be the best ham in the world.

Look out for ham from the various PDO’s and PGI’s that guarantee quality and provenance.

Olives

Central to Spain’s Mediterranean way of life, the olive is so much more than just a simple fruit. Spain’s olives are steeped in history and Spain is in fact the world’s top producer of table olives.

The Mediterranean climate and soil structure are perfect for growing and ripening olives with around 95% of table olives being grown in Andalusia and Extremadura.

Spain produces a vast array of olives, over 60 types in total with the most popular varieties being the Manzanilla, Gordal, Hojiblanca, Carrasqueña and Cacereña.

Cheese

More than 100 different cheeses are made in Spain today. This tremendous variety of cheeses stems from Spain’s geographical and climatic diversity.

They can be made from cows’, ewes’ and goats’ milk and also from different blends of these, with the milk mostly being obtained from native breeds

Some of the most important Spanish cheeses are Manchego (also the most popular), Zamorano, Torta de la Serena and Torta del Casar, all covered by Protected Designations of Origin (PDO).