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The Culinary History of Spain & the Six Food Regions

a fruit and vegetable market during the day

Spanish food is known for being straightforward, comforting but most importantly, fresh. The ingredients are always of premium quality, and each dish is made with love, passion, and cultural pride.


Spain’s cuisine reflects a country that was both conquered and has a long history of colonization.


Today, there are six distinctive culinary regions, so if you’re looking to have the whole Spanish culinary experience, try and plan your itinerary around some of these regions.

Tortilla de patatas

1. Andalucia - This region is famous for pescaito frito (deep fried fish), jamón ibérico (Iberian ham), oxtail soup, gazpacho, Tortilla de patatas (Spanish omelet) and delicious sherries like manzanilla and fino.

Spanish Stew with Red Sauce

2. The Pyrenees - Here, you’ll find dishes that include fresh tomatoes, onions, sauteed peppers, and chilindrones, a hearty Spanish stew made with chicken, venison, wild boar, or beef.


spanish paella

3. Eastern Region - This region is the birthplace of Spanish paella. Enjoy various rice-based dishes like Arròs Negre (squid ink fish) and Conejo con Arroz (rice and rabbit).

sopas de ajo garlic soup


4. Central Spain - This area would include the stunning baroque region of Castilla-Leon. Prepare for a more robust menu in this region with a heavy focus on roasted meats. It's also the home of comfort food and where you will find plenty of cocidos (Spanish stews), sopas de ajo (garlic soup), and manchego cheese.

meat and mixed vegetable stew

5. Cataluña (Catalonia) - Heavily influenced by Italy, France, and the Mediterranean, Catalan food is bursting with flavor and creative fusion foods. Esqueixada (salt cod), mongetes amb botifarra (sausage and beans), and Escudella i carn d’olla (meat and mixed vegetable stew).

fig and prosciutto on a stick

6. Northern Spain - This is Basque Country, and if you eat anything here, let us suggest one word: Pintxos. These bite-sized flavor bombs are often topped with seared green peppers, cheese, fresh octopus, cured ham, croquettes, and sausages. Pintxos are similar to tapas in that they are served at bars and taverns, but the ingredients are different. Northern Spain is also home to some of the best Mediterranean-influenced seafood dishes in the country.


If a culinary adventure through Spain sounds like your type of travel, we’d love to turn that dream into a boarding pass.


If you’re not quite sure where to start planning, we’d love to help you. We work with many different budgets and styles of travel. Reach out today to arrange a quick 15-minute chat at a time that suits you.

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