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SPAIN: Culture

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CUISINE

A significant portion of Spanish cuisine derives from the Jewish and Moorish traditions. The Moors were a strong influence in Spain for many centuries and some of their food is still eaten in Spain today. However, pork is popular and for centuries eating pork was also a statement of ethnicity limpieza de sangre, because it was not eaten by Jews or Muslims. Several products of the Americas were introduced in Europe through Spain, and a modern Spanish cook couldn't do without potatoes, tomatoes, peppers or beans.

These are some of the primary influences that have differentiated Spanish cuisine from Mediterranean cuisine, of which Spanish cuisine shares many techniques and food items.

The essential ingredient for a real Spanish Cuisine is olive oil; 50% of the global production of olives is in Spain. Use your international cellular phone rental to find an olive oil merchant near you.

Daily meals eaten by the Spanish in many areas of the country are still very often made traditionally by hand, from fresh ingredients bought daily from the local market. This practice is more common in the rural areas and less common in the large urban areas like Madrid, where supermarkets are beginning to displace the open air markets. However, even in Madrid food can be bought from the local shops, bread from the panadería, meat from the carnicería, etc.

Traditional Spanish cooking also often revolves around outdoor cooking over a fire, perhaps in a special clay or brick oven.

One popular custom when going out is to take tapas with your drink (sherry, wine, beer…). In some places, like Granada, tapas are given for free with your drink and have become very famous for that reason. It should be noted that almost every tapas bar serves something edible when a drink is ordered, without charge. Use your Spain mobile phone rental to find a tapas bar near you.

Another traditional favorite is the churro with a mug of thick hot chocolate to dip the churro in. Churrerías, or stores that serve churros, are quite common. Specifically the Chocolatería de San Ginés in Madrid is very famous as a place to stop and have some chocolate with churros, often late into the night (even dawn) after being out on the town. Often traditional Spanish singers will entertain the guests.

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