Different than Mexican cuisine, Spanish food primarily focuses on veal, lamb, and pig roasted using fresh regional produce and spices. As a result, some find it overwhelming to make proper food and beverage pairings with any Spanish food.
The most well known Spanish dish is called paella, which is a saffron rice dish containing rabbit, chicken, or seafood. It is rich in flavor and aesthetic presentation in a shallow pan.
What to eat with Spanish food? Spanish cuisine has sophisticated flavors including buttery, nutty, and slightly acidic. With wonderful aromas and intense colors, popular Spanish foods are tomato bread, garlic soup, or a simple salad mixture of lettuce, tomato, carrot, and tuna.
Garnish meat based dishes with sauces such as romesco, aioli, sofrito, and mojo sauce.
End the meal with sweets made with almonds or honey including marzipan and nougat.
Spanish cuisine is full of character and flavor, whether out on a city break in Madrid or Barcelona or out journeying to a coastal or countryside retreat. From tasty seafood to the numerous traditional roasts and superb tapas, Spanish food makes the most out of the local products available.
Each region and city has specialties to offer, and this is a good place for newcomers to start. Spanish cuisines has unique dishes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
So what specific Spanish foods are ideal for breakfast, dinner and all times in between? Well, let’s find out more about what to eat with Spanish cuisine as a whole!
What type of food does the Spanish eat?
Other than tapas and paella, there are wide range of dishes and desserts with excellent flavors. However, there are foods that are most commonly consumed in Spain such as gazpacho, tortilla, gammas al ajillo, toasts de tomato y jamón, patatas bravos, pollo al ajillo, cochinillo aside, pisto, and turrón.
If you are out on a trip and looking forward to the best culinary experience, here are some must-eat foods based on time of the day:
- Breakfast: cafe con leche, cafe cortado, churros, croissants, toasted bread, bocadillos sandwich, potatoes, omelet, biscuits, cupcakes
- Lunch: vegetable, bean, or seafood soup, roasted meat, green salad
- Dinner: fish or meat dinner with baked potatoes and grilled veggies
- Dessert: flan, arroz con leche, tarta de queso, crema catalana, chocolate con churros
- Beverage: sangria, gin and tonic, sidra, sherry, vermouth, coffee, beer, cava
What do Spanish people eat for breakfast?
Like most countries, Spanish breakfast can be slow or quick, savory or sweet usually served between 7am and 9am. It is known for the smallest meal of the day, therefore a simple pastry and cup of coffee for a quick start to the day.
A typical Spanish breakfast comprises of:
- Coffee: café cortado or café con leche
- Cakes: bizocho
- Potato omelet: totolilla espanola
- Cookies: maria galletas
- Pastries: croissants, churros
- Sandwiches: bocadillos
- Toasted bread: tostadas
- Sourdough pastries with lard and dusted sugar: ensaimadas
- Sponge cake: bizcocho de yogur
What do Spanish people eat for dinner?
In Spain, lunch is the heaviest meal and dinners are much lighter. Dinner is mostly served between 9pm and midnight, the portions are smaller simpler plates, and dishes include seafood, fresh fish, lamb, or roast chicken pieces served with rice or fried potatoes.
For a quick, simple dinner dish, arroz cubano comprises a mold of white rice accompanied by fried eggs and tomato sauce. Vegetables and salads are also standard dishes for dinner, and Spanish vanilla custard or fresh fruit might follow for dessert.
Popular Spanish tapas for dinner are fried potatoes with spicy sauce, small green peppers, fried eggs and potatoes, croquettes, and deep-fried fish or seafood on a slice of bread.
What flavor goes well with Spanish food?
Festive, colorful, and flavorful, this is all that Spanish cuisine is all about.
But what are the hidden gems that make Spanish food this tasty? Let’s start with classic olive oil.
Olive oil is used generously in Spanish cooking to give the food a delicate flavor, oscillating from subtle and smooth to robust and fruity while maintaining an exquisite quality.
Here are classic Spanish food flavor combinations to try:
- chicken + seafood + Spanish rice + diced tomatoes + olive oil
- potatoes + olive oil + eggs + black pepper
- cucumber + bell pepper + olive oil + sherry vinegar + garlic + lime
- cinnamon + egg + butter + sugar + flour + vanilla
- ground beef + adobo sauce + tomato paste + puff pastry dough
- yukon gold potatoes + eggs + cayenne pepper + sour cream + bacon + cheddar cheese
Eat with Spanish Cuisine: Conclusion
Spanish food is incredibly rich in flavor and fairly easy to prepare. Not only is the flavor packed with fresh herbs, spices, and olive oil, it offers buttery, nutty, earthy, and acidic tastes as well.
Most known dishes are tomato bread, garlic soup, and paella with seafood, chicken and lamb.
Grilled meats and vegetables use various sauces to pair with including romesco, aioli, sofrito, and mojo sauce. These sauces are unique and festive to bring a diverse blend of flavors together as one dish.
Depend on the time of day, breakfast is usually quick and simple with a cup of coffee and sweet pastry. Lunch is generally more filling and hearty with soup, meat, or salad, and dinner tends to be light with fish or meat and small vegetable side dish.
Complement Spanish food with fun and yummy desserts like flan, and finish on a good note by enjoying a glass of sangria.
If you are on tour in Spain, try the unique delicacies like bacalao, which is simply a preparation of dried cod. Additionally, relish in the shellfish and fantastic chicken dishes.
Spanish cuisine includes many rice varieties, so be sure to try and explore the classic Spanish flavor combination. Use this understanding of speciality foods to taste Spanish cuisine that will satisfy your palate.