Tuesday, May 3, 2011

La comida española

Me and my husband at Plaza Mayor in Madrid
 My husband and I just returned from our vacation to Spain. While there we were blessed to partake in the culture, architecture, nature, and FOOD that Spain has to offer along the way. Unlike with my day to day life, when I travel I do not diet. I personally feel like vacation is reserved for indulging. Since I was privileged to so many wonderful meals during our travels I thought I would share with you some of our cuisine highlights in the next few posts, but first a little background on how Spaniards approach food and dining.

In Spain a typical breakfast would include coffee/ expresso or freshly squeezed orange juice to drink, to eat might include jamón (ham) of various types with mild cheese and fresh crusty bread. Pastries and fresh fruit are common at breakfast too. It is also normal to have a late morning snack too, since rush hour for lunch is around 2:00pm.
The lunch meal, la comida, is the largest meal of the day. Traditionally, Spaniards have a 2-3 hour break for lunch and/or siesta and the entire city will close from about 2:00pm to 4:30 (aside from major tourist attractions). A typical lunch menu would consists of fresh fish or seafood, roast chicken or lamb, fried potatoes, etc.Alan and I had a hard time with this time period due to all the sight seeing, so we never had a very large lunch, but we did always make time for a siesta!
After siesta, but before dinner is a time where the streets fill with families and friends. Spaniards are very social and it is common to find the street patios and restaurants filled with people enjoying tapas (small plates of food) and a glass or wine/ beer/ or cup of coffee. 
Dinner, la cena, is served very late by American standards. Prime time for dinner in Spain is 10:00pm. Just as with the siestas, we adopted this dinning time quite easy. Dinner meals are very similar to lunch meals, only they are usually smaller portions.
Dessert, or postre, is almost always ordered after dinner. Ice cream is very popular in Spain and is served in restaurants as well as heladería (ice cream parlor). 

The view from our restaurant and hotel in Ronda, Spain. The sea bass here was one of my favorite meals from then entire trip.

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