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Why I believe Spanish food is the best in the world

I may be biased, but I do believe Spanish food offers the best eating experiences in the world. It’s based around the healthy principles of the Mediterranean Diet, so it’s good for your heart, and your figure. That’s because it’s high in fibre and antioxidants, and low in saturated fats, although emphasis is placed on healthy monounsaturated fats such as olive oil. There’s lots of lean protein too, in the shape of chicken, rabbit and oily fish such as sardines and tuna.

Spanish cuisine relies on just a few quality ingredients, which are simply prepared, so the flavours come through loud and clear. It’s most unusual to find more than half a dozen items in the list of ingredients in a Spanish recipe, and they don’t go in for smothering their food with rich, creamy sauces. Spanish sauces tend to be tomato or herb based, and made with olive oil or a little butter, so they complement the meat or fish they accompany.

There’s a real diversity of eating experiences in Spain. Think of the hundreds of different hot and cold tapas, the peasant-style, filling stews, paellas and roast lamb and pork. And of course, different regions have their own specialities, so there’s something to tempt the taste buds of even the fussiest eaters.

Spanish cooking is an art, rather than a science, so you can enjoy identical tapas or paellas in three different cafeterias or restaurants and be served three different but equally delicious versions of the same meal. The recipes of the casa are handed down through the generation, their secrets jealously guarded and proudly offered to everyone, whether customers or friends.

You have probably gathered by now that I adore Spanish food, and there’s a very good reason for that. Spanish food is so flavoursome and healthy because it’s always cooked with in season ingredients, harvested when they’re ready to eat and at their best for taste and vitamin content. No self respecting Spanish chef or madre will cook with vegetables that have been picked before the optimum time and then flown half way around the world.

Local Spanish markets are full of wonderful fresh produce, and because it’s in season, it’s also very cheap. Another bonus is that the small local producers use natural, traditional ingredients for fertilising their crops and keeping them free of pests, rather than expensive chemicals, so it’s the next best thing to organic. The stallholders are so proud of their produce, they insist you try before you buy, and encourage you to select your own items. We’ve learned not to have breakfast on market days, as the local stallholders can get quite offended if you don’t sample the goods before you buy.

After nine years of eating mainly Spanish food, and preparing meals the Spanish way, I’m fitter and healthier than I’ve ever been – and around 30 pounds lighter too. That’s why I love Spanish food. Have you given it a go? Don’t just save it for the restaurants – it’s so easy to prepare authentic Spanish meals at home.

Published April 29th by Sandra Piddock
Posted to Expat Blog

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