In this Project I will be discussing Spanish gastronomy, in particular from the regions of Andalucía and Aragon I will begin with an introduction of both the regions and then go onto outline the food they like to eat, discussing the dishes that are unique to the region from each province within the region, and how popular the dishes are, and I will research the produce that is unique to each region and the tradition(s) behind the food and the people, I will also provide illustrations to give visual impact to my discussion.
Andalucía is the largest populated region in Spain boasting an incredible 8,285,692 inhabitants locating its self southerly, easterly facing the Mediterranean and westerly the Atlantic Ocean. Andalucía is divided by eight provinces Almeria, Malaga, Granada, Seville, Huelva, Cadiz, Cordoba and Jaen. Essentially the region offers a Mediterranean climate with dry, hot summers and polar like cold winters, making it an attractive location for tourists with its golden beaches and mountain ranges. Andalucía is typically an agricultural region but the service sector is now the regions predominant source of income incorporating tourism, retail sales and transportation. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andalusia- 12-3-2010)
Aragon is a Spanish region in the north east of the country and it borders with France. The region is divided into three provinces which are Huesca, Zaragoza and Teruel. Aragon is one of Spain’s smallest regions and homes 1,277,471 people. The region in difference to Andalucía is an in-land region and doesn’t have beaches, but is blessed with rich green pastures and orchards, valleys and permanent glaciers. Aragon also has many rivers, one of which it is known for is the river ‘Ebro’ (Spain’s largest river) and with it being in the midst of the Pyrenees it is surrounded by many mountains including the highest in the Pyrenees the ‘Aneto’. Aragon is one of Spain’s richest regions although its revenue is similar to Andalucía’s of agricultural and Service sector. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aragon – 17/03/2010)
Andalucía is a beautiful region of southern Spain, where it is rich in fresh produce thus making it gastronomically precious. The prime diet of the region is the Mediterranean diet like in a lot of Spain. In this section I am going to talk about each province of Andalucía and some of the dishes and produce they have to offer.
Almerian dishes are mostly based on produce such as pepper, garlic and tomatoes and include the following popular dishes: ‘Olla de trigo’, ‘Ajo colorao’, ‘morgas’, paprika stew and ‘Gachas’ pancake. (http://www.s4c.co.uk/casadudley/e_casadudley_andalucia.shtml – 18-03-2010) ‘Olla de trigo’ is pots of wheat and ‘Ajo colorao’ is red garlic.
Granada is popular for its ‘Sacromonte’ omelette and Grenadine style broad beans. The style of cooking in Granada has a lot of Arabian influences, with it being spicy and sweet, and consisting in stews and soups. Granada like in a lot of Spain, offers a good variety of Tapas in its bars, where you can sample a variety of national and regional bites and light snacks. Generally Granada’s gastronomy forms around fresh fruit and vegetables, salt and vinegar and olive oil and whatever you eat from the region will have one if not all these ingredients within it. Summery soups are ‘Gaspachos’ and ‘Ajo Blanco’ and wintery ‘thicker’ soups such as: ‘Olla de san Anton’. The Grenadine style broad beans are wrapped in ham and are called ‘Habas con Jamon’. (http://www.whatgranada.com/granada-food.html – 18-03-2010)
Food in Malaga is based around seafood, poultry, sausage, olive oil and locally grown vegetables. ‘Chanquetes’ is a popular dish made with small fishes such as sardines and ‘Boquerones’ in vinegar (marinated and pickled Anchovies). “Rabo de Toro a la Rondeña”. Is another popular regional dish which is a bull’s tail. (http://www.spanishabroad.com/spain/Malaga/mala_food.htm -20-03-2010)
Huelva is home to a busy port, so the produce that surrounds the province in abundance is Seafood, so its restaurants are rich with fresh fish and shell fish. A popular dish is ‘Choco’ which is a small cuttle fish, and Huelva is well known throughout Spain for its ‘Gambas Blancas’ (white prawns) and an array of clams: ‘Chirlas’, ‘Coquinas’ and ‘almejas’. Other famous dishes are ‘Rape al vino Blanco’ (Monk fish in white wine) and ‘Raya al pimenton ‘(Skate with paprika). (http://www.andalucia.com/cities/huelva/restaurants.htm – 24-03-2010)
The food in Cadiz like in a lot of Andalucía, is predominantly sea food based, finding amongst its coast lines, shrimp, sea-snails, squid, sea-urchins, lobster and prawns, but seafood is not the only thing people eat in Cadiz, meats such as Pork, goat, beef, game and lamb are widely consumed. Some of the nicest seafood dishes of the province are: ‘Abaja de pescado’ (Fish stew), ‘Gambas al ajillo’ (prawns fried in garlic) ‘Cazon en adobo’ (Dogfish marinated) ‘Cadillios de peros’ (Fish; stewed in orange) and as far as the meat dishes go: ‘Guiso de Rabo de Toro’ (oxtail stew) ‘Perdiz estofada’ (partridge casserole) (http://www.whatcadiz.com/spain-food-wine.html 24-03-2010)
The people of Seville are famous for being known as the people who do not eat but feed on Tapas. (http://www.andalucia.com/gastronomy/provincial.htm 26-03-2010) So a good way to get to know Sevillian food is to try as many dishes as possible from all the tapas bars, this is the way the locals eat, amongst big groups of friends eating lots of small portions from the tapas bars. Cured meats such as ‘Jamon Serrano Iberico’, prawns of sanlucar, fried fish, including ‘Gaspacho’ and fresh salads. When the Sevillian’s are not out eating at the tapas bars and taverns, they do a lot of home cooking as the people of Seville are not keen restaurant goers. The true specialities of the region are Flamenco eggs, stuffed artichokes and sautéed kidney with sherry. (http://www.aboutsevilla.com/sevilla/food-drink.asp – 26-03-2010)
Unlike the other regions I have spoke about in Andalucía and their very seafood orientation, Cordoba’s food seems to be more in-land with delicious gamey dishes and stews, quite similar to Almerian dishes. Produce such as peppers, pumpkin, purple grapes are included in the dishes and also exotic spices such as cumin and saffron. Some other popular dishes include ‘Salmorejo cordobes’ (a thicker Gaspacho style soup), ‘Morcilla’ (Blood sausage), ‘Salchichon de Pozo Blanco’ (cured sausage). (http://www.whatcordoba.com/cordoba-food.html 28-04-2010)
Jaen, the final province in Andalucía, a province which bases its food on olive oil and some popular dishes include ‘Espinacas Jineses’ (a style of spinach typical to Jaen) ‘Ajilmojili’ (a provincial style of potato cooked with olive oil, red peppers and vinegar). There is also an area of Jaen where fish is more widely consumed with fish dishes being more cod and herring based which are used to make the following dishes: ‘Ajoharina’ and ‘Andrajos’. Jaen is known for products such as ‘Afajores’ (macaroons), ‘Mostachones’ (a provincial sweet made with, flour, cinnamon, lemon and sugar), ‘Roscos’ (a type of donut) and a selection of local marmalades. (http://www.andalucia.com/gastronomy/provincial.htm – 29-03-2010)
I have based this project more so on Andalucían cuisine, but in the following section I will briefly state some of the dishes from Aragon comparatively to the dishes of Andalucía.
Aragonese cuisine is known as the most wholesome and straight forward in Spain and with Aragon being in-land and bordering France and homing the Pyrenees, the food is simpler, warm and homely, differing from the Andalucía’s zest and vibrant seafood. In Zaragoza you find meat dishes such as Lamb and goat cooked on a spit, vegetable stew and some local favourites such as ‘huevos al salmorejo’ (eggs with asparagus sauce) and ‘Pollo a la chilindron’ (Chicken in a cured ham sauce) (http://www.zaragozatravel.com/dining.htm) 30-03-2010.)
The region also includes dishes that combine, meat, chocolate and fruit, popular dishes include partridge with chocolate, Fried Pyrenees trout (the best trout from the rivers in the region) and Serrano ham from Teruel (which are made and cured in the bitter winter months up in the mountains) and ‘Sopa aragonese’ which is made with liver and cheese; dating back to the 17th century.( http://www.iberianfoods.co.uk/Aragon.htm) 30-02-2010)