In Spain, gastronomy is both simple, traditional and a bit sophisticated. It comes from a terroir and a garden, and is varied and generous. The products of the mountains and the sea, the sun, various influences coming from Asia, Latin America and Africa are found there.
In the south, in Andalusia and in Castile-La Mancha, cold dishes are kings, such as the Andalusian gaspacho made from tomatoes, peppers and garlic. In the extreme south-west, in Huelva, it is the jabugo that is honoured, the famous Iberian ham, while in Extremadura, still in the south-west, it is rather fried croutons.
Valencia, in the east of the country, is known worldwide for its paella cooked with local rice, rabbit, chicken, snails, white and green beans, tomato, garlic, paprika, oil and saffron. In Galicia, in the north-west, you can taste the unmistakable octopus "a feira" prepared with potatoes, olive oil, paprika and coarse salt.
Further north in the region of Asturias, the specialty is the "fabada", a dish of beans cooked with chorizo, bacon, pudding, bacon and ham. And the region of Castile-Leon is famous for its roast lamb, cooked in the traditional way in a wood-burning oven.
Some dishes represent Spanish gastronomy, such as the Madrid cocido, pot-au-feu served with chickpeas, vegetables, sausages and meat, and very popular in winter. Grilled meats and tapas are also an integral part of the Spanish cuisine.
The basic ingredients revolve around olive oil, cereals, fruits and vegetables, various meats, fish and seafood, dairy products, spices and condiments. The preparations are mainly simmered in terra-cotta or clay dishes, or in a typical Spanish frying pan, or plancha.