Mediterranean Experiences

Food&Tapas Team

Posted in Mediterranean, Pintxos, Spanish Culture, Tapas



Mediterranean lifestyle: What else?

The Mediterranean sea is the border between many different cultures. Historically, it has also been the connection between Occident and Orient. This meeting of cultures was made for transactions of goods and commerce. 

The Mediterranean lifestyle means much more than only food, is a way of living that share every civilization that lives around the Mediterranean sea. Culture and way of living has been transmitted through many centuries to our days.

Mediterranean Lifestyle, Mediterranean Way

Greece, Italy and Spain are on the list of countries with the lowest percentage of cardiovascular diseases and for several years, scientists have investigated their eating habits. Their life expectancy is among the highest in the world.

Since the sixties, from the results of a study conducted on more than 10,000 men from seven countries, it is known that people living in regions near the Mediterranean Sea have a risk 90% lower cardiovascular disease, compared with residents in European and American countries.

Since this difference could not be explained by the level of education, economic resources or health spending, which generally are lower compared to those observed in more advanced countries, researchers have focused on diet as the main factor that could explain the findings. The Mediterranean lifestyle is the principal key.

 

 Mediterranean lifestyle

More than only food, a way of living

The Mediterranean people spend most of the time of the day out of their homes. Combining work and pleasure, social intercourse is a widely established fact. People love to go out with some friends and have a fresh beer with some "pintxos" or "tapas" and share opinions, livings and reactions that have occurred all over the week. 

"Mediterranean lifestyle means more than only food, it's a way of living"

The Mediterranean culture of spending time outdoors, with friends or family, and sharing moments and experiences is what makes Mediterranean lifestyle so special. This way of living is also promoted by the good weather, hot and sunny, that ussually exists in a long period of the year.

Mediterranean personality, open minded, happy and always up for a talk, is extremely important in this way of living, as it provides the right ambience and behavior for the Mediterranean lifestyle characteristics to be deployed.  

 

Mediterranean lifestyle

Tapas and pintxos, a social meeting

Tapas and Pintxos are small amounts of food that the restaurants give you for free when you order something to drink like a beer or a bottle of wine. This way of acting is typical from the Mediterranean countries.

The origin of this word as a synonym for appetizer is still uncertain. Some people believe that it comes from the King Alfonso XIII during his visit to Cádiz. The King ordered a glass of sherry, but realized that a whirlwind of local sand threatened to fill the glass of sherry with sand. To avoid this, a smart waiter rushed to cover the glass with a slice of ham. Alfonso XIII, really surprised struggled to know what had happened and the waiter just said: "I put a "tapa" (cover) on the top of it so the sand will not get into your drink". The rest of the customers in the bar laughed and ordered the same thing the King just had in his glass. 

"Tapas or Pintxos is a social way of meeting" 

Every Spanish region has its own typical Tapa or Pintxo. There are some restaurants that offer a concrete Tapa (for example, olives in virgin oil, tortilla, Jamón Ibérico, Chorizo Ibérico...), and therefore, the customer has no choice about what he's getting. On the other hand, there are others where the customer chooses what he wants between a selection of Tapas that the bar offers to the public.

The perfect time to have some Tapas is before lunch, before dinner and also, after a hard day of work with your colleagues. Therefore, it is increasingly common to have tapas as small portions of traditional dishes, and most of the times can replace a meal or a dinner.  

It's possible to have some Tapas standing in a bar or sitting around a table. specially if you are surounded by friends or family. It exist a general thinking in Spain, where you should not have more than two or three tapas in the same bar or restaurant. What you must do, is visiting several restaurants and getting one or two tapas in each one, so you can eat a large amount of different products. 

 Mediterranena Lifestyle

What is really important to know is that the Mediterranean lifestyle means sharing, means enjoying situations with friends or family. Also means having a good time and having fun while you enjoy eating. That is our philosophy and that's the reason why we work hard every day; because we really enjoy food, we want you to enjoy it as well. 

 

 

Food&Tapas Team

Posted in



Jamón Ibérico: 100% Spanish taste

When you talk about Spain it's unthinkable not to make reference to one of its high quality products: Jamón Ibérico (bellota maximum quality). Characteristic of many regions of Spain, this delicacy has been the reference icon of this country for many years.

Obviously, there are many different kinds of Jamón Ibérico, and not all of them have the same quality. The nourishment of the pig is essential to define the status of the product. The texture, taste and strength are several signs of their place of origin.

History and other curiosities

The legend says that the Jamón Ibérico was born when a pig fell and drowned in a river with a high level of salt. That poor pig was found by a couple of shepherds that cooked it and they realized how tasty was this salty meat, especially the legs. Thereafter, when a pig was sacrificed, they covered the legs in salt to improve the taste that, eventually, the nature had shown to them.

Anyway, the reality is much different from this story The real origins of the Jamón Ibérico is the Roman empire, where they used to salt the meat to keep it conserved for a long time. The treatment given to the Jamón Ibérico by salting and curing process in the past appeared as a system to protect the good health of the people.

It was the need of preserving the meat which gave rise to the origin of the Jamón Ibérico we know today. Centuries later, the Jamón Ibérico became a high class product, since only the wealthy could afford its consumption. 

Jamón Ibérico

Where Jamón Ibérico does comes from?

Most of the growing places of Jamón Ibérico (bellota maximum quality) are located in the Salamanca, Andalucía and Extremadura regions where the vast meadows are ideal for raising this product. Certain areas were created by the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, as appellations of origin.

This areas, often require several controls and Iberian pigs that respect an amount of rules, so the final product receives the corresponding quality label. 

Each region has its own type of Jamón Ibérico with a special taste that helps to distinguish one type of product from another one. Of course, the nourishment of the pigs is determinant for the final taste as the acorns are not the same in the diferents regions of Spain.

"The nourishment of the pigs is determinant for the final taste"

Many products have the denomination of origin. This denomination awards the products that belong to it as premium quality products, delicacies that prove that the Jamón Ibérico is unique. These are some of the most known typical denomination of origin in Spain: 

Jamón Ibérico "de Huelva"

Jamón Ibérico "Los Pedroches"

Jamón Ibérico "de Guijuelo"

Jamón Ibérico "de Extremadura"

Jamón Ibérico

Kinds of Jamón Ibérico

Last year, the Council of Ministers of the Government of Spain, approved the new Quality Standard of the Jamón Ibérico. This new standard is used to make the difference based on the purity of the breed, how they have grown and the feed they receive.

"Jamón Ibérico means that the animal has 100% genetic purity"

100% Jamón Ibérico it's a distinction than means that they are from animals with 100% genetic purity of the Iberian breed, and whose parents have the same 100% Iberian racial purity. There are several types of Jamón Ibérico depending on the characteristics we talk about below.

  • Pure Acorn: the main feed have been acorns and grass of free meadows. The "pata negra" it's a distinction that means that the product is premium quality.
  • Cebo de Campo: the nourishment has been also on liberty but has been fed with grub and not with acorn.
  • Cebo: The nourishment has been done with grub also but not in liberty. The pig has been grown in a farm. 

 

Jamón Ibérico

"Jamón Raza Ibérica", minimum of 50% of Iberian race, is also a typical product from Spain. This kind of Jamón Ibérico must have at least 50% of the amount of the Iberian pig breed genetic percentage. The different distinctions showed above are also available for this kind of product as well.

In the South of Spain, men have shaped the natural forest to exploit mainly to livestock. After many centuries of intervention, man and nature have created an ecosystem where trees (oaks mainly) and grazing areas, get distributed resources. We refer to the vast meadows where the premium quality pigs are fed. 

In this regions there are no real pig farms. The pigs are grown in the pastures in semi freedom. The production method respects the environment and has generated synergies between industry and forest conservation legacy.

Jamón Ibérico

The raising of the animals is not only respectful with the tradition and taste, but also with the environment. This process assures an awesome taste and the best texture and quality of the products belonging to Spain and its typical ham raising regions.

Jamón Ibérico Bellota 100% pure acorn is simply the best!!
Food&Tapas Team

Posted in Diet, Food, Grandma, Green Spain, Health, Typical



Grandma's cooking: Typical food

Everyone knows how grandmothers cook: slow fire, plenty of patience and with a lot of love; well, that's exactly what Typical food just means for us.

We are talking about homemade dishes that taste really awesome. Dishes that are completely related to tradition, manners and way of living of the people nearby the Mediterranean. Some of this dishes we are referring to are Fabada (Asturian Bean Stew), Anchovies, Galician mussels, White Tuna or Sardines.

Tradition and love: main values of Typical Food

The typical food in Spain has been an integral part of the Spanish culture for centuries, so ingrained in national customs and traditions that food is on the first line in every way an everyday. Special events and family meetings are, in fact, the highest expression of this culinary tradition. 

Traditional cuisine is the base of today's modern cooking. The traditional Spanish recipe is really complete with many differences between every regional ways of cooking. This relates to a wealth acquired after many years of lore and influence of several cultures that left their legacy in this country. This cuisine is not something immobile, but something that keeps growing and evolving along the years, even if the traditions and the old costumes are still present in the Mediterranean day to day. 

typical food

Food joins family, friends and even strangers. Basically, that is the essence of the Mediterranean lifestyle. The typical food contributes to this spirit based on the philosophy of sharing that has always characterized every Mediterranean culture. 

In one hand we can say that typical and traditional food is the way of preserving the identity of a country or a particular region inside it. This food relies on natural ingredients, homemade cooking and a tradition that have passed from fathers to son over countless years.

North of Spain, cradle of traditional cuisine

Asturias, Cantabria and Galicia are, without any doubt, the regions of Spain where typical food is the basis of life every day. The North of Spain is also known as "The Green Spain", because of its many fields, trees and wild nature you can find. Mixing great mountains, endless fields and brave seas, the North of Spain is a fan of different ways of living.

"Slow fire, patience and love, main values of Typical food"

Fresh fish, great stews or first quality meat are some of the ingredients you can find if you land in one of those magical regions known as "The Green Spain". A really varied diet that allows people of the zone to grow heathy and plenty of strength to enjoy every single moment that life offers to them. 

Asturias

From their kitchens come out delicious dishes based on traditional recipes, but also cutting-edge culinary creations, really creatives and based on innovation. The result is a unique cuisine, an extraordinary variety and a way of cooking that is recognized all over the world.

"Typical and traditional food is the way of preserving the identity of a country"

The Green Spain shelters some of the most valuable and best preserved ecological areas in the world. Contrasting landscapes, salt water rivers, endless meadows are as varied as the type of food you can find in them. This variety allows local people to have the right dish for the right moment. A warm stew if it's a rainy or a cold day, some Sardines or Anchovies in extra virgin olive oil if you just want to have a snack in a warm day, or even a huge fresh tuna fish ideal for a family meal. 

 Asturias

Why Typical Food is so important?

Spanish typical cuisine is one of the finest of the planet as it's enriched with the contribution of different peoples of many varied cultures. This means that typical cuisine is the assembly of many different foods and products, making this kind of cuisine really complete and experimental. This acculturation let this cuisine to become multifaceted with a large number of ingredients and techniques.

The quantity of products in this gastronomy is so large, none of them are indispensable. If any ingredient is missing, there is always a solution where you can prepare any other similar dsih, or even a better one. The fan of possibilities is so vast that the available combinations are infinites.

Some typical dishes you may want to know:

1. Fabada (Asturian bean stew)

 2. White Tuna in extra virgin olive oil

 3. Anchovies (best of Cantabrian)

 4. Galician Mussels

 5. Sardines in extra virgin olive oil

 

Galician Mussels

Resuming in a few words, Typical Food is healthy, complete, homemade and, the most important of all, it's an evolution of thousands of ways of cooking that makes the experience of eating unforgettable.

Food&Tapas Team

Posted in Andalucía, Diet, Health, Mediterranean



Mediterranean Diet: Intangible Cultural Heritage


The Mediterranean diet constitutes a set of skills, knowledge, practices and traditions ranging from the landscape to the table, including the crops, harvesting, fishing, conservation, processing, preparation and, particularly, consumption of food. The principal ingredients of this particular diet are the extra virgin olive oil, cereals, fresh food and vegetables, fish and meat. The Mediterranean diet means much more than only food, it's also a cultural element which promotes social interaction. 

Healthy and easy to prepare

A study presented by the Annual Meeting of the American Neurological Association revealed that the Mediterranean diet protects the brain areas involved in memory and thinking, and reduces the risk of stroke. This kind of feeding protect us from most chronic diseases like cancer, Alzheimer's heart attacks and Parkinson's disease. The Mediterranean diet is not only good for your palate but also for your health. The traditional Mediterranean diet is a balanced diet that can represent it through a food pyramid.

The Mediterranean diet makes reference to a healthy lifestyle, lifestyle that includes a balanced and varied diet, characteristic of the countries in the geographical area of the Mediterranean, socialization during meals, traditional cooking techniques or regular exercise.

Mediterranean diet

In this pyramid we can find a lot of typical Mediterranean products, as manchego cheese, jamón ibérico (bellota maximun quality), chorizo ibérico, rice (main product for making paella) or extra virgin olive oil: the main ambassador of the Mediterranean diet.

Many studies about the Mediterranean diet have been made, and all of them come to the same result: People that usually eats following this diet is healthier, happier and in best shape than the people who doesn't follow the Mediterranean diet.

What makes the Mediterranean diet so special?

Extra virgin olive oil is the main ingredient of this diet, the "essence of life". It is extracted from the olive, fruit of the olive tree, a common tree in all the Mediterranean area. This oil is one of the flagships of the traditional cuisine of the area. Its benefits are not only aromatic or gustatory, but also contributes to the maintenance of good health by providing vitamins and antioxidants. You can use it in salads, meat, fish, with bread and tomato, and also for cooking. All your plates and foods will taste much different if you include extra virgin olive oil in your diet.

 

"Extra virgin olive oil: the main ambassador of the Mediterranean diet"

 

Freshly harvested vegetables are also an important part of the Mediterranean diet. The quantity of days with sun and heat allows vegetables to grow with an unique flavor that can only be found near the Mediterranean sea. The range of vegetables is also really wide, so many different kinds of products can grow in these areas. 

 

mediterranean diet

 

Cereals are also an important part of the Mediterranean diet. Grown in a dry weather, they provide the amount of carbohydrates necessary in daily life. The cereal is a kind of food that has always been known as the staple food in many peoples and cultures of the Mediterranean thanks to its easy growing, preparation and its main nutritional properties, which provide essential nutrients to our daily diet.

 

"The Mediterranean diet means much more than only food; it's a way of life"

 

Finally, in a complete Mediterranean diet, it's usual to find some meat and some fish. While the meat is really rich in proteins and iron, the fish has a lot of omega-3, very useful in the brain function. It's a must say that white tuna in olive oil  is one of the healthiest dishes anyone can have.

Assembling the long coastlines and broad meadows, the Mediterranean is a steady supplier of high quality meat and fish. With a natural combination of all these products, following the Mediterranean diet it's going to be a game of children. You will notice the improvement of this diet not only in your inside, but also in your outside. 

 

Mediterranean diet

 

10 basic recommendations of the Mediterranean diet

Are you sure you know exactly what the Mediterranean diet is? Are you sure that you are following it well? Here you will find ten recommendations that can help you to follow this diet. Enjoy the Mediterranean diet, enjoy de Mediterranean life...

1. Use extra virgin olive oil as the main fat addition.

 2. Consume plenty of vegetables.

 3. Bread and other foods coming from cereals must be in your diary meals.

 4. Fresh and seasonal foods are best suited.

 5. Consume dairy products daily.

 6. Meat consumption is recommended as it is a source of high quality protein.

 7. Eat fish in abundance and eggs in moderation.

 8. Fresh fruit must be your usual dessert.

 9. Drink water, it's important.

 10. Do some exercise every day.

 

Food&Tapas Team

Posted in Andalucía, Córdoba, Mediterranean, Salmorejo



The healthiest way of eating: Salmorejo Cordobés

The capital of Cordoba is placed nearby Guadalquivir river. This city is known worldwide for its signature dish: Salmorejo. In olden days Cordoba was a Roman emplacement and part of the Caliphs Court. This city is one of the most important traces of the Christians, Jewish and Islamic cultures. A clear example of this is the old town. A beautiful network of streets, squares and whitewashed courtyards around the Mosque-cathedral.

 

Where does Salmorejo comes from?

The origin of Salmorejo is based on the bread soups of the Mediterranean. However, over the centuries and thanks to the arrival of the tomato in Spain, this soup has been transformed into a lighter, refreshing and nourishing cream, becoming a typical Mediterranean dish.

 

Salmorejo can be made in several ways, nevertheless has some common ingredients such as bread, garlic, salt, vinegar, water and tomato. Also some Jamón Ibérico and boiled eggs can be added.

 

Salmorejo Cordobés

 

The jewels of Córdoba

Several centuries of history are illustrated in its columns, in the decoration of its walls and in its imposing and well built ceiling. The Mosque-cathedral is full of light and charm. It is different form any other monument of the world due to the several cultures that had transformed it over years.

 

The Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba is one of the biggest mosques of the world. There is something special while you walk through its courtyards, you would be able to appreciate its aromas and its orange trees full of history. In this courtyards famous philosophers lectured long time ago. Its arches create a mosaic full of color that makes tourist feel like in a fantasy world as in the Arabian Nights.

 

Salmorejo Cordobés

 

Nowadays this monument attracts thousands of tourists in the summertime. The summer days in Cordoba are sultry so the best way to fight the heat is having a fresh Salmorejo.

 

Most of the people suggest that if you want to delight yourself with the best view of Cordoba you should definitely go to the Roman Bridge. The best time of the day to appreciate this view is during the sunset.

 

 

"Códoba is one of the places to visit in Andalucía"

 

Enjoy the walk through the Bridge looking at both sides of the city. If you take your time, you would be able to see the stones moved by the water of the river over the years, old constructions built long time ago but partially destroyed by now. After crossing the Bridge you can always sit on a restaurant nearby and have a nourishing Gazpacho or Salmorejo while you enjoy the spectacular views of the place.

 

Salmorejo Cordobés

 

The Jewish District is an interesting and nice place that everyone who comes to Cordoba must visit. Located close to the Mosque, it is an important part of the old city built many years ago. Its narrow streets and whitewashed houses are one of the most popular prints of the city. In the middle of the district you can find the famous Synagogue, niche of cultures for hundreds of years. Near the Synagogue is placed the legendary Street of Flowers from which we can perceive the tower of the Mosque.

 

 

"The Mosquee-Cathedral of Córdoba is one of the bigest in the world".

 

 

This street, as its name suggests, is full of potted geraniums, which visit is very popular among tourists. It is a real pleasure walking around the neighborhood, specially in spring, when visitors can enjoy the garden and flowers in full bloom or even taking a homemade and tasty Salmorejo in one of the typical restaurants in the area. We are sure you wont be disapointed with this typical dish from Córdoba.

 

Salmorejo vs Gazpacho

 

Even if they look similar, Gazpacho and Salmorejo are not the same. It is true that both are mostly made with tomato, but the main difference is that you must add water to the Gazpacho. However, if Salmorejo only uses this vegetable in its cooking, Gazpacho also needs cucumber and pepper. Likewise, Salmorejo is more consistent and more bread is used in its preparation.

 

Salmorejo Cordobés

 

 

Definitely Córdoba is one of the places to visit in Andalucía. But only for its culture and people but also for its typical dishes. The people, weather, architecture and food typical of this city seems to be a reasonable excuse to visit the city and enjoy its gastronomy. Anyway, the main point of visiting this region is its rich and varied cuisine, which, without any doubt, the Salmorejo is its signature dish. We are sure you will love the experience and it will become one of the unforgettable moments of your life.

 

 

Food&Tapas Team

Posted in Mediterranean, Paella Valenciana, Valencia



Paella Valenciana and other amazing secrets

The city of Valencia will always be associated with its many rice dishes, with Paella Valenciana being its most famous internationally. In the other hand, Valencia has a lot more for us to offer: fresh Mediterranean fish, locally-grown vegetables, meats and also some deserts like the tigernut milk. This wide range of ingredients and meals make Valencian cuisine one of the most varied in Spain.

 What is Paella Valenciana?

Without any doubt, from all the typical dishes from Valencia, rice is the most important one. There is a popular saying that affirms that there are so many ways to prepare rice as families that cook it. The traditional Paella Valenciana recipe is made with rice, chicken, rabbit, snails and saffron. It is prepared in a paella pan over and orange-wood fire. Seafood paella it’s really popular though.

Paella Valenciana

Best places of Valencia

Apart from food, Valencia has actually 786.426 habitants, and a lot to see and enjoy. One of the places that will make your stay in Valencia unforgettable will be the visit to the Oceanographic. It’s a huge museum that recreates various marine scenarios spread around the world. It’s a must say that is the biggest in Europe.

Among all the activities proposed in the Oceanographic, there is one that won’t leave you half-hearted. It exist the possibility of being animal coach for one day. Dolphins, belugas, walruses, seals and many other animals will make your visit here unforgettable.

 

"There are so many ways to prepare rice as families that cook it"

 

Located on the South of the city of Valencia, you can find a spectacular natural setting. A coastal wetland lagoon surrounded by rice fields. The Albufera National Park is one of those places that if they were not so close to the city you would think they are not real at all.

Unforgettable boat trip after a paella valenciana

There are several activities to do in the park, but it’s essential to do the boat ride, and to stay to see the sunset, one of the most beautiful in Spain.

Once inside the park, it would be easy to find a captain willing to take you on a ride in his boat through the lagoon. Among the options offered, there is the possibility to eat on the boat, either with your own food or ordering fresh paella valenciana to any of the restaurants in the area. That way you can have a typical meal and enjoy the sunset afterwards. It’s a really beautiful experience, especially seeing the fishes jumping from the water into the lights they see in the boat.

 

"Order a fresh Paella Valenciana in any of the local restaurants"

 

Surely, the Malvarrosa beach is the most famous beach in Valencia, especially for the foreigners. It’s a must see if you visit Valencia. With a huge shore and a lot of ambience by day and by night, Malvarrosa beach is one of the hubs of the city.

It’s located only a few kilometers from the city center and has a very effective public transport. There are several ways to reach the coast, bus, tramway, but also it’s possible to get to it by bike using the bike lane.

Nice relaxing time in Malvarrosa Beach after a paella valenciana

The promenade along the coast has a very special charm, which you can enjoy walking, having something cold to drink or eating a homemade paella valenciana while you sit by the seaside. It is striking how many palm trees are there in the zone, ideal for enjoying some hours of peace and relax during your journey.

"Las Fallas" is a traditional festival held from 15th o 19th March. During these days you will see lots of foreigner in Valencia because is a very important international-known tourist attraction.

Fallas, paella valenciana, experiences to discover in Valencia

The fact is that Fallas is a really complete party, were tradition is mixed with huge constructions made precisely for the event. These constructions are usually a mockery of the social or political situation in Spain. You can even find some of them representing food, like Paella Valenciana. The objective of making these big constructions is to burn them the 19th March. It’s a show which brings together thousands of people.

It’s usual to find as well religious activities as the offering to the Virgin of Helpless, where many religious people perform floral offerings to ask for her help and protection.

 

"Fallas is a really complete party"

 

With the arrival of Bioparc, Valencia joins a new concept of zoo, with animals in apparent freedom. Surprising in its design and the number of animals, Valencia has now one of the most complete zoos in Spain. Several environments from all around the world are disposed in a circuit that makes you take a look to the map to don`t get lost in this urban Amazonian jungle. Bioparc is one of the few zoos that let you the opportunity to see animals not in captivity but in apparent freedom.

Valencia: the unforgettable experience

Places to see, experiences to live and discover, people to meet and food makes Valencia one of the bests places in Spain to visit. Enjoy the beach while you eat Mediterranean paella valenciana, take an ice-cream while you walk through the Malvarrosa beach or enjoy party in Fallas. Valencia is a city that will delight all kind of tourists and will make your visit unforgettable.

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