A smorgasbord of Jamón {or cured ham} finger-friendly food art.









As a result of constant invasions, Spanish food has continually evolved over the centuries, with each conquest introducing new foods to the country.  The Romans contributed olives, olive oil and wine, the Moors brought honey, almonds, fruit and spices such as cumin and saffron, and explorers returned from the New World starting in the late 1400’s with tomatoes, potatoes, beans, corn, peppers and chocolate.


The diversity of the cuisine led to the creation of tapas, or small plates of different dishes served cold or warm, which are meant to be shared and provide diners with the opportunity to enjoy many dishes in one meal.  Each town may have its own specialty tapa, but certain dishes like olives, ham and chorizo are eaten throughout the country.  Paella is made with rice, flavored with saffron which gives it a yellow color, to which meat, fish, seafood or vegetables are added.  The heat of southern Spain gave rise to gazpacho, a tomato-based cold soup made with peppers, garlic, bread and olive oil.


Jamón,or cured ham, was historically made by salting legs of ham and hanging them up to dry for use in the winter months.  Today it is one of the most notable foods of Spain.  Also eaten throughout the country is chorizo sausage, made from chopped pork marinated in spices including paprika, giving it its red color.  Another popular food is tortilla española, or Spanish omelette, a dish made of potatoes fried in olive oil, served hot or cold, as a meal or as a tapa.  And for those with a sweet tooth, churros are prepared from fried dough and covered with sugar, then typically dipped in hot melted chocolate, and are eaten as a snack or for breakfast.





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