Spanish food II: Spanish gastronomy in the regions of Madrid, Castillas, Valencia, Andalusia and Cataluña 1

As we mentioned in our previous post about Spanish food, each region of the country has its own dishes. For this reason you are about to discover more about these magnificent meals through this article, although it is important to get to know the Spanish regions first.

Spanish regions

Spain is a parliamentary monarchy that is divided into 17 autonomous communities and two autonomous cities (Ceuta and Melilla located in the north of Morocco), which correspond to the first-level political and administrative division. These communities have the aim of guaranteeing limited autonomy of the nationalities and regions that comprise Spain1. Thus, Spain is not a federation, but a highly decentralized unitary state2. The nation has asymmetrically devolved power to the communities, which, in turn, exercise their right to self-government within the limits set forth in the constitution and their autonomous statutes.

Typical food in Castilla y León

The cuisine of Castile and Leon has the denomination of traditional Castilian cuisine. The Castilian area is a typical cuisine of roasts, mainly lamb, and suckling pig (Segovia). Moreover, in this region there is a vast variety of sausages and blackpuddings (chorizo, morzilla, salchichas, jamón). Morcillas (blackpuddings) can be made with rice (morcilla de Burgos), with onion (Leon sausage) or sweets, as can be found in some towns of Zamora.

As this part of Spain is far away from the sea, the emblematic fish are truchas (trouts) and tencas (tench) that come from the river.

Regarding vegetables, garlic is widely consumed, as are pulses (cheakpeas, white and black beans). With respect to drinks, wine is very popular.

Morcilla de Burgos

Food in Andalusia

The cuisine of Andalusia has two varieties: the interior and the coastal. The first one is characterized by a bigger consumption of meat and sausages (el flamenco from Córdoba, la pringá, rabo de toro and callos), whereas the second one is more defined by fish such as pescaito frito, breaded fried fish.

It is important to highlight that this region is known for its tapas (small portions of food served free with drinks) and its international distinguished gazpacho, a very cold tomato soup with some vegetables, olive oil, vinegar, bread and salt, highly consumed in summer and common throughout the rest of the country. Furthermore, there are other eminent cold soups that also deserve to be named:  ajoblaco malagueño, la pipirrana jiennense, and salmorejo cordobés.

It is also frequent to find excellent olives as appetizers in every bar, and drinks such as anise and wine.

Gazpacho andaluz

Food in Castilla la Mancha

This region shares some influence from Castilla y Leon and Andalusia. Here, the use of wheat and cereals is particularly common, as well as bushmeat: bread, soups, gazpachos, crumbs or wheat pot, where garlic is highly abundant, carrying some dishes in its name, such as garlic arriero, ajopuerco (garlic pork) or garlic pringue. Saffron, used in paella to give it its yellow colour, is grown in these lands.

Other traditional recipes from this part are Gazpachos (a mixture of bushmeat, nothing similar to the Andalusian ones), the Pisto Manchego (fried vegetables, known in the rest of Spain). Cod is also served (tiznao), as well as in the zanguango (a fresh salad made with sundried tomatoes, cod, peppers, potatoes, eggs, walnuts, garlic and olive oil). Among the vegetable dishes found are moje (a salad with tomatoes, tuna, egg, olives, onions and olive oil) and aubergines.

In this region, the Manchego cheeses, purely pastoral, fatty and cylindrical come highly recommended. La Mancha has, among the red wines, a specific denomination of Origin La Mancha, as well as Valdepeñas.

Gastronomía manchega

Food in Madrid

The Madrilean cuisine is a mixture bewteen the Castilian and Manchega cuisines. Here you can find the cocido madrileño, a stew, made with chickpeas, meat and vegetables with a garlic soup as started, and the famous caracoles a la madrileña (snails).

The typical tapas are: oreja de cerdo (grilled ear), garlic prawns, patatas bravas, and so on. Truly popular in the bars of the city center are bocadillos de calamares (squid sandwiches with hard bread)

The consumption of meat is very important here with a certain affection for the organ meats known as casquería (callos, a Madrid style tripe stew, ganillejas, mollejas and entresijos, some deep-fried braided lamb intestines) and bushmeat, such as wild boar, fallow deer, partridge and pheasant. Among the fish is the popular preparation of Besugo a la madrileña (sea bream), hake and grouper. The Castilian influence means that there is also a preparation of meat in roasts, such as lamb and suckling pig.

Madrid has an abundant religious confectionery, including the popular torrijas (fried bread with milk and sugar), the chocolate with churros and the donuts. Madrid wines have a designation of origin, an example being those of Navalcarnero, and among the alcoholic beverages is the anise of Chinchón.

Cocido madrileño

Food in Valencia

Although it has two types of gastronomy, the inner (with more vegetables) and the coastal parts with a big influence of fish and seafood, this is the kingdom of rice, which is prepared with a big range of ingredients, as is the case with paella, arroz a banda (rize with seafood and alioli) or fideuá (paella made with short noodles instead of rize). In terms of sauces, apart from alioli, you can find samorreta, and as in Cataluña, cocas (analogous with the napolitana pizza).

The seaside resorts of the coast supply fish and popular dishes such as the all i pebre d'anguiles (prepared with eels, garlic, paprika and chilli) typical of the Albufera, or suquet de peix. Among the seafood are the prawns of Vinaròs, among the wines the denominations of Utiel-Requena, Alicante and Valencia.

The juicy oranges of Orihuela, Castellón and Valencia are also famous, with pomegranates and dates also being typical. Among local drinks, in terms of cocktails, agua de valencia (valencian water) has become famous.


Food in Cataluña

This area features influences from the coast, the mountains and the hinterland. As in Valencia and the Mediterranean coast in general, a high variety of rices are served, and its bread with tomato (pa amb tomàquet) is eminently widespread in the rest of Spain, together with the alioli sauce, also made in Valencia.

Clasic recipies of these lands are: the beans omelette, the coca of recapte, romesco sauce, eaten with grilled calçots (similar to onions), escalivada (roasted vegetables with olive oil), and some sausages (butifarra, fuet and salchichón)

Catalonia is also a region of wines, and has nearly eleven appellations of origin: wine of the Priory, the Penedés, Costers del Segre, Alella, etcetera.



Roasted calçots

Have you enjoyed this post? Do you know more recipes from these regions and want to share them with us? Do you want to know more about other regions? No worries, there is going to be a part III with the food of the rest of Spain! Would you be able to wait for it?


  1.  "Organización territorial. El Estado de las Autonomías" (PDF)Recursos Educativos. Instituto Nacional de Tecnologías Educativas y de Formación del Profesorado. Ministerio de Eduación, Cultura y Deporte. Retrieved 19 October 2012.

  2. Jump up^ Article 2. Cortes Generales (Spanish Parliament) (1978). "Título Preliminar"Spanish Constitution of 1978. Retrieved 29 September 2012.
  3. Jump up^ Article 143. Cortes Generales (Spanish Parliament) (1978). "Título VIII. De la Organización Territorial del Estado"Spanish Constitution of 1978. Retrieved 29 September 2012.
  1. Bacigalupo Sagesse, Mariano (June 2005). "Sinópsis artículo 145"Constitución española (con sinópsis)Congress of the Deputies. Retrieved 28 January 2012.

  2. Jump up to:a b c d e f Ruíz-Huerta Carbonell, Jesús; Herrero Alcalde, Ana (2008). Bosch, Núria; Durán, José María, eds. Fiscal Equalization in SpainFiscal Federalism and Political Decentralization: Lessons from Spain, Germany and Canada. Edward Elgar Publisher Limited. ISBN 9781847204677. Retrieved 15 October 2012.
  3. "Organización territorial. El Estado de las Autonomías" (PDF)Recursos Educativos. Instituto Nacional de Tecnologías Educativas y de Formación del Profesorado. Ministerio de Eduación, Cultura y Deporte. Retrieved 19 October m

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