New Foods I’ve Tried in Spain

Sofia Ciprian, CSSH'21

Hi! I'm a third year political science and communications major with a women, gender and sexuality studies minor. My combination of majors/minor calls for a lot of writing, which shows just how much I love it. This semester I am studying in Seville, Spain and hope to fully immerse myself in the culture and share all the stories online here.


One of the best parts of living in Spain is without a doubt the food. Whenever I go out to eat, I am always taken aback at how amazing all the food I am eating is. The one challenge to this is that the menu is often full of dishes I am not familiar with. As a result, I figured a list of dishes that are common in Spain, but new to me could be useful for anyone traveling to Spain.

 

My favorite of all the new food I have tried in Spain is Mushroom Croquettes, or as they’re called in Spanish, “croquetas de setas.” Croquettes are a dish that can be found pretty commonly in the United States; however, I have never tried croquettes filled with mushrooms prior to my time in Spain. I would argue that these croquettes are better than the typical ham ones because they are just a bit creamier and have more flavor. These are a great tapa dish to try mostly because it is a new twist on a dish you might already have tried.

 

 

Another classic dish is “jamón ibérico,” which is a type of cured ham that is served at basically every restaurant you go to in Sevilla. This ham can be eaten at any time of day, on toast for breakfast, as a tapa for lunch, or with some wine and cheese for dinner. It is a staple dish here in Sevilla, so definitely worth a try.

 

I have come to the conclusion that gazpacho is a hit or miss dish for Americans. All of my friends studying here either love it or hate it. Gazpacho is a mix between a tomato juice and a tomato soup that is served cold. I personally think it’s a great side dish or drink on a hot day. However, it throws off a lot of Americans because it seems strange to be drinking tomato soup, a dish that we typically expect to be served warm. It is a dish that the locals drink frequently, so I think it is still worth trying regardless.

 

Tinto de verano is another one of my favorites. It is similar to sangria but is made of just red wine and usually a lime drink of some kind, like Sprite. Something I learned quickly after arriving here is that locals do not drink wine, the drink is only served at restaurants for the tourists. Therefore, tinto de verano is a great compromise because it tastes just as good as sangria but will still allow you to feel like you’re becoming a part of the local culture.

 

Another classic dish is churros with chocolate! I’m sure most people have had churros at some point in their life but trying churros with chocolate is a whole different experience. To start, churros with chocolate is considered a breakfast or afternoon snack in Spain, as opposed to a dessert. I know this because I have tried to order them at restaurants as a dessert and have been told that they stop serving the churros and chocolate halfway through the day. Another important distinction is that churros in Spain are not served with sugar and cinnamon on them. Instead, they are served plain and meant to be dipped in either the chocolate sauce or a coffee if you prefer! Each restaurant’s churro and chocolate dish is a little bit different so it’s a perfect excuse to order them more than once.

 

Patatas bravas is another dish that I cannot resist ordering every time I go out to eat. This dish consists of fried potato cubes that are drizzled with a spicy tomato sauce and usually a garlic aioli sauce as well. This dish is basically like the premium version of French fries. The sauces are what make the dish unique, with the garlic aioli balancing out the spice in thee tomato sauce.  I’ve had this dish in the States before, but nothing compares to trying it in Spain!

 

Last but not least, torrijas. Torrijas are essentially French toast but turned into a dessert. It is also comparable to a bread pudding dish in terms of sweetness. I had this for the first-time last week and have been craving it ever since. This dish is a lot sweeter than the French toast I am used to in the States and is often served with ice cream and caramel sauce or honey on top. Personally, I think this is something else you can’t pass on trying because it is similar to what is typical in the States but has its own twist that makes it unique and, in my opinion, even more appetizing.

 

Truly, there is a lot more amazing food that is typical in Spain and worth trying, but these are just the ones that I have tried so far in my two months living here. Not only has this been fun for me to experience all this new food, but also gives me new ideas and meals for cooking when I am back home in Boston.