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Dining on the Iberian Peninsula is one of the greatest pleasures of travelling through Spain and Portugal. Fantastic seafood, fresh and simply cooked, spices reflecting African and New World influences, abundant produce and a peninsula-wide appreciation for enjoying meals slowly make this a foodie’s heaven.
In Portugal the sea has proved to be the most defining characteristic of its cooking; savor the simplicity of a just-caught grilled fish, or shellfish plucked from the waters anywhere along this coastline? An ‘Arroz de Marisco’ rice, shellfish and fish stew is a favorite way to enjoy a variety of seafood in one meal. Meat lovers must try the nationwide specialty, the richly flavored beef stew called cozido à portuguesa. Dried cod is said to feature in 1001 recipes in Portugal, many of them reliant on lovely green olive oil. Serra da Estrela cheese takes top billing in the cheese category but there are so many more. Those with a sweet tooth, you simply cannot leave the country without tasting a pastel de nata, the most heavenly little egg custard tart you could ever have the good fortune to eat.
Cooking in Spain varies so much by region that you’ll just have to eat all around the country to discover the magnificent specialties of each one. For sure you’re going to want to while away an evening trying authentic Spanish tapas, the ultimate in elegant bar snacks heaven servings of savory snacks such as chorizo, olives, and marinated shrimp or spiced cheese. Taste a tortilla, a potato omelet that must be the original comfort food, or fragrant paella glowing with saffron for seafood lovers. The dried hams of Serrano are legendary as are the squid dishes of Cantabria. Discover the thousand flavors of rice in Spain on the Mediterranean coast…but don’t forget to sightsee between meals.
The Mediterranean Region defies description; so rich is it in dramatic history and bewitching scenery.
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