What are the secrets of Spanish cuisine?

Recognized all over the world, Spanish cuisine has seduced people for over fifty years, to the point where the country has become a true gastronomic destination. Equinox reveals, with chefs from Barcelona, ​​what the secrets are.

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Paella, potato tortillas, gazpacho, tapas… Spain is a paradise for bon vivants. A paradise where everything that comes out of the kitchen to the south, the Mediterranean, smells the sun and above all delights the taste buds of tourists from all over the world. Are Spanish chefs magicians who enchant us with their cuisine? Equinox posed the question to chefs in Barcelona, ​​​​to find out what the secrets of Spanish cuisine are.

And they are unanimous: the magic of Spanish cuisine is not the result of a single ingredient. It’s actually all his typical products that make it so tasty. †Spain is a country with a beautiful terroir. A geography and an agriculture that allow to have products with taste and freshness, this is what makes a kitchen of immediacy”, explains Romain Fornell. From Toulouse, the chef is now at the head of the star restaurant Caelisin Barcelona.

Photo: Marjorie R. Williams

For this passionate Iberian gastronomy, there is a form of simplicity in Spanish cuisine, but it is not necessarily simplistic:You can’t cheat without the right products. The Iberian ham makes the difference, it is cut directly, the tomato bread does not come out of the fridge…

The climate, an important ingredient in Spanish cuisine

Spanish cuisine is therefore not just about one secret ingredient: they all make the difference through their quality and freshness. But there are almost “mandatory” foods: olive oil, seafood, local vegetables or even Iberian ham are part of the DNA of Spanish cuisine, the French chef admits.

And if the Iberian Peninsula has such good quality products, then it owes its geography and its climate. †The wide variety of climatic zones makes it possible to find products in Spain that are not all available in one country during normal times. We have arid climates in the center and south, temperate zones with the Mediterranean, subtropical with the Canary Islands, through the more humid in the northwest and colder zones typical of the high mountains.”, sums up Mateu Casañas.

Spanish cuisinePhoto: Belluga Gourmet

According to the Spanish chef, who can be found in the kitchens of disfruitar from Barcelona (two Michelin stars), it is therefore Spain itself that offers its gastronomy so many products of such good quality, the key to tasty, fresh and varied cuisine.

But what would products be without good cooking? Patatas bravas, fried seafood, meat grilled, grilled, octopus in the oven, stew cooked over low heat, paella over a wood fire… Spanish cuisine includes the simplest cooking techniques, but with a unique skill. †Frying, for example, is a simple cooking technique, and yet it has nothing to do with France and Spain.”, notes Romain Fornell: “it is a form of culture and culinary art

And who cooks in Spain says of course the essential quality olive oil, which “defines a way of being, of living and therefore of cooking”, for the head of the Disfrutar and the To comparein Cadaques.

Traditions and a culture of shared meals

But the variety of Spanish products is not the only secret of the kitchen. We especially love the typical dishes of the region, traditional, these small dishes stewed by the abuelas over a wood fire or gas, recipes that go back generations. The other key to Iberian cuisine is tradition, says Mateu Casañas. Traditions that vary according to the region, sometimes even cities, and together they give a very rich Spanish cuisine, a large number of recipes that make it impossible not to love just one.

Spanish cuisinePhoto: Hofmann Barcelona

The magic doesn’t just happen in the kitchen. If we love the dishes of the Spaniards so much, it is also due to the human warmth that characterizes them. †Being close to customers, cooking right in front of them, talking to them like you can in a tapas bar, for example, makes all the differencesays Romain Fornell.

There is a real culture of shared meals in Spain, which starts at the shopping center, continues in the kitchen and then at the table and with the famous “sobremesa”, a moment of sharing at the table between the guests when the meal is ready, says Luís Rovira, Chief Trainer at the School of Hospitality and Catering hofman from Barcelona. For him, this culture, especially associated with the climate, contributes to “the art of food and conviviality make Spain an idyllic country

Spanish cuisinePhoto: Can Jubany

In addition to the meal, it is also all the associated Spanish traditions and customs that make Spanish cuisine what it is. Today’s tapas, for example, are determined much more by a way of eating together than by a recipe itself. There is therefore a genuine love that the Spaniards have for the art of food, and which Romain Fornell, as a chef of French origin, fully recognizes: “in Spain it is still enthusiasts who cook† An exceptional and varied terroir, respect for tradition and a lot of passion, that is the secret of Spanish cuisine.

Also read: The (unknown) origin of tapas

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