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Spanish Food Facts

Part 2


La Cocina Española


1.  La horchata is a traditional Spanish drink made from a blend of ground tiger nuts (las chufas), sugar (el azúcar) and water (el agua).  A person who sells la horchata is called un horchatero.

La horchata is served cold and has a milky white appearance.  It is often accompanied by a sponge finger called un fartón.  The shape of el fartón is perfect for dunking into the drink.


horchata con farton.jpg

2.  In Spain, the bars serve small plates of food to accompany a drink.  This small dish is called una tapa. The word una tapa actually means 'a lid'.  Originally, workers would go to a tavern after a hard day's work.   Their glasses of wine or beer would be covered with a slice of food (just like a lid) to keep the flies and dust away from the drink underneath.

Nowadays, una tapa is food served on a plate beside the drink.  It is no longer used as a lid on top of the glass!


3.   El cocido is a traditional Spanish stew, cooked in a large saucepan (una olla).  The ingredients are chickpeas (garbanzos), various vegetables (verduras) and meat (carne).  The stew is very nutritious and provides three separate courses called vuelcos

Vuelco 1. La sopa - the liquid in which the stew is cooked is served like a soup.  

Vuelco 2.  La carne - the meat.
Vuelco 3.  Los garbanzos y las verduras - the chickpeas and the vegetables.  


4.  La sangría is a traditional Spanish drink for the summer and it is made from a mixture of:
Vino tinto - red wine
Frutas - fruits, such as slices and pieces of lemon, orange, lime, grapes, peaches, berries, pineapple, pear and apple, etc......
Zumo de fruta - fruit juice
Especias - spices, for example: canela - cinnamon
Refrescos - drinks such as lemonade
Hielo - ice


La sangría. is served in a jug - una jarra.

It is red in colour and is said to resemble 'blood'.  The Spanish word for 'blood' is sangre and it is from this word that the drink sangría takes its name.

5.  Las migas means 'the crumbs' and it is the name of a traditional Spanish dish made from breadcrumbs.
Bread that is slightly stale is crumbled then fried with olive oil and garlic in a large frying pan called una sartén.  Depending upon the area of Spain, other ingredients might be thrown in, for example, el chorizo and el pimentón - paprika.  Just like la paella, it is very filling and provides a full meal.
Photo below of las migas, by Pedro Serafín


6.  El churro is a traditional Spanish fritter.  It is like a long, thin doughnut and it is eaten at breakfast-time or as a snack.  It is common to eat los churros by dunking them into a cup of hot chocolate.  Los churros belong to a category of Spanish goodies known as frutas de sartén (fruits of the frying pan).


7.   El turrón is a sweet made from honey, sugar, almonds and egg white.  It is a type of nougat and it is produced in slabs.  There are various types of turrón.  It can be hard - el turrón duro  or soft - el turrón blando.

El turrón is a popular sweet at Christmas in Spain.
¡Atención!:  Avoid eating too much turrón if you want to take care of your teeth!


8.   El aceite de oliva is olive oil.  It is used very much in Spanish cookery.  The International Olive Oil Council is based in Madrid, Spain.  This organisation is in charge of the world's production of olive oil.  The name of this organisation in Spanish is:-   El Consejo Oleícola Internacional.

Spain is the world's greatest producer of olive oil, with Italy in second position. 


Here is some vocabulary:
el olivo - the olive tree
el olivar - the olive grove
la aceituna - the olive
la oliva - the olive

Many olive varieties are cultivated in different areas of Spain.  Here are just a few of them:
Blanqueta (from north of Alicante)
Gordal (from Sevilla)
Hojiblanca (from Sevilla, Córdoba and Málaga).


To make olive oil, the olives are pressed.  The oil produced from the first pressing is considered the best, with the strongest flavour.  It is called el aceite virgen extra - meaning that it is the purest form of the oil.

9.   La torta de aceite is a thin, crisp pastry made from wheat flour, olive oil, sesame, sugar and aniseed.  It is a traditional pastry from the area of Sevilla.  It can be eaten for breakfast (el desayuno) or as a snack (una merienda).

La torta de aceite looks a little bit like a crispy pancake.  It is eaten like a biscuit or a cookie - using your hands.  It contains extra virgin olive oil and it is delicious and light!


10.   In Spain, as the clock strikes midnight at new year, it is the tradition to eat twelve grapes - one for each time the clock strikes!  These grapes are known as las uvas de la suerte (the lucky grapes) and they are supposed to bring good luck and prosperity for the following twelve months.  ¡Próspero año nuevo!

las uvas.jpg
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