A Scrumptious Spanish Journey…

Travel awakens the senses, especially when the country in question is one as historically relevant and culturally rich as Spain.

Churros & Hot Chocolate Sauce, Best Way to Start a Day of Sightseeing In Spain

Churros & Hot Chocolate Sauce, Best Way to Start a Day of Sightseeing In Spain

So this winter, as our family of four travelled through parts of this awe-inspiring land, sampling mouthwatering Spanish fare, meeting friendly people and taking in Spain’s breathtaking sights; we couldn’t help being inspired and impressed by it all.

As most people commonly do, I found myself drawing parallels between Spain and my native country India; both ancient cultures with an enduring character and a strong passion for their diverse land, with a fierce pride in their cuisine and language.

Puerta del sol

Symbol of Madrid – Bear Eating Fruits from a ‘Madrono’ Tree

Perhaps an odd observation to some; I was struck by the Spanish folk’s wonderful ‘sense of self’, a kind of ‘je ne sais quoi’ about themselves; something you’d also commonly see in India. In today’s world, where most live for their ‘social media image’, it was good to see this intrinsic sense of self-pride…

Santiago Bernabeu, Cibela Fountain

Madrid: Prado’s Spectacular Art Collection to the Awe-inspiring Palacio Real…

From Prado’s spectacular art collection and Puerto Del Sol’s lively sights in Madrid, to the sheer stunning impact of Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia and the promenade connecting Placa Espanya to Palau Nacional in Barcelona; each famed landmark we visited whispered stories from generations past, tales so striking in their message, they left our young kids and us equally mesmerized.

Barcelona: The Stunning Impact of Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia and the Promenade connecting Placa Espanya to Palau Nacional and a Flamenco Performance that had us Tapping our Feet to the Beat...

Barcelona: The Stunning Impact of Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia,
the Promenade connecting Placa Espanya to Palau Nacional…
and a Flamenco Performance that had us Tapping our Feet to the Beat

Valencia’s narrow streets and stunning centuries-old architectural marvels took us back by a millennium or two; almost making the entire city look like a ‘street museum of ancient art’, effortlessly juxtaposed against the impressively modern City of Arts and Sciences.

Valencia's Narrow Streets and Centuries-old Architectural Marvels like a ‘Street Museum of Ancient Art’, Juxtaposed against the Impressively Modern City of Arts and Sciences.

Valencia’s Narrow Streets and Centuries-old Architectural Marvels like a ‘Street Museum of Ancient Art’, Juxtaposed against the Impressively Modern City of Arts and Sciences.

And I haven’t even gotten to the food yet…

Spain food

Sweet Tooth Satisfaction: Croissants, Gofre/Waffles and Doughnuts with Coffee and Tea

Spanish fare had all four of us drooling, staring wide-eyed at food displays everywhere…

Museo Jamon

Spanish Fare had us staring wide-eyed at Food Displays…
Especially the Ham Display at Museo Del Jamon

Our senses alive to the tastes and texture of Spain’s fresh and innovative diverse cuisine, we ate for 10 days straight…

salami, procuitto

Delicious Jamon or Ham Platters were a Must-have at Every Meal…

Starting our day with croissants or Churros (fried pastry dough) with hot chocolate sauce, we’d move onto Boc Mixtos (Iberian ham and cheese) sandwiches with a glass of wine/beer for lunch, leaving room for early afternoon coffees and gofre/waffles, doughnuts and gelatos…

Lunch Favorites, Boc Mixtos (Iberian Ham and Cheese) Sandwiches with a glass of Wine or Beer

Lunch Favorites: Boc Mixtos (Iberian Ham and Cheese) and a Variety of Sandwiches
with a glass of Wine or Beer

Keeping up, we’d be ready for the 6pm Spanish tradition of mouthwatering tapas and cocktails…and yes, we actually managed dinner around nine.

ham croquettes papata alioli

Keeping up with the 6pm Spanish Tradition of Mouthwatering Tapas like Mussels,
Ham Croquettes and Patata Brava with Pitchers of Sangria

Some days we even sneaked in a glass of wine with a mini dessert before bed (it was a holiday, after all!)

creme caramel

This Delicious Dessert reminded me of Mamaiji’s Caramel Pudding (click for recipe.)

Our souls refreshed by this magical and beautiful country, we boarded our plane in Barcelona to head back home with just one thought in our minds; we’d all be back to Spain someday soon…

Palau Nacional

Magic Fountain at Montjuic was a Symbol of our Magical Journey…

Comments

  1. says

    What a fabulous post! We loved the Churros and chocolate too, wicked though they are. You are right about all the ‘keep-the-weight-off’ walking to see the sights and I find, if I’m not doing the cooking, I don’t pick at bits either which also helps not to put on pounds on holiday despite all the fresh and wonderful food!
    I so enjoyed this post! :)

    • says

      Oh yes, wicked is a perfect word for churros and hot chocolate! And how true, that we don’t just nibble along while traveling, like we do while cooking…all that fresh food and new air with our alert minds that soak it all in:) Love the feeling of discovering a new city…Thanks, I did enjoy putting this post together, think I was smiling all the way:)

    • says

      Thanks! Barcelona reminds me so much of my native Bombay or Mumbai, as it is now called:) Similar life, culture and architecture, not to mention the array of food…hope you get a chance to go back soon.

  2. says

    Hi Peri,
    I’m so pleased for you that you’ve managed to visit Spain – beautiful food and gorgeous places to visit!! And of course not enough time, and I think in some ways if travelling somewere leaves you wanting more then it’s really captivated you…

  3. says

    I must get to Spain some day — and it sounds like you had the perfect trip (my kind of traveling — eating for 10 days straight, and what a wonderful array of food you had to choose from!). Great photos — so much to see! ~ Kat

    • says

      Thanks Kat…you absolutely must! I can imagine the stunning photographs you will bring back, you’re so good with the camera! The best vacations have a lot of good eating involved…and we had a smorgasbord to choose from:)

  4. says

    Oh my!! I’ve ALWAYS dreamed of going to Spain, and after seeing this post, I think it is my stomach which will finally bring me there!! I love the photos here and hope there will be more….? :-)

    • says

      Our stomach is the most impartial guide to a place…had a tough time choice these photos from over a thousand that we have clicked on our trip:) I’m sure there’ll be more…Do hope you make it to this beautiful and ‘delicious’ country someday soon!

  5. Eha says

    Oh my: simply too much too take in all at once! This belongs to the quiet evening hours and slow, sensuous enjoyment and learning! I have always been more of an Italian/S French gal in my likes and dislikes, but I may be more even balanced after another tour with you!

    • says

      It sure does, a quiet evening with a glass of wine and a journey thru Spain:) That’s how I’ve been reliving the wonderful memories! Now that you mention, it’s time to revisit Italy and France, been a long long time since I was there…amazing places!

  6. says

    My goodness Peri, indeed a feast to all senses!! I strolled thru amazing Spain with you; glorious photos, food, culture and cuisine, it must have been a fascinating trip! Thanks so much for sharing : ) xx Ozlem

    • says

      Your food and city are truly worth being proud off!!! We were in a blissful food-place with all those awesome tapas and ham sandwiches and amazing cafes:) Thank you for leading me to your site, I’m going to add it to my favorite links…So much valuable information on Madrid!

      • says

        Say, you don’t have to convince me that you ate for 10 days straight. I think I know you by now! I was thinking, did she fly back or was she rolled back! I feel stuffed just listening to what you ate. What a shame that we get full and satiated. It’s one of the flaws of the human body. Just saying. Welcome back!

        • says

          That is super funny, Marcy! You sure do know me well! A true pity we humans feel satiated by food and our arteries don’t do too well with butter and cheese either:) But you know, the weirdest part of all our family vacations to Europe and Asia is that none of us put on any weight, not one measly pound! It’s the magical combination of good, fresh and wholesome(!) ingredients…plus all that walking as we see the sights:)

          • says

            Wow! That’s great that you didn’t add any pounds. I don’t think I gained any weight when I went to Europe either. All my relatives there are trim! The walking definitely helps but I think all the excitement revs up your metabolism too. Butter is my downfall. I love cheese too. Just put me on an island with butter, cheese, bread, and wine and I’ll be a happy camper. Yes, their ingredients seem better than ours. When I came back, everything tasted like cardboard to me. Really, it was like I left my taste buds there! My relatives dragged me everywhere: in one week I went to a wedding, a funeral, and a birth celebration! At the birth celebration my cousin served the most delicious cheesecake paired with the most delicious champagne. I never tasted anything so well paired. I tried to find that champagne here in Indianapolis and I was told to try Chicago as they wouldn’t have it here! I gave up; it was probably too expensive anyway! But it was sure good! lol! You’ll have to write about your eating adventures!

          • says

            Where is that island? I’ll join you there! Wine with cheese, bread and butter, oh my, we have more in common that you might think:) Add ham to it and that’s my version of heaven! Your culinary journeys to Europe sound super fun and I couldn’t agree more…this trip has spoilt my regular favorite croissant for me… Now all I think off when I eat it is, why don’t all the flakes separate out and taste like the ones in Spain…I think ingredients are fresher in Europe but also ‘it’s food on a holiday somehow tastes better’. I think my most outstanding food memories were two: the first ham and cheese sandwich (bocadillo)I ate which had no spread, no butter or mayo or mustard…just plain and flavorful Iberian ham and freshest-of-fresh cheese with amazing soft on the inside crusty bread…so so good, you have to taste it to believe me:) and the second was this fusion tapas dish of ‘patata brava’ and ‘patata alioli’ topped with tuna and grated hard boiled eggs, absolutely divine:) Well, now I’m truly hungry:)

          • says

            Peri, the ham I would choose would be prosciutto di Parma. But if I couldn’t have that, I would want the ham that my grandmother used to bring us when she was alive. She lived in Manhattan, NY and she would always come with 2 shopping bags full of delicious food: the ham, which I’ve never tasted the likes of since and I don’t know what kind it was, walnuts, her pizzas, (OMG, her pizzas!), chestnuts, canned lobster, mortadella (I love mortadella), and salami. Apparently I was the only one in the family that thought this food was good because I had most of it! lol! Have you ever had Mortadella with pistachio nuts in it? Divine! I recently saw a cooking program where they were using ham from Spain which looked exactly like prosciutto and was probably their version of it. I wonder if I could get Iberian ham here in the states? Oh, the sandwiches I would make when I was a kid with my grandmother’s cold cuts, soooo good. I believe you about your sandwich; I believe you! My mother used to say that the hot dogs at the ballpark taste so good because you’re outside. I don’t agree that that’s the reason. I know, you’re wondering, what is Marcy talking about? I thought we were discussing GOOD food and here she is talking about hot dogs! Has she lost her mind? No Peri, I haven’t lost my mind. It’s when you said that food on a holiday somehow tastes better that it reminded me of what my mother said. I think Spam would taste terrible on a holiday and I think it would still taste terrible at a ballpark. Yes, it’s possible ingredients may be fresher in Europe, but they also have different soil and different pigs and these things make a big difference in the taste of food. The pigs that they use for prosciutto are special pigs. They eat certain foods just for them. There is some special regulatory agency that oversees the production of the making of this prosciutto! Even the air in Parma is special. It is dry. When you have that kind of care for a product, it’s bound to be excellent. Here in the states, they just don’t seem concerned about high quality, they’re more interested in mass production: fast food. So what else do we have in common ;- ) ?

          • says

            For one, we agree on what you’ve said…special pigs make special ham! Just like its not just a grape that makes the wine special, its where and how its grown…The water, the air, the soil and the care, it all leads to a unique product like Parma ham:) And the fact that our minds and bodies are relaxed on vacation makes it all taste even better! A Swiss Italian friend of mine wraps prosciutto slices (the Costco pack is perfect) around cubes of cantaloupe melon, the simplest and most delicious appetizer ever! Btw, not a hot dog person! Ballpark or otherwise, but my kids love it:) Iberian ham, yes, I’ve found it in the US at Central Market…also where I’ve tasted Mortedella with pistachio nuts (oh so good! can see why you ate it all!) Growing up, we had a similar cold cut called pistachio luncheon meat made by a small local deli run by a guy from Goa (a Portuguese-influenced beach city on the west coast of India, they make some awesome cold-cuts and fresh sausages)…Now I’m hungry and its time for lunch:)

          • says

            Very good point about the wine! Lucky you, I wish I could say that my mind and body has been relaxed on every vacation, but alas, no! Every trip I’ve been on to Italy leaves me without sleep, starting on the flight over. It’s only adrenalin that keeps me going and of course being in the place that I thought I’d never get to go to once I got divorced.Add to that, ecstatic that I’d found my relatives through the Internet. It was a dream of a lifetime for me and I didn’t want to sleep anyway because I didn’t want to miss a single second! : – ) Yes, the Italians are also known to be Swiss. lol. They are nomads, aren’t they? I think they’re in Argentina too, and also England. I had done a lot of research before my trips to Italy and had done a lot of chatting on the Italian chats which helped me to improve my Italian. I still have stacks of newsletters, booklets, etc. about Italy and Italians. It’s wonderful to be able to immerse yourself in another culture. Oh yes, prosciutto with melon, my dad used to make that often but he used honeydew melon. I can understand the sweet-salty combination but I was never a fan much of it, however I’m happy to know you enjoy it! I preferred my prosciutto in a sandwich with good, crusty bread. A good crusty bread can’t be underestimated. I love bread. In fact, this coming New Food Friday I am focusing on a bread and including the recipe which I don’t normally do. If I had the time, I’d write a blog just about bread! You may be surprised to learn that I have a recipe in my recipe file box for Paratha. No “tried” recipe goes into my file box unless it receives at least a rating of “Good” from me! lol. I like the taste of hot dogs with all the trimmings but I rarely eat them because who knows what’s in them? They seem to be coming out with better for you hot dogs though.The selection in the supermarket is mind-bending. Ah, so you’re acquainted with my Mortadella with pistachios. We are sisters in sausage! You have my mouth watering over the cold-cuts from Goa even though I think I have a mild virus. I’m fine if I don’t eat but once I eat something, my stomach feels like It’s on a stormy sea! But I can keep my spirits up knowing that you are out there enjoying something I’m sure! Peri, I enjoyed your comment very, very much!

          • says

            Marcy, I hope you feel better very soon, certainly don’t like the thought of you being unwell and away from food for too long. And do keep hydrated while you recover. So glad you made Italy, I have friends who love that country…your trips there sound as exhausting as my India trips, so much to do and so much to eat and so much to see! And no complains there, love it all, especially the family attention. Someday, you will make it to Goa for those sausages! Keep the paratha recipe close, those are a favorite, you’ll be amazed at the possibilities with paratha, just about any meat or vegetable goes into it! Waiting for your bread recipe, how interesting…and yes, never-never underestimate the power of a fresh crusty bread! Do keep well, Marcy…I’ve enjoyed our chats immensely!

          • says

            Thank you for your good well wishes. Today is the first day I feel better! It must be because you were sending those good wishes ; – ) Just a 5-day stomach virus and a mild one at that. It didn’t stop me from eating/cooking so it couldn’t be that bad! lol. Good advice, I did drink lots of broths and some tea too. I always drink a lot of water. I’m on a “diet” of sorts. I just keep track of what I eat on WebMD. I am supposed to drink 64 oz of water a day! (I can’t do it!) So, it was helpful in keeping me hydrated. I did lose 7 pounds so I’m at the weight I’m supposed to be. Yes, you mentioned the family attention – I was overwhelmed with attention. A celebrity couldn’t get more adulation! I will never forget it! I love breads stuffed with meats or veggies. I saw your spinach paratha and I am intrigued. I will have to try it. Happy eating and stay warm in this crazy weather!

          • says

            So wonderful to hear you’re on the mend:) It’s a healthy well maintained body that heals faster…and lets just call it a ‘detox’, sometimes our stomach need to lighten up:) LOL. Stay warm and enjoy Super Bowl Sunday! We’re already in the 60s during the day in Texas, morning are freezing and below though:) Keep well, Marcy…

Let me know what you think...