- August 21, 2019
- Aaliya Mohamed
Ending a very cumbersome 2016, my 2017 literally dawned in April. Lucky for me, my friend Tarja and her husband Alberto were travelling Europe and Spain being their final destination, I tagged along for a decent 7 days of repose.
FOOD YOU CANT MISS HERE IN SPAIN
Our first meal here was dinner by a roadside cafe that you must hear more about. We tried the famous Spanish delicacy ‘GULAS’ and was quite the experience.
Baby eel AKA Angulas, has been a Spanish delicacy for years now, but as a result of over fishing this species is now rare and sold at over 1000 Euros per kilogram. In order to maintain the food tradition, Pollock fish was utilised as an affordable substitute known today as ‘Gulas’ and is sold at most European supermarkets.
The Gulas we tried in here, was a local twist. Seasoned in garlic oil, the dish further included chicken bacon, prawns, topped with a golden egg and served on a bed of sauteed potato’s; it smelled absolutely delicious! We were a little disgusted at first, but after a bite or two the flavours kicked in and we just imagined it was spaghetti. lol.
You cant go to Spain and not try the famous Spanish Torrija. Torrija’s are commonly made during Easter and lucky for us we were in Madrid that week. The dish is very similar to a breakfast french toast , but you can really enjoy this at any time of the day. Its prepared by soaking bread in milk (ideally overnight for better results), later dipped in egg, pan fried in olive oil and finally tossed in cinnamon and sugar. Torrija’s are traditionally eaten in its simplicity, but there’s no hard and fast rule on how to eat it. You can add anything you feel that works. (fruit/ yogurt/ honey/ etc)- the idea is to enjoy it! 😛
Luckily for us Alberto’s Mom, Lali was an amazing cook and prepared the yummiest home style Torrija’s we all LOVED!
A well known snack all over Europe may not seem like big a deal, but Spain being its place of origin, you cannot miss out here!
Churros in Spain is an experience itself starting from the art of preparation down to its taste. Its available in Mercado de San Miguel prepared and served in the most creative ways by top chefs, but you can grab this at almost every cafe/diner.
A simple, yet very popular breakfast/mid day snack in Spain. ‘Toastada tomate’ literally means, tomato on toast and is the freshest breakfast fix ever. The dish is undoubtedly prepared in every Spanish home and served in almost all breakfast joints in Spain. Its extremely affordable and pairs well with a nice strong up of Café con leche. Here’s what you need to create it.
To make the Puree, all you have to do is blend Ripe tomatoes, fresh garlic and add Salt to taste- yes, its as simple.
Toast the bread (ideally a baguette sliced lengthwise) until it has a nice crunch to it, drizzle olive oil and pour the fresh puree over it to enjoy. You MUST try this one at home.
Cafe con Leche
I must say the one thing I wasn’t too happy about Spain was that TEA wasn’t even an option. Not to say you don’t get tea here, but coffee is their main and everyone drinks coffee and mostly coffee. So if you are a tea drinker, DO NOT opt for tea here unless you want to ruin your refined Ceylon tea palate for the rest of your LIFE. lol
Cafe con leche simply means ‘coffee with milk’, but don’t be fooled, this isn’t your regular cup of milk coffee. The beverage is exclusively Spanish and is made of extra strong espresso and scalded milk (ie- milk that is boiled up to approx 82-85 celsius)- so there is crazy attention to detail here.
Tintos and Tapas
One thing that’s quite notable on the streets of Madrid is that Spaniards are always drunk on Tintos! Ok, when I say ‘drunk’ I don’t mean intoxicated, but Tinto’s in Spain are like masala chai’s in India. Its their sole mode of hydration after water. haha
The drink is a made up of red wine, almost like a summer cocktail but light enough to have all day long. These are often served with complimentary snacks like olives or bread.
PLACES TO VISIT
So as mentioned before, my trip to Spain was a short getaway, hence I spent most of time eating, drinking and relaxing, but here are a few places I manged to drag myself thanks to Alberto and his brother Carlos.
‘Platea’ was previously an iconic theatre later converted into a high end culinary/gourmet food hall that includes a bunch of experiences under on roof. The place is known as the capitals culinary paradise, so if you are about international cuisines you have GOT TO CHECK IT OUT. We headed over for drinks and a light snack this day, so only explored their ‘El patio’, but the place comprises of 5 floors catering to other culinary experiences.
If you are in Madrid, drop by for a taste of their high quality cuisine, drinks, ambience and moreover, the complete Platea experience.
Mercado De San Miguel
San Miguel Market is the most popular market in Madrid established over a 100 years. With so much significant importance, the place is known as Madrid’s ‘food temple’, with culinary experts catering to over millions a year. From the best Spanish hams to the freshest seafood and the finest wines in town, the market takes pride in delivering some of Spain’s most authentic Tapas. The market is also known for its remarkable iron architecture that is quite the sight!
I of course couldn’t taste any of the hams, but having tasted some great calamari, Spanish cheeses, olives, breads and of course desserts, my experience here was worth a lifetime.
El Oso y el Madroño – Puerta del sol
The famous statue of the Bear and and strawberry tree is Madrid’s national symbol located in Puerta del sol.
Puerta del sol, also known as ‘gate of the sun’, is one of Madrid’s most famous spots. This popular public square is often very busy with wandering tourists and locals on a daily basis. Having said that, out all the things to see here, El Oso y el Madroño is TOP number ONE.
Street Performers – Puerta Del Sol
Madrid is well known for their talented street artists who often roam Puerta del sol entertaining tourists; and when I say ‘entertain’, they really go to TOWN. You are bound to come across many artists while wandering these streets, so don’t forget to stop and check them out.
Temple De Bough
‘Temple de bough’ was originally located in Egypt, but later donated to Spain by the Egyptian government as a gift for some help rendered to them by the Spanish government . As a result, the temple is now rebuilt in one of Madrid’s parks, near the Royal Palace of Madrid and opened to the public. The relocation of this temple is extremely fascinating and is worth the visit.
The Royal Palace in Madrid
Previously ‘home’ to the Spanish royal family, the palace in the present day is utilised for state functions only, but is a tourist attraction you cant miss. The architecture, design, and historic importance of the location is a bucket list you must check if you are travelling Madrid.
Parque Warner Madrid
Parque Warner is one of Madrid’s most popular theme parks with some of the tallest roller coasters ever experienced. The park is divided into five themes, with crazy emphasis on the DC Super Heroes World and Warner Bros. So if you love DC comics and superheros its the place to see.
On that note, if you are big on ‘speed’, I’m highly recommending the Escape: Batman roller coaster ride! Of course I didn’t try it because I’m terrified of speed and heights, but the post ride look on Tarja’s face immediately told me it was best of out the lot! lol
You cannot travel Spain and miss out on shopping at Zara! Its an experience like no other.
‘Zara’, the most popular out of the Inditex apparel group is a Spanish clothing brand that is HUGE worldwide. The brand is well known for their fashionable high street designer wear and trendsetting styling. Luckily for us we visited a day after the opening of the biggest Zara store in Madrid and shopped till we dropped!
Until next time Madrid <3