Like the French, the Spanish love their food and right now they are setting the pace for others to follow. The recently-published Top 100 restaurants in the world included 5 Spanish entries in the Top 20 (France, UK, Peru & USA were next with 2 each) and El Celler de Can Rocca (in Gerona) took the Number 1 spot.
Spanish regions have distinct identities and these are reflected in their local dishes. If you go looking for them, you can find entire chat forums out there discussing the difference between pinchos (aka pintxos if you are in Basque country) and tapas. Essentially, pinchos which are commonly found in the north (Rioja, Basque, Navarre, Catalonia) are skewered with a cocktail stick ('pinchar' is the verb for skewer), while tapa (meaning 'lid') are found in the South (Madrid, Andalucia) and are small portions of main dishes. If you want to complicate matters further, you can ask for a 'media racion' – a half portion – but we wouldn't advise.
It's not all about snacking though. On a recent trip to La Rioja we were bowled over by the quality of house specialities shoulder of lamb at Terete in Haro and the 'old cow' at Alameda in Fuenmajor.
Check out our new range of Spanish wine - a toast of tempranillo from a Spanish adventure!