Spain for a Foodie

Guest Post by: Lily Do, a Foster School Senior studying Accounting who participated in the ALBA Study Abroad Program in Spain.

Last quarter, I got the opportunity to study abroad in Barcelona, Spain. Known for its many Cathedrals and sunny beaches, Spain is also home to some amazing food. From churros to tapas to freshly made orange juice, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Below are five of my favorite foods in Spain.

  1. Churros: They are everywhere: street corners, shopping centers, coffee shops… There are even cafes that specialize in serving churros and melted chocolate that comes in tiny teacups. Italy may have its ice cream shops, but Spain has its churros. Like ice cream, the churros do not come in just one flavor. They can also be stuffed with Nutella, Carmel, or fruit fillings. One of my favorite memories is walking through the narrow long streets of the Gothic Quarter with a paper cone filled with churros. They taste best warm, so it is good to finish them before they cool down!
  2. Fresh Orange Juice: Oranges are a big thing in Spain and many places will have their own freshly squeezed orange juice. The local supermarket I went to in Barcelona has a juicer machine so customers can buy fresh orange juice on the spot. In fact, I had a cup of orange juice about every other day while living in Barcelona, its is just so convenient and so delicious. Orange trees are also plenty. One of my favorite places to visit is the National Library of Catalonia, known for its courtyard of stunning orange trees. It is small and intimate, not anywhere as big as the Quad with its cherry blossoms at the University of Washington, but it has a lovely fountain and shows just how important oranges are to Spain.
  3. Paella: According to my history teacher, one of the main reasons the Roman Empire decided to make Barcelona was due to its abundance in oysters. That can be seen today in the paella served there. Filled with rich and seafood, paella is a traditional Spanish dish everyone must try.
  4. Crema Catalana: One of the desserts I got the opportunity to make during one of my cooking classes in Barcelona was Crema Catalana. Although it looks like Crème Brulee, do not mistaken it for Crème Brulee or you may be corrected. Unlike Crème Brulee which is made with thick cream, Crema Catalana is made with milk and thickened with cornstarch and eggs. And like Crème Brulee, it tastes delicious. My favorite part of making the dessert takes place after the crème has cooled down. That is when I pile spoonfuls of sugar onto the crème and then use a kitchen blow torch to melt the sugar on the surface until it is slightly brunt.
  5. Tapas: While the US may be known for its big portion sizes, Spain is known for its smaller plates called tapas, often served in tapas bars. The idea is to order multiple, but different types of tapas per meal to share or to enjoy by oneself. It is a great way to try different types of foods all in one sitting. In Spain, meals are not something to be rushed and the tapas experience caused me to slow down and enjoy my food as the portions were small and the waiter would bring each tapa out one at a time. It could also be an exciting experience as most times, the waiter would bring out the tapas in no particular order. It certainly kept my taste buds on its toes whenever I ordered something I was unfamiliar with.

And that is a wrap! My time in Spain was certainly educational, but between all the studying and group projects, I am happy that I found time to enjoy the delicious plates that Spain had to offer.