A Guide to Spanish Gourmet | Uses, Pairings, Easy Recipes

Those who have traveled to or lived in Spain can attest that the country's cuisine is a massive attraction. Spanish gourmet cuisine is significantly more diverse than just paella and tapas. Despite being a small country, it has a huge diversity of culinary and cultural traditions.

There are 17 autonomous communities in Spain, all with distinct histories and cultures. The local cultures, languages, and cuisines vary greatly from place to place. All of them, however, share a commitment to using only the highest quality products available at the peak of their freshness and seasonality and preparing them in the simplest manner possible to highlight those qualities.

Popular Ingredients in Spanish Gourmet Cuisine

Olives, potatoes, tomatoes, paprika, saffron, cod, tuna, and cured ham are only a few of the staples of Spanish cooking. Spanish cuisine is known for its variety and heartiness, with dishes like croquetas, tortilla de patatas, gazpacho, patatas bravas, a variety of rice dishes, fish (fried and roasted), slow-cooked beef and pork, and hearty stews with meat and beans.

Join us as we discuss classic Spanish gourmet pairings, utilizing Spain's varied and delicious cuisine as inspiration.

Spanish Gourmet and Wine Pairings

Spanish Gourmet Items: Seafood and Wine Pairings

Spain is well known for its seafood, and for a good reason! There is a wide variety of seafood dishes with deep roots in local culture, thanks to the Mediterranean and the Atlantic proximity. Because these coastal locations are often cooler than other parts of Spain, the wines produced there have the
appropriate balance of acidity and delicateness to enhance the flavors and textures of the food!

Spanish Paella

The dish paella is widely misunderstood and has come to represent seafood in a way that its Valencian originators never intended. Paella, which was once developed as a rice dish for peasants and included various vegetables, meats, and snails, actually serves better as a seafood dish since it gives delicate seafood like clams, mussels, and langoustines a flavorful richness.

Wine Pairing: Albariño

Contrary to the old saying, "What grows together goes together", let's travel to the far western region of Galicia, where the DO Rias Baixas makes Albariño, Spain's most famous white grape. This tangy, fragrant white wine is the ideal complement to paella since it is delicate enough not to overpower any flavors
while still being crisp enough to lend a little zing to the process.

Spanish Paella - Recipe


  • 12 large mussels
  • 12- 16 medium or large prawns (whole, with shell)
  • 10 oz chicken thigh fillets
  • 6 oz calamari squid
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken stock or broth or seafood broth
  • 1.5 tbsp olive oil
  • 7 oz chorizo
  • 1 medium onion (diced)
  • 1 red bell pepper/capsicum/bell pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 2 tomatoes (peeled and diced)
  • 1 cup peas (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 1/2 cups paella rice
  • 1/4 tsp ground saffron


1. Take a large iron skillet, add 1 tbsp oil and chorizo and cook over medium-high heat for 3 minutes on each side. Remove from the pan and set them aside.
2. Add squid and cook for 45 seconds on each side, then remove and set aside.
3. Add the remaining oil, onion, and garlic and cook on medium heat for 2 minutes. Toss in the capsicum and cook for another minute.
4. Next, add the chicken and cook for 2 minutes.
5. Add rice next and lightly coat the grains in oil.
6. Add 5 oz of chorizo, tomatoes, chicken stock, and saffron. Lightly stir and heat till the stock starts to simmer.
7. Let simmer without stirring for 10 minutes.
8. Spread the peas on top and push the mussels and prawns into the rice.
9. Cook until prawns turn opaque, mussels open, and the liquid is nearly soaked up. Remove from heat.
10. Taste the rice to see if it is done. Splash a little hot water on top if the grains are hard, and cook covered for an additional 10 minutes.
11. Spread the chorizo and squid on top of the rice, cover the skillet with a lid, and let the rice sit for 5 minutes.
12. Put parsley and lemon wedges on top. Bring as is to the table, and mix the seafood with rice right before serving.

Spanish Gourmet Items: Meat Dishes and Wine Pairings

Spain isn't the easiest place in the world for vegetarians. Cooler and "greener" parts of Spain produce high-quality beef, whereas lamb and pork are kings in the interior. Because Spain is a generally warm country, there is an abundance of red wine of varying styles available, making it perfect for your Spanish gourmet items and wine pairings.

Slow-Roasted Lamb

Around Navarra and Rioja in the northern part of the country, lamb is a staple. The shoulder of lamb flavored with thyme, covered in sauce, and served with roast veggies is about as wonderful as it gets in the land of rich, savory red wine. The lamb is sometimes slow-cooked in a clay pot for a full day at fine
dining establishments, making it increasingly tender and flavorful as the day progresses. One typical choice is the shoulder, which can and usually does disintegrate by the process's completion.

Wine Pairing: Mature Rioja

The wines of Rioja, Spain's most renowned winemaking area, are typically a Tempranillo-dominant combination, with Carignan and Garnacha playing supporting roles. When paired with a slow-roasted lamb entrée, wines from the classic Muga, Lopez de Heredia shine, and La Rioja Alta, especially after
some aging. The tobacco-tinged earthiness of the red fruits, balanced alcohol, and bright acidity complement the lamb's gamey flavor without overpowering either. One of the all-time best Spanish wine combinations!

Slow-Roasted Lamb - Recipe

  • Olive oil
  • 2 large onions
  • One 4-pound leg of lamb
  • 6 medium potatoes
For the Marinade
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp coarse salt
  • ¾ tsp black pepper
  • 4 bay leaves
  • A few sprigs of thyme (crushed)
  • 8 garlic cloves (ground into paste)

1. Prepare the marinade by tossing garlic paste, lemon juice, thyme, bay leaves, vinegar, white vine, salt, and pepper in a bowl.
2. Coat the meat with the marinade and plastic wrap. Marinate the lamb overnight, turning it over once to ensure even marinade coverage.
3. Next day, at least an hour before roasting, remove the lamb from the fridge.
4. Remove the skins from the potatoes and chop them into bite-sized cubes. Sauté them in olive oil, then scoop them out and set them aside.
5. Preheat the oven to 175°C.
6. While the oven preheats, sauté the onion in the olive oil until soft and translucent. Remove when done.
7. Spread the onions and potatoes in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper over the sheet. Place the marinated lamb on top.
8. Prevent the lamb from drying out by covering it with foil before roasting it for three and a half hours. If it’s not tender after 30 minutes, roast it for another 30.
9. Then, take the foil off and turn the oven up to 425 degrees. To get a golden brown color on both sides of the lamb, roast it for 20 minutes, uncovered.
10. Take the lamb out of the oven and let it sit for 20 minutes before cutting.

Spanish Gourmet Items: Desserts and Wine Pairings

While dessert isn't as big a deal in Spain in contrast to some of its neighbors, some dishes hold significant cultural meaning and are good enough to get anyone excited. The good news is that there is never a problem obtaining the right wine to pair with your meal because Spain's wine production is huge and varied enough to suit nearly any situation!

La Crema Catalana

Catalunya's proximity to France and the fact that the ancient kingdom of Aragon encompassed much of present-day Languedoc make a fusion of the two countries' culinary traditions inevitable. But Creme Brulee, based on the 14th-century recipe La Crema Catalana, is among the few wonderful foods that the
French decided to imitate. Using the help of cream, milk, and lemon zest for extra zing, a light, and airy egg custard is created; next, the sugar layer on top is caramelized with a blow torch, adding to the excitement of discovering this hidden treasure.

Wine pairing: Fortified Emporda Whites

Here's a niche item that, if you have the chance, you should try to track down. The Solera Systems, which have been used to age their sweet wines for decades, are among the oldest in the world and help make the Emporda region in northern Catalunya feel more like the southern part of France than Spain.
The combination of La Crema Catalana's tanginess and slightly burnt aromas and flavors with this powerful, sweet wine is sublime. A uniquely Catalan method to round off a meal.

La Crema Catalana - Recipe


  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 citrus peel from an orange and a lemon
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 cup fine sugar
  • ½ cup sugar for caramelization
  • Fresh fruit (raspberries, figs, or strawberries)


1. Warm the milk with a cinnamon stick and citrus peels in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over low heat.
2. Take some water in a container, mix in the cornstarch, and set aside.
3. Beat the sugar with the egg yolks till fully dissolved. Take a tablespoon of hot milk and add it to the egg mix. Next, beat in the cornstarch mix.
4. Take the cinnamon stick and citrus peels out of the boiling milk and turn the heat down.
5. To prevent the eggs from scrambling, stir continually as you gently pour the egg mixture into the hot milk.
6. Stir constantly over low heat till the blend thickens.
7. Remove the pan from the flame and pour the ready mixture into ramekins or clay dishes.
8. After the custard has cooled, wrap the ramekins tightly in plastic wrap and place them in the
fridge for 8 to 10 hours.
9. Before serving, let the custard warm up to room temperature. Sprinkle sugar in a thin layer on each ramekin and spread it out by tilting the serving dish in all directions.
10. Use a kitchen blowtorch to create a caramelized topping.
11. The addition of fresh fruit on top is optional but recommended.

Last Words

We could gush endlessly about how great the food and wine in Spain are, but that would be giving away too many of the fun surprises that await you! Not only do both fields have thousands of years of tradition and experience, but there are also 70 different wine regions; therefore, there are undoubtedly many hidden jewels we have yet to uncover. Whether in the cool north, the hot south, or somewhere in between, you'll always find a good excuse to visit Spain on an empty stomach and enjoy the delicious Spanish gourmet.

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