By Guest Author Susan Lewis Solomont
When eating in Spain, sample the simple and indulge in the decadent
There’s a Spanish proverb: Con pan y vino, se anda el camino, which translates to “With bread and wine, you can walk your road.” It’s a philosophy that life can never be too hard with good food and wine.
While serving alongside my husband, who was appointed U.S. Ambassador to Spain and Andorra under President Obama from 2010-2013, I, too, tried to seek out good bread and wine as we walked our road. I made a point of sampling cuisine from every region of Spain we visited. It was a delicious challenge.
Note that while Spain’s 30+ Michelin 3-starred restaurants are a decadent showcase of its epicure, there are plenty of street food kiosks and cafés that are not to be missed. Should you venture to Spain, here are some recommendations that will allow you to walk your road in delicious fashion.
- Be sure to try Acei-tunas esfericas. These are“spherical olives” in which olive juice is made to resemble a real olive through a spherification process. They look like olives served on a Chinese soup spoon, but when you put one of these remarkable olives in your mouth, it explodeswith flavor. This innovation originated at the famous El Bulli, a Michelin 3-star restaurant in Catalonia.
- Pass the Sidra. This is hard apple cider poured from earthenware jugs. Don’t be surprised if you are taught to drink it the traditional way: by picking up the jug, hoisting it over one’s shoulders, and letting the cider flow out the spout and into one’s mouth.
Pair copitas with corte de foie. When enjoying copitas(a glass of wine and hor d’oeuvres served late in the day), the perfect complement is a littlecorte de foie,a sweet homemade wafer biscuit with a piece of foie (liver) in between, drizzled with a port wine reduction. My husband and I have fond memories of enjoying these as prepared by the head chef in the Embassy.
Experience ham as a true delicacy. Spanish ham, from pigs raised on the acorns of oak trees that are hundreds of years-old, is saturated with healthy fat. Acorns are filled with healthy omega-3 fats, so if you have the real Ibérico de bellota from these pigs, you’re eating something that’s really healthy for you.
Splurge on Arzak. Chef Juan Mari Arzak’s restaurant dates back to 1897 when his grandfather built the house that is now his restaurant. It’s proud heritage of four generations of Arzak’s has 3 Michelin stars. His daughter Elena Arzak has since joined him in the kitchen and has been named one of the world’s best female chefs. Their cuisine is considered the “New Basque” and is as creative as it is delicious.
Photos: Courtesy of Susan Lewis Solomont
Susan Lewis Solomont is the author of the memoir, Lost and Found in Spain, Tales of an Ambassador’s Wife (Disruption Books, March 2019). She lives in Boston with her husband and a cockapoo named Stella Blu, who is the subject of her forthcoming children’s book “Stella the Ambassadog”.