Spanish food history may be among the most varied and interesting in the world. Since before the Romans the Iberian Peninsular has received influence from many cultures and regions and its gastronomy has evolved along with each century, each invasion and each conquest. Even today, Spanish cuisine is still evolving and continues to be one of the forerunners in the promotion of the healthy Mediterranean diet.
The Romans contributed with olive oil and wine, the Arabs with different gazpachos, irrigation systems, almonds and many other popular and nowadays common products, the ollas we know today would not have been possible without their Sabbath celebration and specific preparation method, and one of Spain's star product, ham, would not be among the best in the world if it wasn't for Christians.
The Mediterranean diet is known for being as tasty as it is healthy, and the fact is this is largely in part to the natural produce cultivated and harvested in the region. However many of the ingredients now central to many of the typical Spanish dishes were not even heard of over 500 years ago, we're talking about the popular and versatile potatoes, tomatoes, peppers and cocoa, all of them were brought from America upon its discovery.
Cocoas in particular is just one of those ingredients that has changed eating habits across the world. Where would we be without chocolate? It is thanks to the Spanish sweet tooth that this treat became so popular across the world. Plus they even combined it with other ingredients to givev us such delight as chocolate con churros - a favourite in the city of Madrid.
But Spanish food has evolved a lot since 1492, here at Spanish Food you can learn about its differents stages since the year Spain became Spain, that is, the year of the reconquest, when it was unified once again and most of the American countries became Spain's colonies. So many of the ingredients that we now take for granted actually came into our gastronomies thanks to the explorations of the Spanish. Tomatoes, potatoes and many other products are just some of the things brought back from the Americas.
Spain naturally has a rich agricultural heritage of all manner of ingredients as well. In particular, it is one of the world's largest producers of grapes and olives. Both of these products are used to produce some of Spain's other signature items: wine and olive oil. Both of these products are now protected by various Designations of Origin.
Did you know that beer has been produced in Spain since Charles V? Or that marzipan may have been created in Toledo by nuns? This and many other facts about products we all know today in the products section of Spanish food history. Below you will find a list of links to all of our pages about the history of Spanish food - so go and explore and brush up on Spanish food history knowledge!