SPAIN AT A GLANCE

Spain is a diverse country. It has an institutional system developed on the basis of 17 autonomous communities with their own statutes collected and protected by the State as an integral part of its legal system. Four official languages are spoken, Basque, Catalan, Galician and Valencian, as well as Spanish, the official language of the whole country. The Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean, the Canary Islands in the Atlantic, and the autonomous cities of Ceuta and Melilla in the North African are also part of the Spanish territory

GEOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE

About 600,000 kilometers of coastline in southwest Europe, with two islands, the Canaries, off the coast of Africa and the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean. It is the most mountainous country in Europe after Switzerland. The only navigable river is the Guadalquivir. The country is divided into four major climatic regions. The Atlantic, with cold winters and mild summers and abundant rainfall throughout the year. In the Mediterranean, with mild winters and hot summers and with little rain. Indoors, temperatures in winter can drop below zero degrees Celsius and summers are very hot and dry. And the Canary Islands, which enjoy a subtropical climate throughout the year.

In Spain you can walk through a forest or get lost in a desert. Besides enjoying admirable beaches in its fascinating coasts or knowing small coves on any of its islands. Enjoying the activity of its great cities and also of the tranquility of its small towns

Spain is the third largest power in the tourism sector, with approximately 65 million visitors per year. Perhaps that is why the headquarters of the world tourism organization (UNWTO) is located in Madrid.
With some of the best beaches in the world, it leads the European ranking of Blue Flags year after year with about 600 beaches and more than 100 marinas with blue flag quality.
But in addition, in the Spanish coasts you will find many other attractions and different destinations to enjoy. From big cities with a great historical and cultural heritage to charming seaside and indoor towns surronded by nature. It should be noted that Spain was the first European country to introduce the concept of National Park in 1918 (Covadonga in Asturias and Ordesa in Aragon were the first). Today it has 15 National Parks (Atlantic Islands in Galicia, Picos de Europa, Sierra del Guadarrama, Sierra Nevada, Doñana, Tablas de Daimiel …) as well as a wide variety of protected areas throughout all the Spanish autonomous communities.

HISTORY AND CULTURE

Spain is a country of great historical heritage, with contributions from the Roman period and from many other towns that had inhabited it: Suevi, Celts, Visigoths, Muslims … who have left their vestiges throughout its geography. The Spanish Crown of the Catholic Kings financed in 1492 the voyage of Christopher Columbus, who, in order to discover a new route to the Indies, which gave rise to the discovery of the American continent. That is one of the main reasons why more than 500 million people speak Spanish (almost all of South and Central America, as a significant proportion of the population of the United States) and therefore Spanish is the second language more spoken of the world, by number of speakers and the second language of international communication. In addition, it is estimated that in 2030, 7.5% of the world’s population will speak Spanish (a total of 535 million people). Spain is the third country with the largest number of sites declared World Heritage by UNESCO (44). It also has an enormous artistic wealth. Among its museums, the Prado Museum (Madrid) is considered by some experts one of the most complete art galleries in the world. Land of culture and art has great personalities that have nourished it throughout history, where they emphasize philosophers, writers, poets, playwrights, some awarded with Nobel Prizes like Juan Ramón Jiménez, Jacinto Benavente, Vicente Alexandre, or Camilo José Cela . Also scientists, cardiologists or doctors such as Santiago Ramón y Cajal or Severo Ochoa, and a large number of artists, film directors, composers, painters, architects … as a sample of the development of most artistic disciplines in this country.

According to FIAB (the federation of food and beverage industries) the Spanish agricultural and food industry occupies the sixth place in the European Union, with a production of more than 90,000 million euros, of which about a quarter is exported.
The main destination markets for Spanish food and beverage exports are the European Union (68.7%) (led by France, Italy, Portugal, United Kingdom and Germany), United States (5.1%), China + Hong Kong (3.6%) and Japan (2.4%); Thus consolidating the identified priority markets for the sector. On the other hand, the main products exported are those from the meat industry and its derivatives, beverages (wine) and olive oil.
As relevant data of the Spanish food sector, we can highlight that Spain is within the EU as the first producer and the third exporter of fruit, the first producer and exporter of pomegranates, the first producer of canned fruit and the third of canned vegetables and of nuts. Its large production of fruit and vegetables and its importance in supplying European countries makes it is known as “The vegetable garden of Europe”. With regard to animal products, Spain is the number one producer of fish, the first European honey producer, the second largest producer of pigs, sheep and goats, the third largest producer of meat and fourth in processed meat production as well as Of eggs. It is also the fourth producer of bottled water and vinegar.
Globally, Spain is the leading producer and exporter of olive oil and extra virgin olive oil and table olives. Second one in the production of almonds in shell, mandarins, mandarins and clementines, in the production and export of canned fish and shellfish as well as mussels. It occupies the third place in the production of artichokes, the fourth place in the production of lettuce and chicory, strawberries and pork and the fifth place in the production of cherries, grapes and in the production of peaches and nectarines.
In terms of quality label, Spain has more than 95 products under Protected Denominations of Origin (PDO), 79 Protected Geographical Indications (PGI) and 4 products under traditional specialty guaranteed (TSG).
About ecological agriculture, Spain is the largest producer of food crops Ecological in the European Union and sixth in the world, with about 1,756,548 ha / 4,340,524 acres of land and around 30,500 farms dedicated to this type of agriculture.

If we talk about drinks, in Spain, the wine occupies a prominent place. Spain, with almost 15% of the total world market, is the country where the vineyards occupy a larger area of ​​land, being the third wine producer in the world and the second exporter by volume of wine worldwide, exporting almost half of -35 million of hl- which produces. The United Kingdom is the main market for our wine exports, importing 17% of the total, followed by Germany, the United States, France, Switzerland, Italy and the Netherlands. Spain has 69 Denominations of origin of wines, covering an area of ​​641,784 hectares, and the group of a total of 165,943 winegrowers and 6,355 wineries. The climatological differences derived from the different geographical situation of the vineyards, grape varieties used and The cultural and oenological options end up conditioning the different character of the wines and distinguishes them in a very marked way according to their region of origin.

A brushstroke on the history of our cuisine

The geographical position of Spain has motivated that for centuries has been exposed to many cultural influences which are reflected in their cuisine through their culinary contributions. If we focus on the ingredients we could say that our star product is olive oil, whose origin dates back to the Phoenician period. After its liquidation by the Romans, Spain not only continued to supply olive oil, but also became known for its excellent ham (Iberian, then as now) and its coveted garum sauce (or garo, which was an elaborate sauce with fermented fish). Regarding wines, it seems that although viticulture was already well known and appreciated by the Romans, the extension of the vine throughout the Mediterranean was due to the Greeks, being the wines produced by these the most appreciated throughout the empire . The arrival of the Arabs in the 8th century introduced many new foodstuffs (spices, cane sugar, aubergines … and their elaborations) from India and Persia and later spread throughout Europe. Later the historical events of 1492, the discover of America, would mark the beginning of a new chapter in the history of Western food, providing the discovery a great variety of culinary techniques and ingredients. The cuisine has been accompanying us throughout our history, defining our condition. Thus, for example in the late Middle Ages, the consumption of pork and wine was a differentiating element of Spanish society to distinguish authentic Christians from That they were not. Each region evolved according to its influences and enriched the gastronomy (that is the way to prepare the dishes) of Spain. In a nutshell, cuisine of origin that oscillates between the rural and the coastal style, representing a great diversity fruit of many cultures, as well as of its landscapes and climates.

and…. the today's Spanish cuisine

Spanish cuisine of the twentieth century would experience moments of decline during the Spanish Civil War, and then later resurface with the rise of the media. The emergence of successive generations of cooks with great popularity and culinary writers of great circulation have been increasing its fame. And if among all the chefts we have to emphasize a single cook, without overlooking the importance of the precursors. The avant-garde is recognized especially thanks to the work of the chef Ferran Adrià, who jumped to the international top thanks to the praises that in 2003 surrendered In the Sunday supplement of the New York Times. In a long report, he was declared the best cook in the world, and the supremacy of Spanish cuisine over the French one was postulated. Today, its restaurant the Bulli has left the relay to the Celler of Can Roca. Nowadays, modern Spanish cuisine (or new Spanish cuisine) embraces new concepts and is internationalized, with the arrival of millions of tourists a year, recognition of the prestige of certain chefs and the emergence of Spanish restaurants in the main capitals of the world. Here we show you the exquisite typical dishes of each area, the famous pintxos, some of the best wines in the world and a vanguard cuisine that we want to show with our contributions. For this we present regional cuisines from all over the country, how to prepare certain recipes, where to find traditional markets, or places to taste it.

Do you want to taste it?