Spanish Gastronomy is something well known to others. Every student on our Spanish course arrives here knowing our standard typical dishes: paella, Spanish tortilla, fried fish and the renowned Serrano ham. It’s no kept secret that the Mediterranean diet is very healthy and a base for our eating habits. This is not only down to the quality and variety of our products, but also due to of the quantity of which we intake. An authentic Mediterranean diet is made of 5 daily meals: breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack and dinner. This comes as a surprise to many of our language students and a drastic difference to their own eating habits.
‘An authentic Mediterranean diet is made of 5 daily meals: breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack and dinner’.
Spanish breakfast is lighter than other continental breakfasts. Normally, it is eaten in the early morning before going to work or school. It is made up of a cup of coffee, orange juice or hot chocolate accompanied with toast with olive oil or butter and marmalade or, for the more greedy, a cake or biscuit as well. Although with the hectic modern life of today, more and more Spanish people only have a coffee for breakfast and wait until mid morning to eat something more substantial.
Following that comes the hour of the “pincho” This is a form of appetizer normally eaten between 10 and 12 in the morning, although during the weekend it can be eaten much later and may overlap with lunchtime. At this time bars serve all types of mini sandwiches, tapas or the famous “pintxos” in the north of Spain. These are slices of bread accompanied with some form of sausage or another small portion of food.
Lunchtime is the biggest meal of the day. It is normally eaten much later than in other European countries, the time space to eat lunch has become much later over time, from 1.30 to 3.30 in the afternoon. After a morning of working or studying Spanish at Onspain, our students can discover and enjoy authentic Spanish food. It is worth knowing that, around the Onspain School and along the Pedregalejo seafront, you can find the most famous paella and fish restaurants in the city. Lunchtime is the hour of paella, meats and fish, cooked or stewed, although don´t forget that the Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest with many fruit and vegetables within these meals, which help to digest food. Another one of the main foods found on the Spanish dinner table is bread, of which comes in different types.
Depending on how much is eaten during lunch and what time it is eaten, the afternoon snack or la merienda is eaten at any time between 5 and 6.30 in the evening. This meal is without a doubt a favourite for children and the greedy. In the merienda, sweets, biscuits and fruit are often eaten, always alongside a coffee, tea or hot chocolate. It could be a quick small snack, unless it is during a more social time and enjoyed with friends at home or in a café, something often done at the weekend.
And finally comes dinner time. The time tends to surprise foreign visitors, as it is particularly late, at around 9pm to 11pm, and is extended sometimes to midnight during the summer. In general, it consists of a much lighter meal, such as salads, fish or snacks, except for at the weekends when meals are heavier, for social or family gatherings.
Ultimately, after looking at the differences in our eating habits, what becomes clear to our Spanish students, is the importance of food and the Spanish gastronomy in our culture and how much they enjoy getting to know it!
OnSpain School, your door to learn Spanish!