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The History of Spanish Gastronomy

Updated: Jul 9

There is always room for knowledge… Or delicious food to try!


The History of Spanish Gastronomy blog post


Directly brought to you by our native Spanish team, we bring you a quick brief about the history and typical dishes of one of the most beloved cuisines in the world.


0 - Intro

Since the Spaniards started curing their signature “Jamón Ibérico” around 1100 B.C in Cádiz (historically known as Gádir) to these days, a lot of things have changed due to numerous reasons…

Spanish Gastronomy is known worldwide for its diverse and flavorful cuisine that has a long and rich history dating back to the Roman era. The country's geography, climate, and diverse cultural influences have all played a significant role in shaping the flavours and ingredients used in Spanish cuisine.

1 - How it started

The Roman Empire introduced the concept of farming and the use of olive oil, wine, and fish to Spain. The Moors, who ruled Spain for centuries, brought spices, almonds, and fruits such as apricots and pomegranates to the country, which are still prominent in Spanish cuisine today.

2 - Spanish Gastronomy in the 15th Century

In the 15th century, the discovery of the Americas brought a wave of new ingredients to Spain, including tomatoes, peppers, corn, and potatoes. These ingredients revolutionized Spanish cuisine and led to the creation of dishes such as “Paella” and “Gazpacho”, which have become iconic dishes of Spanish Gastronomy.

3 - Spanish Gastronomy in the 19-20th Century

During the 19th and early 20th centuries, Spanish cuisine saw a period of decline due to political instability and economic struggles. However, in the 1960s and 1970s, a new wave of chefs emerged, led by Juan Mari Arzak and Ferran Adria, who helped revolutionize Spanish Gastronomy and bring it to the forefront of the culinary world.

4 - Spanish Gastronomy in the Present

Today, Spanish cuisine is known for its bold flavours, fresh ingredients, and creative techniques.

Spanish Gastronomy is also renowned for its regional diversity, with each region having its unique specialities and flavours. The Basque Country is known for its “Pintxos” and seafood dishes, while Catalonia is famous for its “Pa amb tomàquet” and “Crema Catalana”. Other regions, such as Andalusia, Galicia, and Valencia, also have their distinct culinary traditions.

Some of the most famous dishes include “Paella”, “Tortilla Española”, “Gazpacho”, “Churros”, and various “Tapas”. Wine also plays a significant role in Spanish Gastronomy, with Spain being one of the largest wine-producing countries in the world.

5 - What will the future of Spanish Gastronomy look like?

Although its style is already defined, like many cultures, it will always continue developing new dishes inspired by other cuisines and food science advances. For example, the use of molecular techniques to cook reinvented Spanish recipes or mixes between French and Spanish cuisine.

Related to the molecular gastronomy aspect, which consists of a mix of alchemy and cooking skills, we can find great inventions like spherifications made from all the ingredients of the Spanish historically traditional dish “Cocido Madrileño”, crazy pastry dishes like “Eternity by Calvin Klein - Jordi Roca” and unimaginable foods like eating “Air” flavoured with the freshest ingredients of a Spanish region.

In conclusion, Spanish Gastronomy is a reflection of the country's rich history, diverse culture, and natural resources. From its Roman and Moorish influences to the discoveries of the Americas, Spanish cuisine has evolved over the centuries to become one of the most renowned and beloved cuisines in the world.

6 - TOP Spanish restaurant recommendations

Spain is a country renowned for its gastronomy and delicious cuisine. Spaniards take their food very seriously, and the quality of their ingredients and the passion they put into their cooking is world-renowned. Here are some top-rated Spanish restaurants that are sure to tantalize your taste buds and provide a memorable dining experience:

  1. El Celler de Can Roca - Located in Girona, El Celler de Can Roca has been awarded three Michelin stars and has been ranked as the world's best restaurant multiple times. The restaurant offers a unique culinary experience, with a tasting menu that blends traditional Catalan cuisine with modern techniques.

  2. Disfrutar - Disfrutar, located in Barcelona, offers a playful and creative approach to Spanish cuisine. The restaurant has earned two Michelin stars and offers an exciting and experimental tasting menu that changes frequently.

  3. Azurmendi - Located in Larrabetzu, Azurmendi is a three-star Michelin restaurant that specializes in Basque cuisine. The restaurant is known for its innovative use of local ingredients and sustainability practices, such as using solar panels and a geothermal system to power the restaurant.

  4. Asador Etxebarri - Asador Etxebarri, located in Axpe, is a one-star Michelin restaurant that focuses on wood-fired grilling techniques. The restaurant has been ranked as one of the best restaurants in the world and offers a unique dining experience with dishes such as grilled octopus and lamb chops.

  5. DiverXO - DiverXO, located in Madrid, is a three-star Michelin restaurant that offers a fusion of Spanish and Asian cuisine. The restaurant has been described as a "culinary adventure" with its ever-changing menu and innovative dishes. DiverXO got remodelled in early 2023 and added new signature dishes to its menu. Feel free to check review videos on Youtube, they are mouth-watering and mind-blowing!

These top-rated Spanish restaurants offer a unique and unforgettable dining experience. Whether you're a foodie or simply looking to indulge in some delicious Spanish cuisine, these restaurants are sure to impress.

If you plan to go to Spain, for sure check out our "10 essential tips for travelling from Ireland to Spain this Summer 2023". We advise some recommendations for the trip as well as etiquette tips for going to this restaurant.


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Mila Fernández

CEO, Teacher & Founder at Dublin Institute of Spanish

Álvaro Rubio

Marketing Specialist at Dublin Institute of Spanish

Copyright – Dublin Institute of Spanish

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