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Must-try Spanish food and drink

Tuesday 31 January 2023

Spain is a country of amazing cultures, beautiful weather, breathtaking coastlines and bustling cities, but one of its greatest highlights is the tantalising array of local cuisine on offer. From fragrant paella to cooling gazpacho and sweet sangria, is there really a cuisine better than the Spanish? In this guide, we take a trip around some of the most iconic and authentic dishes you can try whilst you cruise the Mediterranean.

If you’re looking at cruise holidays from Tilbury and are wondering where to go, then we’re sure this article will get your tastebuds tingling.


The most famous Spanish dish, which is beloved by cultures across the globe, is paella. A rice dish that originates from Valencia which is often bolstered with seafood, chicken and sometimes chorizo and is commonly considered Spain’s national dish. With a base of saffron rice, the dish is cooked in a large skillet for a long period of time until the meats are cooked, and the rice is soft and tender. This dish is one that Paulina, who blogs at Paulina On The Road, thinks everyone should try when visiting Spain.

“When you come to Spain, you don't want to miss out on the best food that Spain has to offer. However, food in Spain strongly varies from region to region. Therefore, I recommend doing some upfront research on the local dishes. On the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts, I highly recommend anything related to fish or seafood. In Andalusia, in the Malaga region, the Espetos (sardine skewers) are some of my favourites. The original paella comes from the Valencia area; hence if you visit this part of Spain, paella should be on the top of the list.”


A dish that often divides opinion but is synonymous with Spain is Gazpacho, another dish that Paulina recommended to us: “I am also obsessing over Spanish cold soups: Gazpacho, Ajo Blanco, Salmorejo... they are so refreshing and healthy!”

Served cold and made from raw blended vegetables, Gazpacho is a healthy way to drink or eat a plethora of your favourite vegetables in one delicious dish. A typical Gazpacho soup or drink is made from a base of tomatoes, onion, cucumber, pepper, garlic, oil, salt and vinegar – making it flavoursome and delicious. The perfect accompaniment for a summer’s day under the Spanish sun!

Pimientos de Padrón

A variety of peppers from the municipality of Padrón in north-western Spain, Padrón peppers are a popular snack in many Spanish areas and have made their way to menus across the rest of Europe too, being especially popular in the Spanish-owned Canary Islands too. These small green peppers look somewhat like green chilis, but only one in ten can prove spicy to the tongue, while the other nine have no spice whatsoever.

Commonly featured on a tapas board, they are effortless to prepare and equally as delicious. Made with three essential ingredients, Padróns, salt and oil, they are flash fried on a skillet until they are charred and crispy. Will you take the chance and try these delicious bites of happiness?

READ MORE: Must-try Canary Island’s food specialities


Is a trip to Spain truly complete without a sip of Sangria? An alcoholic beverage originating from Spain, Sangria can only be called Sangria when served in two Iberian regions, so when you’re visiting Spain, you know you’re trying the authentic and original recipe. Served alongside a plethora of sliced fruit, this tangy drink combines marinated fruit, red wine and brandy and can also be finished with sparkling water or a fruit juice of your choice.

Whilst enjoying your evening onboard one of our cruise ships, why not try our Peach Sangria mocktail or ask one of our bar team to make you and your friends a jug of Sangria to enjoy after dinner in The Botanical Lounge, Raffles or the Observatory?

Tortilla Española

Tortilla Española, or as it is more commonly known Spanish Omelette, is a popular breakfast and brunch dish around Spain and is often celebrated as one of the cornerstones of Spanish cuisine. Made of egg and potato and occasionally including onion, Spanish Tortilla is usually served cold as part of a tapas menu.

Dating back to the sixteenth century, the dish is a trademark in Spain and has been a staple in the diet of Spaniards for hundreds of years. Once made by the Aztecs, who consumed plate-shaped eggs that included whatever ingredients came to hand.

Must-try Spanish food and drink:

  • Paella

  • Gazpacho

  • Pimientos de Padrón

  • Sangria

  • Tortilla Española

READ MORE: Must-try Portuguese Food and Drink

If you’re planning to book a cruise to Iberia, we hope we’ve got your mouth-watering idea of some of these delectable dishes and drinks. For more articles and blogs like this, or if you’re looking for a bit of travel inspiration, make sure you head to our blog.

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