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The name of this typical Valencian dish, made with rice, meat, fish, shellfish and vegetables, comes from the type of pan in which it is made. It is seasoned with saffron, which gives it its characteristic yellow color. It is a dish, often made at family outings in the countryside, using orange tree branches for the cooking fire. There are many tasty varieties all along the Mediterranean coast and the Balearic Islands, although they are called arroces (rice), rather than paella: black rice (literally, as squid ink is added to the broth), arroz a banda (serving the fish and seafood used for the broth on the side), etc.


This is another name for potatoes, particularly in Andalusia and the Canary Islands, where the famous and unique papas negras are cultivated, as well as their variants, papas rosadas and papas bonitas. The papa negra is a very small potato (from 2 to 5 cm/0.7 to 1.9 in) with a strong, sweet flavour. All the varieties of potato passed through the Canary Islands after the discovery of America, before spreading throughout the continent of Europe. The papa negra comes from Peru and due to the colour of its skin -nearly black- looks like a truffle. In fact, it was described as such in XVI century chronicles and, along with the papa bonita, is the most widely preferred by Canary Islanders when preparing one of their typical dishes: papas arrugás (literally, wrinkled potatoes).

Patatas bravas

A typical dish in Madrid invented at the Café Bravas, it is usually eaten as a tapa or aperitif. The preparation is very simple: peel and cube the potatoes into smallish, irregular pieces - the pieces should not be too large, so they can be easily speared on a toothpick. Fry in abundant olive oil with a pinch of salt. A sauce is prepared on the side and, here is the secret, each bar makes its sauce differently. The Café Bravas has actually patented its sauce. One option is to begin lightly frying tomatoes or pepper meat, which gives the sauce an orangey tone, with onions, garlic, vinegar, spices and other ingredients of the cook's choice, always adding a touch of pepper or chilli to make it spicy.


Typical ancestral country house in Galicia. Pazos are a symbol of the Galician rural aristocracy; they were built from the 17th and 18th centuries on, in granite. The most imposing of these include a defensive tower and hórreos, pigeon cotes and chapels built around them.


A typical sweet, made by encasing peeled roasted almonds in a hard sugar coating. Peladillas were typically given as presents to attendants in weddings and baptisms, as part of Christmas baskets or at country fairs.


A typical Christmas and Easter sweet of the region of Andalusia. To make them, a batter of flour is fried until crunchy into a ribbon-like shape, flavoured with sesame (and, occasionally aniseed) and coated in honey or sugar.

Pico Limón

The presence of this variety of olive in Spain is still fairly limited. It produces fluid, fruity oils.


This is the most popular variety of olive in Spain, cultivated in 50% of the country's olive groves.  It is medium to large-sized and has the largest fat yield (percentage of oil extracted), as well as a high anti-oxidant and polyphenol content. This makes the oil it produces one of the most stable and, from the nutritional standpoint, dietetic. It is grown extensively in Andalusia.


A variety of large-sized olive with a high fat yield which produces slightly sweet oils. It is grown extensively in Andalusia.

Piel de sapo

A variety of melon native to La Mancha, oval shaped and green in colour, weighing between one and a half and 5 kg /3,3-10,9 lb. It is called toad skin because its skin, rippled and dark-spotted, is reminiscent of a toad. The pulp is compact and sometimes even crisp, and a pale yellow in colour. The centre of the melon around the seeds is gelatinous. This variety produces very sweet melons (12-15º Brix) with little aroma. Production in La Mancha reaches some 300,000 tonnes of melons annually, nearly one third of the national total. The toad skin melon is planted in May and harvested in August. It is usually eaten as a dessert, although it is popular as an appetiser, accompanied by cured Serrano ham (the contrast is very pleasant).


A Basque dish made of salt cod, or hake, fried very slowly in olive oil, while constantly shaking the pan, which gives rise to a hearty, yellow coloured sauce. In recipes the name is generally written pil-pil. It is an onomatopoeic word that evokes the sound of the bubbling sauce. Like many other dishes, pilpil style cod was born out of necessity. The story goes that in 1836 an importer of salt cod from Bilbao made a syntax error in his order and received the astronomical amount of 1,000,120 cod from his Norwegian supplier, instead of the "100 or 120" he needed. The man thought he was ruined when the city of Bilbao was besieged by troops in the first Carlist War (1833-1839); but the cod fed the people of Bilbao and made the importer a rich man. Given the scarcity of provisions, the fish could not be combined with many other ingredients and hence, one option was to fry it in oil after de-salting. Someone observed that the gelatine in the cod's skin began to spread through the oil and that by shaking the pan, this combination emulsified to make a creamy, yellowish sauce.


A type of Spanish paprika obtained by grinding red peppers which have either been sun-dried in industrial drying rooms or, in certain areas, dried over a wood fire. It may be either sweet or hot. The most famous are the Pimentón from Murcia (PDO) and La Vera (Cáceres), also covered by a PDO.

Pimientos de Gernika

These peppers are typical of the Basque Country. They are narrow, small (from 6 to 9 cm/2.3 to 3.5 in, in length) and green, thin-skinned outside and tender inside. Guernica peppers are grown primarily in Vizcaya and are eaten fresh as an aperitif or accompanying other dishes. Typical preparation consists of sautéing them whole in olive oil and then seasoning with kitchen salt.

Pimientos de Padrón o Herbón

Typical peppers from Herbón district in Galicia. they are very small (a maximum of 4 to 5 cm/1.9 in), bright green and very tasty, although some may be extremely hot. In fact, there is a popular saying: "Pimientos de Padrón, unos pican y otros no" (Padrón Peppers, some are hot and others are not), meaning that when looking at a dish of these peppers, it is quite impossible to know which are which, making the experience either quite pleasant or nearly Dantesque. Some say that the larger peppers tend to be hotter, but this is not reliable indication. These peppers were brought from Mexico in the 16th century by Franciscan monks and today are cultivated in many other parts of Spain. However, it is Padrón -located 22 km / 13.6 mi from Santiago de Compostela- where their virtues are most highly extolled, particularly on the first Saturday in August at the celebration of the Festa do Pemento (Pepper Festival). Padrón peppers, like Guernika peppers, are usually eaten fresh, sautéed whole in olive oil and seasoned with kitchen salt.


Or tapa, this is a small portion of food usually served as an aperitif with a drink. The term pintxo/pincho is used when the food is either already speared on a toothpick or ready to be speared by the dinner (although there are exceptions, see definition of tapa).


A small, cylinder-shaped cake traditionally made in Andalusia. Piononos from Santa Fé, in the outskirts of Granada, are especially renowned. A pionono is composed of two parts: at the bottom, a sponge cake soaked in sweetened liqueur and, on top, a toasted cream.


Green peppers in vinegar, grown and prepared in the Basque Country (also known as Basque peppers). They are small in size, mild and only slightly hot. They are used in making tapas such as Gildas (salted anchovy, pepper and olive). They are also served on a separate plate as a garnish for chickpea or bean stew. The word piperrak in the Basque language is the plural of the generic term for peppers. La Rioja produces a different type of green pepper that is also preserved in vinegar and very similar in appearance; these peppers are somewhat larger and hotter, and are generally served with the same type of dishes.


Typical Christmas sweet cake made with flour, lard, sugar, cinnamon and sesame, then baked in the oven. It is shaped into small cakes and wrapped in paper. Polvorones first originated in the village of Estepa (Seville, Andalusia) where, in the 19th century, a woman named Micaela Ruiz Téllez, known as La Colchona, once lived. Her husband drove a stagecoach and frequently travelled to Seville and Córdoba and Micaela prepared the cakes she invented for him to eat on the journey. He, in turn, allowed others in these cities to taste the cakes and they began to ask him to bring more; little by little, polvorones became popular all over Spain. Today it is one of the most important industries in this village, which, in the pre-Christmas season, is completely enveloped in sweet aromas. Estepa still houses a shop -located in a private home- called La Colchona, which is run by the descendants of the inventor of this popular sweet.


Derived from the Spanish for large pan (pote or olla) potaje refers to any number of stews made in a large pot, sharing little more than legumes (eg. chickpeas, lentils or beans) and slow, long cooking methods. Some examples include potaje de Cuaresma (Lent potaje) - made with chickpeas, salt cod and spinach- or potaje canario, which features beans, sweet potato and pumpkin, among other ingredients.

Pulpo a feira

Typical Galician dish consisting of cooked octopus with potatoes. First, the octopus meat is softened by pounding it repeatedly; then it is put into boiling salted water. It is immersed and taken out three times, leaving it to boil again in the water for 50 minutes. The potatoes are cooked separately in the water used to boil the octopus. When both are properly cooked, the octopus is cut into small portions and served on a wooden plate, garnished with the potatoes, and seasoned with rock salt, sweet paprika and a little olive oil. Despite the seaside nature of this dish, the area where it is best prepared is in the interior of Galicia, particularly in Carballiño (Ourense), where the Fiesta del Pulpo (Octopus Festival) is celebrated on the second Sunday in August each year.

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