Spain is known as the birthplace of some food trends like molecular cuisine, thanks in no small part to the role played in this movement by El Bulli’s Ferran Adrià, famed for saying that Chefs should “risk doing something that, 99% of the time, would result in failure.” It is perhaps a sign of the times that Adriá should have decided to close down El Bulli in Spain’s Basque country to concentrate on investigation and education.
These days, Spain is somehow harking back to tradition. Celebrating the beauty and simplicity of products that have not been excessively manipulated, converted, or reconfigured. These days, top chefs like Martín Berasategui, the Roca Brothers (of Celler de Can Roca fame) and Carlos Arguiñano are all hailing the beauty of the bounties they can find in the local areas in which they live.
Let’s explore 3 food trends to try in Spain before the year ends:
Celebrating the Local
In August 2019, Spain’s version of St Tropez – Marbella (in the southern province of Andalusia) celebrated a ‘jornada gastronómica’ (or food event) centred around one humble ingredient: ‘huevo de toro’. This tomato variety is a ‘treasure’ in haute cuisine. Thanks to its fleshy texture and sweet yet slightly acidic flavour. You can find ‘huevo de toro’ in the region of Guadalhorce in Málaga, Southern Spain. But you may also want to travel further north and try out other ‘zero kilometer’ delicacies. Such as chorizo in Bilbao, suckling pig in Segovia, or seaweed delights in Cádiz.
Sous Vide Perfection
The celebration of quality products in their natural state means that there are being a few changes. Top restaurants from Madrid to Granada are serving traditional meat and fish dishes alongside simple sides. These include sautéed seasonal vegetables, potato purée, and salad. The key to making the five-star price worth it, lies in the technique.
At the five-star Amàre Hotel in Marbella, for instance, the Head Chef prefers tried-and-tested sous vide and slow cooking methods as opposed to molecular or deconstructivist approaches. Sous vide is a fantastic way to ensure that beef and chicken retains all its moisture. Although, in many Spanish restaurants, chefs are using this technique to create fail-proof sauces and newfound desserts. The popularity of the sous vide technique in Spain can be traced back to scientist and pioneer of sous-vide (vacuum cooking), Bruno Goussault. He is a visionary who has trained many Michelin star chefs in Europe on the ins and outs of this technique, which is based on strict temperature control.
Cheese and Tea Tastings
You’ve heard of cheese and win. But, if something with a little more kick appeals, why not opt for tea instead? In Spain, Quesería Cultivo and Tetera Azul have started this trend, owing to one simple fact: cheese and tea have many things in common! Both are traditional foods, both have an infinite number of varieties, and both often appear in gastronomic tasting experiences. To try this trend, check out Click: a collection of 10 different infusions, each of which suggests a specific tea variety to be enjoyed alongside it. The blends are made with a plethora of fragrant ingredients, including Indian Chai, rosemary, aniseed, moringa, mango, and matcha.
Spain has always been envisioned as one of Europe’s most avante-garde countries in a culinary sense. However, these days, many top restaurants are embracing new food trends such as zero kilometer produce married to traditional techniques. It’s time for a change, say many top chefs. But in the world of gastronomy, everything old is new again. And what is now in vogue could soon look and taste very different in just a few years.