What meals do Spanish families eat

At table in Spain: More than just paella

Published on July 26, 2018

When you think of Spain, you might first think of holidays, bullfights, Mallorca and Ibiza, the Camino de Santiago and the siestabefore thinking about the food culture in Spain. After all, Spain is the most popular holiday destination for Germans.

But during your stay abroad, e.g. during a student exchange in Spain, you will get to know Spanish life up close. So also the eating habits, which are atypical from a German perspective. We have summarized the most important things for you!

1. Food culture in Spain: when do you eat?

The clocks tick differently in Spain. Of course only in a figurative sense, after all Spain and Germany are in the same time zone. However, the Spanish meals take place later than is usual in Germany.

This is how breakfast is made (desayuno) not eaten before 9 a.m., lunch (comida) starts around 2:30 p.m. and dinner (cena) rarely takes place before 9:00 p.m. The length and amount of meals also differ noticeably.

2. In the morning like an emperor, in the evening like a beggar

At least that's what they say in Germany. In Spain, however, it is the other way around. Breakfast in Spain consists of no more than a cup of coffee (alternatively cocoa) and a small piece of pastry, such as biscuits or Churros. At lunchtime there are often three courses and the meal lasts up to two hours. Including the Spanish siesta, understood. The main meal of the day follows in the evening. Eating together with the family is important because the parents are rarely at home due to the longer lunch break. So dinner is much more than just a meal, it's family time too. Several courses are eaten and the whole meal takes several hours.

At lunchtime there are often three courses and the meal lasts up to two hours. Including the Spanish siestaunderstood. The main meal of the day follows in the evening. Eating together with the family is important because the parents are rarely at home due to the longer lunch break. So dinner is much more than just a meal, it's family time too. Several courses are eaten and the whole meal takes several hours. People eat for a particularly long time at the festivals in Spain.

3. Tapas, tapas, tapas

Tapas are possibly Spain's most famous export. The small portions and the large selection make tapas a typical Spanish experience. Originally they were served with the main course, but today they can also replace a meal in larger quantities. The Spaniard likes to move from bar to bar instead of staying in one place.

4. Is it all just paella?

Like Germany, Spain is divided into different federal states (comunidades autónomas) divided. These “comunidades” have their own culinary specialties, just as one cannot compare Bavarian pretzels with fish rolls from the North Sea.

So is Paella ultimately not “typically Spanish”, but Valencian. The comunidad Valenciana is located on the east coast of the country and is internationally known not only for the paella but also for the tomatina in Buñol.

5. Andalusia - the south of Spain

For your student exchange in Spain you can also choose the region of Andalusia. The comunidad is the most diverse of the 17 autonomous communities and impresses with its Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts, mountains and deserts. The Andalusian cuisine is just as varied.

In the more rural regions, vegetables such as Chickpeas and various Beans the courts. On the coasts, fishing plays an economic role and the meals are accordingly rich in fish. Internationally known dishes from Andalusia are, for example, the air-dried ham Jamón Ibérico and the cold vegetable soup Gazpacho soup. But also those that are now valued worldwide Churros are typical here.

6. Deberías degustar - you should try that

Humans are creatures of habit. Nevertheless, you are in Spain to get to know the culture, the country and the people. The culinary variety is of course also part of this. We have therefore selected a few dishes that may not be so well known internationally, but which you should try anyway.

On the one hand there is the Spanish one tortillawhich, by the way, should not be confused with the Mexican tortilla. The Tortilla De Patatas namely, does not consist of corn or wheat flour, but of potatoes and egg. Furthermore, the Crema catalana not to be missed as a sweet dessert. It is similar to the French one Creme brulee.

Lastly, you should albóndigas do not miss. These are simple meatballs, but they are prepared in a variety of ways and served with a wide variety of sauces.

7. Food culture Spain: the world is waiting for you!

Schoolchildren from Germany are often unfamiliar with Spanish eating habits at first. Nevertheless, you will quickly feel at home in your Spanish family with the long dinners together. You will also get to know the many regionally different Spanish dishes and maybe you will soon discover your new favorite food!

What are you waiting for? Discover the country and its people for yourself instead of just reading about them. Your student exchange in Spain starts here!