Our trip to Madrid was fabulous. It is an historical, yet modern, city with world-class museums and architecture. The Christmas lights sparkled all over the city, the people were friendly and welcoming, and the food was excellent.
Let me share with you some of those Spanish foods that we enjoyed (and that have made my clothing just a little tighter fitting than before).
(All of the photos are taken from the internet. I was too busy enjoying the food to be photographing it. LOL)
Jamon: There is a chain of stores called the museum (museo) of ham (jamon) - and no one could ever miss this ever-present food. It is found on the breakfast buffet, and in the tapas menus. You can see it served all throughout the day. (By the way, there is an accent on the o. I don't know how to make that happen on my keyboard.)
Cafe con leche: (Accent is on the e in cafe.) One of my all-time favorites is this coffee drink that is mostly warm steamed milk. I get it decaffeinated. And I add sugar. Yummy. You can get it for breakfast, and with any meal during the day. Or, you can have it at the sidewalk cafe, without any food - just sipping the cafe con leche all by itself while you watch people walking by.
Tapas: These are the small, delicious foods, that put together, make a feast for lunch or dinner, or anytime during the day. They are made of different fish dishes, egg dishes, meat dishes, and vegetables -- and all of them healthful. I could eat tapas all day, every day.
Tortilla Espanola: (There should be a little squiggly mark over the n in Espanola.) One of my favorite tapas dish is this egg, potato, and onion dish that is cooked as a large round circle in the frying pan, and cut into pieces like a pie. Lucky for me, my Spain-loving son makes this dish every once in a while at home.
Croquettes: Another food commonly found among the tapas. They can be filled with potato, ham, fish, flour, etc.
Paella: A delicious meal we all had together one day that did not consist of tapas was paella. There were at least 6 different flavors and types on the menu. Some contained fish, some contained chicken, and others contained sausage or rabbit. Valencia is the area of Spain where paella is most well known. The different paellas we had in Madrid, though, were all scrumptious. The photos shows just one kind. (We have had fun making a paella at home - . it was a group project.)
And let me not forget the delectable sweets .....
Flan: My all-time favorite -- flan is a custard covered with a tasty caramel sauce. I have never made it myself, but I always order it when we have Spanish food out at a restaurant.
Yum, yum, yum!
Churros: Who could ever resist a stick of fried dough dunked into hot chocolate? We ate them at one fast food spot, where they served plates stacked high with the pastries, accompanied by large cups filled with a rich, luscious hot chocolate syrup for dunking. OMG!!
Right now, I am feeling a little guilty for telling you all about these mouthwatering foods -- especially since Spark People is a place where we are all working on keeping our weight under control.
But, let me say, that most of this food was very natural and healthful. It could all be enjoyed without overdoing it - without overeating. By itself, this food is not fattening. Portion control is the key.
The only issue I have with food and Spain is that they eat dinner soooo late -- usually from 8 to 10pm. (Of course, they also have a siesta in the middle of the afternoon, usually from 4 to 7.)
The result for me is that it seemed like we were eating all the time -- and we were!
I recently read a study about the benefits of 'time-restricted eating' whereby we eat all our food within a 6-10 hour period during the day. Supposedly, it helps with weight loss.
That is the usual timing for my eating. Generally, I have breakfast between 8 and 9am, and I don't eat anything at all after 6pm. It works well for me.
One more praise for Madrid: it is a WONDERFUL WALKING city. The app on my phone registered that during the four days we were there, I walked at least five miles each day. One day, I walked ten miles. And what a wonderful place it was to walk around, too.
The Plazas were filled with bright lights as Christmas decorations, Christmas markets, and costumed characters to entertain children. The streets everywhere were filled with lights. There were large parks - with playgrounds - in the middle of the city. Our hotel was right in the middle of the center city, and we all took advantage of our close proximity to the sights by walking everywhere.
It was great fun!