Spain offers extraordinary regional diversity from north to south and from east to west
From the culinary point of view, Spain has always been a mixed country. Why? Very different culinary traditions have been built throughout the country, whereby today’s Spanish cuisine is the happy result.
However, a curious thing is that the recipe books have always been adapted to the product in our country and therefore each region, and even each county, presents a differentiated offer that has nothing to do with that of its neighbours: the Galician kitchens have very little in common with the Andalusian kitchens, or Catalan cuisine has nothing to do with the food from Castile-Leon, not to mention the uniqueness of the traditional Canarian or Balearic cuisine.
Extending this analysis by regional community, only some similarities can be observed between the southern regions (although Andalusia is an extremely diverse culinary region), between the two Castiles or between those regions located in the Mediterranean arc, but all of them offer great wealth and variety. Therefore, Spanish cuisine is not one but many types of cuisine. The tendency has even been highlighted in order to protect individuality, hallmark of the State of the Regions. In other words, administrative decentralization has been great news for kitchens that have always been loyal to their essences.
Spain has never had an undisputed culinary capital as France has. Quite the contrary, it is the small centres of population that are sometimes more evident than the large cities like Madrid, whose local cuisine is summed up in four or five recipes. Nowadays, the great chefs tend to flee from the big cities. They want to have the ingredients close by and the restaurateur, who after all is a researcher of aromas, flavours, scents and colours, seeks relaxation.
Although the northern cuisine has added value in terms of product variety and quality, it is important to stand up for the southern kitchens, which offer a style in which the Arab elements take on a major role. In any case, the quality of our regional cuisine goes to show that Spanish gastronomy finds its strength and reason for existing in its diversity rather than in unity, in difference rather than coincidence.
If we are what we eat and each country ends up becoming a part of the dishes and products that make up its diet, the Spanish should be an extremely rich population. Only the abundance of ingredients that are excellent by definition is above the vast and brilliant tradition and regional variety.