The trend for serving comfort food in Spanish restaurants arose over a decade ago and is gaining more and more supporters as time goes by. The basic idea evolves around eating food that comforts us physically and emotionally, using traditional recipes that evoke sentimental value.
This became popular during the economic crash of 2008 when people needed an escape from the pressures of everyday life and sought positive experiences. Once escape valve was cooking, where dishes reminded us of better times. At the moment, the global health crisis we are living through has brought comfort food back to the fore as way of raising spirits.
What is the essence of comfort food?
It is clear that during tough times, people not only eat to sate their appetites, they also want to feel pleasure whilst eating so as to switch off from the grim reality. Thus, a taste or an aroma of a dish that we enjoyed in the past will automatically evoke an emotion or positive feeling, allowing us to enjoy it once more.
For example, tasting a dish or a dessert that we enjoyed as a child will make us feel happy and those memories bring a sense of security, taking us back to that moment whilst we enjoy the meal. This is what comfort food is able to provide those who opt for this simple way of enjoying traditional gastronomy, as most of the dishes on offer pay homage to simple, abundant family meals that are a pleasure to eat.
This is a very important point to bear in mind because, even though serving comfort food is something of a novelty, it is very different to avant-garde dishes or novel offerings by some top chefs. What we are talking about here is traditional cooking that takes us back to our childhood and lets us relive happy times. It is enjoying a stew made the way your grandma used to cook it, or a traditional potato salad or – in the case of Spanish comfort food – a good tortilla de patata and warm vegetable stock when the weather is cool.
Comfort food in Spain, as in the rest of the world, strongly favours everyday simple, homemade meals, using recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation and that are made with the best ingredients available, carefully selected and cooked slowly, as if on a woodburning stove.
Serving comfort food at HORECA venues
More and more hotels, restaurants and catering companies are opting for offering comfort food on their menus, bringing happy memories and allowing diners to feel at home. In Spain, traditional dishes that are eaten with a spoon like thick soups or light soups are a favourite, especially when they are served with generous portions of fresh bread. Dishes such as slowly cooked stews, pottages, lentils or chickpea casseroles. When it comes to desserts, cold custard, blancmange, rice pudding or apple tart are popular choices, among others. Here is a selection of dishes that Spaniards turn to when seeking comfort food:
Egg and chips
This simple, universal dish is a guaranteed success. Free range eggs are fried with small bits of chorizo, black pudding or serrano ham. These are served on top of a bed of chips. The end result is always spectacular.
This dish is served mainly during the winter months and brings back memories of many family meals. Regional variations in the ingredients used to make the stew exist as you travel the length and breadth of Spain, although several core ingredients never falter: potatoes, bacon, chorizo and vegetables.
Meatballs always remind us of our childhood. It doesn’t matter if they are made from ground beef or ground pork, immersed in sauce they are always a pleasure to eat. In Spain, meatballs are often served with chips.
The vegetables should smell and taste of an allotment. They are cooked on a low heat and served with a poached egg. This dish is a delight for all the senses.
This classic finger food dish is enjoyable to eat and tasty to savour. Free range chickens make the best ingredient as the flavour is even richer that way. Quite simply, unquestionably delicious.
This traditional dessert may be a classic, but it still delights to this day. The trick is to make this dessert with top quality apples in syrup, as using canned fruit eases the preparation process and adds a special touch to it.
Why choose Lazaya?
Lazaya offers top quality products that preserve the essence of tradition in their canning process. Our products are essential ingredients for many comfort food meals. Our canned apples can be used to make tarts, cakes and pies. Our traditional jams help reminisce about family breakfasts, spreading a wide variety of jams on buttered bread or biscuits. We offer many flavours of jam, from strawberry, apricot, blackberry to kiwi, as well as our popular orange marmalade.
Meals made using our candied vegetables are ideal, either as a main ingredient or as a garnish for roast dinners or stews. Our candied carrot is often used to make carrot cake and our candied fruit is found in many fruit pies, ice creams and bonbons. Get in touch today to find out more about the catalogue of ingredients that are available across the five continents.