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Spain and Portugal: Compare and Contrast

Courtesy of http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/46/TapasenBarcelona.JPG

Spain and Portugal may be close neighbors but do they share the same delicacies? I decided to do a little research to see if these countries shared more than just a border. Although Portugal and Spain are so close to each other, their culture of food can vary immensely. Spanish Cuisine or Iberian cooking is unpretentious, savory, and simple. The Spanish meals are flavorful and at home tend to not be too fancy and stick to the traditional three courses. La Comida is a large mid day meal that contains several courses and occurs over a 2 hour time period. One of the most popular dishes that has emerged from Spain is Gazpacho which is a cold soup made with vegetables, bread, vinegar, olive oil, and water. This delectable dish has made it all around the world and is a popular appetizer item on many menus. On the Portuguese side of things, the cuisine is deep with flavor and enhanced with a variety of spices including chili peppers, black peppers, cinnamon, vanilla, and saffron. Olive oil is one of the main bases for cooking and flavoring and is almost present in every meal. The national dish in Portugal is Bacalhau that is a dried, salted codfish and it has been said that there is 365 different ways to prepare it. Although each may have their own culture, Spain and Portugal choose to share some very similar techniques in their cuisines. Each holds a very heavy focus on seafood and shellfish dishes with profound flavors and marinades. They also choose to use a lot of cured meats, sausages, rice, and potatoes in their daily meals. The most similar item that continues to remain on both countries menu is their creation of Chorizo (Spain) or Chourico (Portugal).

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