Jan 08 2019

Spain in Yellow: Warm and Homey Flavors of Spanish Gastronomy

Fun, kindness, optimism, stability... these are just four emotional states that can be associated with the color yellow. After touring Spanish gastronomy in red and orange, our next stop on this colorful adventure has to do with savoring the color yellow in Spain. Will you join us?

Looking at the foods, wines and gastronomic culture of Spain from the perspective of color is a truly fascinating exercise. The same thing always happens. You start with a certain amount of skepticism, convinced that it will be hard to find references for just one color, but then the surprises start to pour in. Wonderfully suggestive examples begin emerging, one after another. We already know what red and orange taste like in Spain. Now it’s yellow’s turn!

Our first stop:

Two fruits that are stars of the Spanish horticultural tradition in fall and winter. The first of these is membrillo (quince), which is still cultivated in Andalusia and forms the basis for one of the sweets most closely linked to this country’s culinary traditions: dulce de membrillo (quince paste). The second is a product of which Spain is the European leader in both production and export, lemon. Its aroma immediately conjures the essence of the Mediterranean, sun, light and freshness.

Second stop:

The yellow that is found in innumerable desserts; sweet morsels that are representative of the Spanish tradition of using eggs in their preparation. The spongy sobaos of Cantabria (delicious cakes made from butter, eggs and flour), the always delectable crema catalana (an irresistible custard made from egg yolks, milk, sugar and cornstarch), and the legendary marzipan from Toledo (sugar, almonds and milk), are just three examples.

Third stop:

The great potential of Spanish white wines is undisputable, from the most well-known varieties like Verdejo or Albariño, to emerging wines like those made from Garnacha Blanca or Hondarribi Zuri grapes. Their hues vary depending on the variety used, the wine making process, aging times, etc. Special attention should be given to the fascinating yellow of the Sherry wines Fino de Jerez and Manzanilla de Sanlúcar de Barrameda, and of course to Qualified Single-Estate Cavas...

Fourth stop:

The universe of Spanish extra virgin olive oil. In recent years, producers have been striving to collect their olives a bit sooner, using early harvests as a means to preserve the freshness of the varieties. The results have been olive oils that mingle the traditional deep yellows of olive oil with slightly greener hues.

Fifth stop:

Spain in yellow also tastes like cheese. This means cow’s milk cheeses like the Arzúa Ulloa from Galicia, and that of Mahón-Menorca, as well as sheep’s milk cheeses like Zamorano and Manchego. And if we then accompany these cheeses with a good artisanal bread (in recent years, Spain is enjoying the trend of recovering rustic and traditional styles of bread making, yielding a good crumb and even better crust), it is an automatic 10!

The journey ends here:

Yellow in nature. Touring Spanish wine country during the second half of November reveals the yellow explosion of the grape leaves on white grape vines. In cities, we get an inkling of what this must look like thanks to the yellow leaves on the trees in the Retiro Park in Madrid, the Campo de San Francisco in Oviedo, Campo Grande in Valladolid, and Doña Casilda park in Bilbao.

After savoring red, orange and yellow, our tour will soon continue with Spain in purple...

Text: Rodrigo García / @ICEX

Translation: Adrienne Smith / @ICEX

Photos: @ICEX