One of the things that make Spain so unique is its sense of regional identity. It is a relatively small country filled with microcosms that have influenced the people, their customs and most definitely marked their eating habits from region to region and in some cases town to town. The south known for its abundance of refreshing salads, cold soups and frying techniques that they have elevated to an art.
The Mediterranean coasts for their amazing rice dishes which include paella but absolutely not limited to that. The pairing of meat and seafood, Mar y Montana is especially strong in the Catalonian regions. The heart of Spain, Castilla-La Mancha and Castilla-Leon where roasted suckling pig, goat or lamb brings a twinkle to everyone’s eye.
Extreme conditions from region to region limited access from the outside forcing them to become self- sufficient using only local products. The coastal regions and the provinces that were along pilgrimage routes had greater access to new products, techniques and even beliefs. The pasta dish, Fideua, typical in Catalonian cuisine, the French influences both in product and in style are easily found both in the Basque country and northern Catalonia. Even the English left their mark when they briefly held the island of Menorca seen today in the gin distillery, Xoriquer, which dates back to the 18th century.
The Spanish Civil was stressed these differences and peculiarities even further. A war between fascist and communists with the clergy in the middle starved the entire country. It became a story of “haves”and “have nots”. Dialects were banned bringing regional pride to a boiling point. One of the few ways to express individual identity was through food. Throughout this period and for decades afterwards Spain was basically a closed country to foreign influences.
If you want to taste Chef Cole’s dishes, head to the Fat Goose located at 125 Wythe Ave at North 8 St. in Williamsburg.
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