Spending time in another country can be rewarding for so many reasons. Experiencing new or different cultures, viewing art and architecture contrary to your norm, and getting to try new dishes, either bought or made, washed down with local beverages can be some of the best experiences a foreign trip provides. Living in a different country, takes some of these opportunities to a whole new level. Taking a local cooking class if possible is a wonderful idea, for a few reasons: 1) you can learn something new, 2) it's a great way to try something you might not have before and 3) you potentially have the knowledge to recreate said dish again. In a time in the world (such as Covid 19 era), while these types of classes aren't available, it does not mean the opportunities are lost. Talk to neighbors, ask questions, go to the local supermarket and see what the options are.
Having met some amazing locals has really opened my sphere of local Spanish food. Like any other country, each region has it's own specialities, and they are totally worth relishing. For example, in Valencia, it is the birthplace of paella. This is a dish that is rice (Bomba rice is traditional) based, with delectable spices, and has everything from different meats, (ie: chorizo, chicken, rabbit) to seafood (think mussels, clams, prawns) and often some vegetables (generally different beans like green beans, lima beans, etc.). If you have not had an opportunity to try this, it should be on your bucket list for foods, because it is THE BOMB!
For the pork lover, Spain is a jackpot. There are so many different cuts and means of serving this. It is served cured, as cutlets, stewed, fried, on sandwiches, in soups, basically, any way you can imagine it...and it is all good.
Not such a pork person, have no fear, the options are endless. More of seafood lover, you're in luck. Spain has some of the best seafood in the world. It borders two oceans, the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, and has a deep love and bond with fishing and eating those fresh catches. You have everything from bacalao (cod), salmon and sardines to shellfish like mussels, clams, oysters, crabs and prawns. It too is served in so many ways...with pastas or a la carte, in soups or paellas, or as tapas or pinchos. Take your pick, and be prepared for amazing flavor.
While it may seem like eating some sort of meat is the only choice, it isn't. The fruit and vegetable game in Spain is strong. Hands down, they have some of the best tomatoes I've ever seen or tasted. The olives, so good. Peppers, there are a plethora to choose from (though the US/Mexico popular jalapeño doesn't have too much glory here), onions and oranges (Valencia making a mark on the map again), cherries (I had no idea these were so big here), asparagus, and the a local specialty is white asparagus, strawberries...the list goes on. It is all so good, so fresh, and so affordable. It is easier to eat like a king or queen in Spain than one might have thought.
When all else fails, wine and beer are considered food in Spain, and they serve some of the best. There are choices from fabulous reds (tintos) or refreshing whites (blancos) and some pretty outstanding rosés (rosas) here in a land that makes some of the best wine in the world. You can't go in a bar or restaurant that doesn't serve beer or wine here. Hard alcohol (liquors like vodka, gin, tequila) are not quite as popular in the daily life. The wines here, they are totally worth trying. Cheers, to great food and fabulous drinks that make Spain a must in your destination choices!