Atypical of Mediterranean-style fare, Spain's cuisine is considered a healthy choice for well-being. The country's agricultural areas lie within a microclimate region that offers fresh fruits and vegetables for year-round availability. Seafood is a staple for the inhabitants in coastal areas, whereas inland, Spaniards incorporate meats to their diets.
Contrary to the typical American diet, breakfast (desayuno) is not a large meal and consists of a pastry or toast with coffee.
Beginning at 2 p.m., the largest meal of the day is served as a three-course lunch (comida) with an appetizer such as a salad, main course of fish, poultry or meat with vegetables and dessert.
Composed of tapas, which is considered dinner or supper (cena) at 10 p.m., this is a light snack of an assortment of appetizer-size items such as garlic mushrooms, sausages, salami, sardines, shrimp, olives and cheese.
Keep cool by indulging with gazpacho (a cold vegetable-based soup), horchata (iced milky drink made from crushed tiger nuts) and a seaside favourite, paella (saffron rice baked with shellfish, vegetables, pork and chicken) .
Feasts in winter rely on baked fish, roasted meats and stews filled with meat, potatoes and vegetables, but one particular seafood stew, zarzuela de Mariscos, (similar to the French bouillabaisse) tends to be the top contender as the Spanish family's favourite.
Sweets lovers will enjoy the range of desserts that include flan (custard), Valor chocolates, turron (almond and honey candies), marzipan and a variety of fresh fruits, such as pomegranates (Granada), Valencia oranges, peaches and bananas.
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