As my experience abroad in Spain comes to a close, I've been reflecting on the amazing times I've had, the great friends I've met, and of course, the delicious food I ate. Now scratch everything you know about Spanish food. Sure, you can get decent paella in Castilla y Leon, but not many people know where to get the best. Here are a few tips on where to find the best places to get your Spanish food fix, depending on the plate you desire.

1. Paella

chicken, curry, paella, meat, vegetable, rice
Summer Tuman

When you think of Spanish food, you probably think of paella first, like this shrimp paella. The most famous of Spanish foods is the one with the most flavor. You can get paella almost anywhere across the country, but the best paella is in Valencia. This is because of La Albufera, a body of water in the province of Valencia that gives the land the perfect texture for growing rice. Also, because of its location next to the Mediterranean, the fresh Valencian seafood makes for a great dish of seafood paella.

2. Jamón Iberico (Iberian Ham)

Emily Chaisson

In Spain there are many different types of jamon: jamon serrano, jamon curado, jamon reserva and of course, the most famous, jamon iberico. While you might think you're getting the best jamon iberico in the Spanish capital of Madrid, you'd be mistaken. The best jamon iberico comes from the province of Salamanca (represent!) in Castilla y Leon; more specifically the town of Guijuelo. The pigs in Guijuelo are called "Pata Negra", basically black-footed. What makes this type of jamon so rich is the fact that the pigs are given acorns as a part of their diet. Yes, acorns. And Guijuelo has a ton of them.

3. Gazpacho

Summer Tuman

Translated to English as "cold tomato soup," gazpacho is definitely a fan-favorite Spanish dish. But what you didn't know is that the best gazpacho comes from the region of Andalucia, and that it is usually only eaten in the summertime. That's because it gets so hot in Andalucia, and the locals need something to cool themselves down. Queue the gazpacho. Try making your own using this recipe.

4. Cava (Spanish Champagne)

coffee, beer, tea
Summer Tuman

Cava is a champagne that is from the Catalunya region. It's a very popular drink to have in Barcelona and is super cheap (just like every other type of wine in Spain). 

5. Sidra (Hard Cider)

wine, beer
Emily Chaisson

La Sidra, or Spanish hard cider, is commonly enjoyed during Navidades (Christmas season). But for the rest of the year it is a typical drink in the province of Asturias in the north of Spain. Make sure you don't miss the show!

6. Fabada

File:Fabada en cazuela de barro.jpg

Image from WikiCommons

Another typical dish of Asturias is Fabada. Known for its density, this stew is filled with beans, bacon, chorizo, ham, and sausage. It's commonly eaten during the winter months to help keep people warm. Talk about filling.

Below are some typical Spanish foods you can get virtually anywhere. These are important delicacies that everyone must try, no matter which Spanish city or province you find yourself in.

1. Croquetas

cookie, meat, bread, sweet
Emily Chaisson

2. Tapas

pepperoni, ham, beef, bacon, pork, meat, salami, sausage
Emily Chaisson

3. Churros con chocolate

tea, coffee
Emily Chaisson

4. Bocadillos

pork, bacon, sandwich
Emily Chaisson

5. Tortilla de Patata

Summer Tuman

¡Buen provecho!