"Certificate in Higher Education in Spanish"

Spanish Food

Paella - famous saffron rice dish - maybe with seafood, or meat or both.
Tortilla Espanol - egg and potato omelette
Bocadillos - French bread sandwiches with usual fillings such as atun (tuna), tortilla (see above), chorizo (spicy salami-style sausage), jamon (Spanish cured ham, like Parma ham), queso (cheese)
Bacalao - dried salt cod. Good in seafood salad or casseroled in tomato sauce.
Macedonia - fruit salad (often tinned!  Ask if it's fresh - es de fruta fresca?)
Flan - the ubiquitous creme caramel

Albondigas - meatballs
Boquerones - raw anchovies marinated in garlic, vinegar and oil (like miniature 'roll mops'!)
Pescaditos - fried whitebait
Ensaladilla - potato, peas, tuna and hardboiled egg chopped small and mixed in mayonnaise
Croquetas - fried croquettes of ham or fish or vegetable
Muslitos de Mar - crab claws (sometimes made from reconstituted seafood)
Patatas bravas or al i oli - fried potatoes with either tomato spicy sauce or garlic mayonnaise
Jamon - a plate of wafer thin cured ham
Queso - a plate of Manchego usually
Calamares - fried squid rings

Lechona - roast suckling pig 
Coca - Mallorcan 'pizza'.  
Pa amb oli - bread rubbed with oil, salt and garlic
- summer salad
Sopes Mallorquines - winter vegetables 'soup'
Frito Mallorquin - a fry-up of offal
Ensaimadas - fluffy pastries
Sobrasada - a coarse pork meat paste flavoured with paprika
Tumbet - like ratatouille but with potatoes

Pa amb Tomaquet - tomato bread
Arroz Negro
- rice cooked in squid ink
Fideua - a sort of paella but made with broken spaghetti instead of rice
Espinacs a la Catalan - spinach with raisins and pine nuts
Suquet de Peix - fish and potato soup
Sarsuela - seafood stew
Carn a la brasa amb al i oli - chargrilled meat with garlic mayonnaise
Botifarra - blood sausage
Crema Catalan - Vanilla creme brulee

Pavia - battered and deep fried - could be bacalao or prawns
Fritada variada - mixed battered and fried fish and seafood (they like fried fish in Andalucia!)
Gazpacho - the beautiful salad soup (only to be eaten in the summer when the tomatoes are ripe).
Salmorejo - the Cordoban version of Gazpacho, served slightly thicker.
Sweets and cakes - Seville is the place for these


Spain has some wonderful cheese!  Most varieties tend to come in three different stages: mature (curado), semi-mature (semi curado) and 'young' ( 

Manchego  Made from sheep's milk, it's a firm cheese with good flavour.  It comes from the La Mancha region but can be found everywhere.

Mahon Menorca's cheese.  Good flavour; slightly bendy texture in the semi curado astate.  Whole cheese is a rounded square with orange rind.

Cabrales Strong, Asturian, blue cheese.  A little goes a long way!  In a ripe state, it has the texture of cream cheese and is good spread on toast.  

Idiazabal From the Basque country.  A strong, crumbly cheese with smokey flavour.

Tetilla The Galician cheese with the distinctive 'teat' shape.

Iberico  One of Spain's most popular cheeses, made all over the country, from a blend of ewe's, goat's and cow's milk - the 'Cheddar' of Spain!

For in depth information on the cheese of Spain and how they are made, visit



If tea is a no-no in Spain (is it the milk, the water or the method?!), the coffee certainly makes up for it!  No sloshing mugs of watery, grey liquid there!  Coffee comes in three main guises:


Cafe con leche - a large, hot-milky coffee to drink for breakfast - certainly NOT after lunchtime! Cafe cortado - a small, strong coffee with just a shot of hot milk, usually served in a    glass on a saucer.   Perfect anytime - ask for simply 'un cortado'. Cafe solo - a small espresso-style black coffee.  If you just ask for 'un cafe' that is usually what you get. Of course you can get a version of our English/American watery-grey style coffee if you really want: ask for 'un Nescafe'!

Non Alcoholic

  • Granizada - a 'slush' in fresh orange or lemon flavour
  • Horchata - a drink made from tiger nut milk - there is a company now importing this.  Please see their website for interesting information about this unique drink! 
  • Bitter Kas - a bright pink Tizer type
  • Fanta Limon, Fanta Naranja - the usual fizzy lemon and orange



Spirits Gin is the bargain as plenty is made in Spain and well, thanks to the British navy introducing it to Menorca long ago.   Reliable Spanish makes to look out for are:
  • Larios
  • Lirios
  • MG
  • Rives

If you ask for un GinTonic you will probably be given Gordons as it's more expensive; you can specify by asking for 'un GinTonic de Larios'.  The measures are always generous - if you can fit all of the tonic in, you've been hard done by!

Una botella de vino - a bottle of wine
Un vaso de vino - a glass of wine
Vino de la casa - house wine
Tinto de la casa
house red
Red (Tinto): the best known of course is Rioja and plenty is drunkin Spain.  The cheaper Riojas are usually younger and won't have the distinctive oaky flavour we associate with Rioja.   If you want oak, get a Reserva; the Gran Reservas are considered the best, but they are very heavy - sometimes too heavy to accompany a meal.  The predominant grape here is Tempranillo, so if you enjoy full-bodied red wine look for the grape name on other wines.  Other excellent wine regions to look for on the label are:
  • Ribera del Duero
  • Valdepenas
  • Navarra
  • La Mancha
  • Penedes

A refreshing, light drink is Tinto de verano, which is red wine diluted with lemonade and plenty of ice.

White (Blanco): Riojo comes in white as well!  The quality and variety of whites is not so great: the best known white is the Albarino which comes from the cooler north of Spain.  If you're into white wine why not try a Cava, the Spanish champagne at a fraction of the price?  The sweet Moscatel wine makes a fragrant accompaniment to pudding.

Sherry (vino Jerez): Sherry comes from the very south of Spain and is a complicated topic.  It's a fortified wine that comes in different guises depending on how much brandy is used to fortify, how long they are aged, whether they come into contact with the air and whether they're re-fortified.  The stuff we tend to know in England barely represents the Spanish idea.  In Spain sherry is usually dry: the dark brown ones we know as 'cream' sherries' are really just sweetened Amontillados or Olorosos.  An ice cold glass of Fino or Manzanilla sherry is the perfect accompaniment to tapas.

Montilla Muriles: is the Cordoban version of Sherry, and likewise comes in Fino and Oloroso.  The sweet wine is made with Pedro Ximenez grapes and is very smooth.

Sangria: Take one large jug and half fill with red wine.  Add a shot of brandy, a glass of orange juice and top up with lemonade.  Chuck in fruit and ice.



The following are a few of   the many after dinner drinks in Spain (although you may see a few of the stronger ones being drunk very early in the morning!)
  • Pacharan - sweet liquer made from sloes.   Most famous brand - Zoco
  • Cuarenta y tres (43) - sweet and innocuous
  • Conac - slighly sweeter than the French variety - Soberano, Carlos V.
  • Anis - dry aniseed liquer such as Chinchon
  • Hierbas - (Balearics) aniseed and 'herbs' in sweet (dulce), medium (semi-dulce) and dry (seca)
  • Cubitos - tiny, ice cold shots of exotic flavoured liquer such as peach, kiwi, coconut.  Often served 'on the house' if you spent enough money on the meal!

Una cerveza, por favor!

Most people know San Miguel, a fairly bland but refreshing lager beer.  Stronger and more flavoursome beers to look out for are:
  • Estrella
  • Cruz Campo
  • Aguila
  • Mahou

Una cerveza media will get you about half a pint.  Una ca馻 (pronounced canya) for draft beer.



You are most likely to come across cider in the north of Spain, where apples grow better than grapes.  It is not carbonated but gets its fizz from being poured from a great height.  Once it loses this natural fizz, Spaniards tend to discard it and get a fresh glass .. depends how quick you drink, I suppose!

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