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Spanish cuisine... is very rich in flavours and very varied, only the best ingredients are used and they are generally very fresh. Old traditions are still very much alive and old styles of cooking are still used. The north of the country is one of the most richest culinary areas. The fish and seafood is among the worlds finest. It is very simply prepared and therefore it tastes very fresh.

The Pyrenees iis a zone that specializes in marinade sauces known as "chilindrones". Aragon offers an infinite number of dishes with these tasty sauces as well as the fine ham made in Teruel.

Valencia and the surrounding region specialise in rice dishes. Besides their famous "paella", the Valencians are able to prepare exquisite rice dishes with any type of ingredients this includes meat, chicken, seafood, vegetables or fish.

The Balearic Isles have created certain celebrated specialties that have been exported around the world. Among them are mayonnaise, originally created in the city of Mahon, in Menorca.

The Canary Islands offer a very imaginative cuisine that has had to overcome the limitations of the islands produce. Many dishes include fish and a famous hot sauce known as "mojo picón". There are also magnificent tropical fruits from the island such as bananas, avocados and papayas.

How to make a delicious gazpacho

You will need
2 slices day old bread, crusts removed
4 large ripe tomatoes peeled and seeded
2 small green peppers seeded and chopped
1 small cucumber chopped
1 small onion chopped
garlic
sherry vinegar
extra virgin olive oil

Soak the bread in a little water to cover. In a blender blitz the tomatoes, peppers, onion, garlic and cucumber to a purée (process in small batches and add a little water if necessary) and pour into a large bowl. Squeeze some of the excess water from the bread and place it in the blender along with 5 tablespoons of vinegar and about the same of oil and blend using as much water as needed to make a smooth paste. Add this to the tomato mixture and mix well to incorpoate all the ingredients. Keep adding more water (or tomato juice) until the consistancy of the soup is to your liking. Taste and season with a little salt, vinegar or lemon juice as required. Chill well and serve garnished with a swirl of olive oil, some finely chopped tomato, pepper, cucumber and onion, and a few croutons.

In the summer months Gazpacho is wonderful served well chilled, but it can also be served hot for a winter warmer. Try adding a little chilli or paprika, maybe some finely diced ham or a little seafood too.