Food and Drink in Madrid
Madrid is a melting pot for the cuisines from all over the peninsula. Gourmets sometimes argue whether Madrid cuisine exists or not, but the truth is that the capital of Spain has enriched its gastronomy with the contributions of the Andalusians, Galicians, Asturians and other immigrants who have settled here.
A good number of dishes and recipes can be named which can be considered typical of Madrid. Among them, the Cocido Madrileño must be mentioned; a stew combining chickpeas with vegetables (cabbage, celery, carrots, turnips and potatoes) and chicken, beef and pork and which is turned into a huge succulent meal. Callos or tripe is another of the typical dishes identified with local cuisine and may be found in some of the well-known restaurants in Madrid. We must not neglect the humble and savoury Sopa de Ajo (garlic soup), Caracoles (snails), Tortilla de patatas (potato omelette), the famous recipe of Besugo al horno (baked bream), so typical in the capital in spite of its distance from the ocean, or dishes in which bacalao (cod) is the main ingredient.
Madrid's sweet tradition can be appreciated through its dessert; from torrijas (a type of French toast), typical in the springtime and likened to Holy Week, to the barquillos (rolled wafers), bartolillos con crema (a type of small pie with custard) the buñuelos (a type of fritter filled with custard whipped cream, etc.) in November, the mazapán (marzipan) and turrón (soft and hard nougat) at Christmas and the rosquillas de anís (anise-flavored doughnuts) during the festival of San Isidro.
In Madrid, as well as in the rest of Spain, the tapa (savoury titbits of a variety of dishes served as appetisers) is an old gastronomic tradition. You can find numerous establishments specialised in serving these tapas. "Ir de tapeo" (going out for tapas) is a tradition; hundreds of bars scattered throughout the streets of Madrid serve a tapa accompanied by a small glass of wine or beer.