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Spanish food and wines are world famous

SPANISH gastronomy is based on an extensive range of prime quality products such as meat, fish, shellfish, vegetables, legumes, virgin olive oil, cheese, wine and fruits, which are a result of geographic diversity and wide variety of climates.

For instance, Ibérico ham, uniquely made from acorn-fed pigs, is one of the best-known Spanish specialties and is produced in Protected Designations of Origin (DOP) or Protected Geographical Indications, such as Dehesa de Extremadura, Jabugo (Huelva province) or Guijuelo (Salamanca province).

Olive oil is another flagship product with almost 30 DOPs, most of them located in southern Andalusia province. Spain is the world's largest olive producer with over 260 olive tree varieties and the largest cultivated area in the world.

The Mediterranean diet, considered a Unesco Intangible Cultural Heritage since 2010, is one of the natural features of Spanish cuisine. Delicious dishes feature a combination of elements that brings health benefits. A typical Mediterranean diet includes the use of olive oil, fruit, vegetables, beans, cereal, fish, fresh and dairy products such as yogurt or cheese.

Ranging from paella from Valencia, to cocido (stew) from Madrid, to gazpacho from Andalusia, suckling pig, and Spanish omelette, every region in Spain serves a handful of traditional dishes.

One of the most well-known examples is tapas - bite-sized treats which have taken root all over the world and are now considered a universal cultural phenomenon. Spanish leading restaurants seek to conquer the palates of the five continents with 26 new Michelin stars awarded to Spanish restaurants and leading chefs worldwide, such as Ferran Adrià, Juan Mari Arzak, José Andrés, Pedro Subijana, Martín Berasategui, Roca brothers, and David Muñoz. In Singapore alone, there are 24 Spanish restaurants.

Spain also has numerous wine producing regions with Designation of Origin and the largest cultivated area in the world - more than a million vineyards and a wide variety of climates and grapes. Numerous vine-growing areas have claimed the international spotlight, including well-known La Rioja and Ribera del Duero. But there are also other very interesting Designations of Origin widening the Spanish wine range, such as Cariñena (Aragón province), Priorat (Cataluña province) and Rias Baixas (Galicia province) and Rueda (Castilla-León province) for white wines, to name just a few.

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