Thursday, September 24, 2009

Spanish Food - Organic too!

I maintain that Spain has some of the best food ever. The most delicious olive oils I have had, surveying French, Italian and Spanish (I was in Greece too long ago to remember the Greek ones) are from Spain. I will add one asterisk to this, as there is a basil-infused olive oil from France which is like nothing I have ever experienced - a to-die-for oil, made by a secret process that insures the freshest basil flavor from Les Oleiades. For more information, go to This is for sure a Green Earth Guide Favorite! Now I have digressed.

Spanish olive oil is divine and every one tastes different. I list a number of organic olive oils in the Green Earth Guide: Traveling Naturally in Spain and most of these are readily available at Spanish health food stores, and some even at supermarkets.

Food in general is very inexpensive and what I find all over Spain is that purchasing organic, or ecologica, foods is certainly cheaper than in the United States, but if you buy non-organic food the prices are almost laughably lower. Today I went to my favorite organic stand at the Mercado Central in Valencia, a majestic indoor market open Mondays to Saturdays. There my organic garlic (ajo in Spanish) bulb cost a total of .14¢, and my two large, organic, zucchinis (calabacin in Spanish) cost 1.75 euros. If these had been non-organic, conventionally raised they would have cost me under 1 euro total for everything. See what I mean?

Red peppers I won’t even buy in the United States as they almost always are coming from thousands of miles away in Central or South America and are extremely expensive. Here they are the most common and cheap food, so I eat them daily.

The fruit is luscious. Organic pears, apples, kiwis, plums – ripe and fresh are also remarkably inexpensive. I think my whole overflowing fruit bowl cost in the 5 euro range.

Another interesting dietary aspect that people find surprising about Spain is that you can find fabulous gluten-free options here. In fact I would say that with the exception of some extraordinary, gluten-free bread I had in Portland, Oregon (see post, Spain’s gluten-free selections are far superior to what we can get in the States, at least in New England (Portland and California are exceptions). Spain offers delicious bread made without eggs and milk (which I also can’t eat), pastries, pasta, cereals, and beer. These products are not only readily available in every heath food store and herbolario, but also in chain supermarkets, making them very accessible.

Organic meats are a little harder to find, but these too can be found in the larger health food stores and sometimes at El Cort Ingles, the largest chain store in Spain, and those cost about the same as organic meat in the states. We found a butcher who specializes in organic and free-range meats. We bought two chicken legs that were so fresh they had absolutely zero odor. It was incredible.

Spain also produces plenty of its own rice. So you can picture how between the local vegetables and fruits, rice, olives and olive oil, not to mention the sheep (oveja) and goat (cabra) cheeses, and did I mention the cheap! wine, you have fabulous, local and organic feasting for very economical prices.


organic foods said...

I agree! Spain and Greece have extremely healthy cuisines. For them organic foods aren't just an option. It's the only thing they eat.

chinaorganicfood said...

Another benefit to eating organic is that organically-grown produce usually has better flavor than produce grown conventionally

Acid Reflux Relief said...

Good food is a real moral booster but we must be careful what we eat because there is the risk of a stomach disease .