'I’ve wanted to make a series in Spain for a long time. I love Spanish food, I’ve been going there since I was a young boy – but until quite recently I don’t think people really took the food seriously. Thanks to a handful of really dedicated Spanish chefs and a growing enthusiasm for its rugged flavours, that has all begun to change. To me the underlying point of journeying to Spain would be to discover the ‘duende’ in the cooking. By that I mean a sense of soul, of authenticity. The word is normally used in flamenco but I think it could be equally applied to the art of Spanish cooking because to my mind, in really good food, there is a communication between the cook and diner that amounts to art.' Rick Stein
Spain is a country that tantalises every sense with its colourful sights, evocative music, vibrant traditions and bold cookery. Spanish cooking has a rich history, with flavours reflecting the broad range of cultural influences that resulted in the subtle changes in taste between regions. Rick samples his way through the specialties and hidden treats of each region, taking in the changing landscape from the mountainous northern regions through the Spanish plains to Mediterranean beaches.
Rick’s journey begins in Galicia where he is enthralled by the abundance of the seafood - the star of the show being the pencebes (goose-necked barnacles ); in Asturias Rick cooks the famous regional dish Fabada Asturiana ; then in the Basque region, Rick enjoys the local speciality, Bacalao a la Vizcaino. In Cantabria we’ll discover the best chorizo in Spain and in Navarra we’ll join Rick for a spot of trout fishing. In Mediterranean-influenced Catalonia we’ll find Rick in a bar on the harbour with a clay pot of Gambas al Ajillo. Then on to savour Paella in Valencia; stuffed, spicy aubergines in Castille-La Mancha; and truffles and quail in Extremadura. In Andalucia the highlight has to be the legendary tapas bars of Seville with the sweet and delicious Iberico ham - the best in the world.