Culinaria Spain: A Celebration of Food and Tradition, edited by Marion Trutter, highlights the varied regional cuisine of Spain in 380 pages and over 1,000 photos. In addition to the traditional recipes, this book provides a closer look into the culture and history that has helped to shape the fascinating country. Following the review, I will be sharing a recipe for Sorbete de la Rioja (Rioja Wine Sorbet). The most recent edition of Culinaria Spain was released on August 15, 2015.
Disclosure and Disclaimer: I received this book from H. F. Ullmann Publishing in exchange for my honest review. All opinions and statements are my own. This post contains Amazon affiliate links. If you purchase something through the link, I may receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.
This recipe uses raw eggs. Consuming raw eggs may increase your risk of foodborne illness, especially with certain medical conditions. Be safe about the source of your eggs or used pasteurized. This recipe also uses wine and is intended only for those over the age of 21 (in the United States). Please drink/eat responsibly.
Marion Trutter is a freelance journalist, author, and editor. She studied communication, Spanish literature, and American Studies in Munich, Germany.
Chapters are divided based on region: Cataluña (Catalonia), Islas Baleares (Balearic Islands), Aragón, Navarra, La Rioja, País Vasco (Basque Country), Cantabria, Asturias, Galicia, Castilla y León (Castile-León), Madrid, Castilla-La Mancha, Extremadura, Valencia, Murcia, Andalucía (Andalusia), and Islas Canarias (Canary Islands).
Each chapter includes an introduction to the region with the area highlighted on a map. There are cultural insights scattered throughout the pages, such as hunting for truffles and mushroom varieties, a closer look at the wine producing regions, popular Spanish tapas, a guide to snails, sweet treats, the Spanish cheese industry, the harvesting of saffron, sausage specialties, salad variations, olive cultivation, the impact left on the country from Arab rule, and a guide to both local and exotic fruits.
The photography is provided Günter Beer. There are over 1,000 beautiful photos in a variety of sizes of Spanish scenery, food, and people. Many of the recipes include a photo of the finished dish. Step-by-step photos accompany some of the recipes, such as how to prepare a fish, assemble a tart, open a sea urchin, and eat a lobster. There are even more photos alongside the lists of popular Spanish ingredients, such as cheese, tapas, fish, and sausages.
The name of the dish is provided in Spanish and English. Measurements are listed in US Customary and Metric. The index at the end of the book is arranged according to recipe for easy access.
Sorbete de la Rioja (Rioja Wine Sorbet)
Of all the recipes, this Sorbete de la Rioja (Rioja Wine Sorbet) has been a particular favorite, especially around the holidays. Red La Rioja wine is paired with orange and cinnamon, folded with beaten egg whites, and frozen into an almost slush-like consistency. Keep in mind that this recipe uses raw egg whites and alcohol that is not cooked off.
No ice cream machine required for this recipe. The mixture is simply transferred to a metal bowl, placed in the freezer, and whisked every hour to break apart the ice crystals and thoroughly combine.
You can serve the sorbet on its own in chilled glasses garnished with fresh mint leaves and orange peel or in tall glasses with chilled Cava (Spanish sparkling wine).
I also made Fideus a l’estil de Lleida (Noodles Lleida Style), Piperrada (Bell Pepper Omelette), Casadielles (Walnut Popovers), and Pechuga de Pollo a la Naranja (Chicken Breast with Oranges).
Fideus a l’estil de Lleida from Cataluña is a pasta dish made with fideos, short vermicelli. The pasta is cooked in a tomato sauce with sausage and seared pork chops until tender. It was perfect for a weeknight meal and the whole family loved it.
Piperrada is a bell pepper omelette from País Vasco. Beaten eggs are poured over a a mixture of onion, garlic, prosciutto, bell pepper, and tomatoes and cooked until set. It was easy to make and perfect for brunch or a light lunch.
Casadielles are walnut pastries from Asturias. A simple butter pastry is cut into rectangles and filled with a ground walnut mixture seasoned with sugar, honey, and aniseed. They are fried in oil and topped with confectioners’ sugar. I went with the variation of brushing the pastries with an egg wash and baking until golden. This method still yielded a nice, flaky crust.
Pechuga de Pollo a la Naranja is another easy to make dish hailing from Valencia. Chicken breasts are browned on each side, then simmered in a pureed carrot orange wine sauce. The chicken was cooked perfectly and it was a wonderful weeknight meal. I served the chicken with rice.
Looking for other books in the Culinaria series?
Find my reviews here:
- Pumpkin Tarts and Culinaria Greece
- Coconut Pudding and Culinaria China
- Rieslingsabayon (German Riesling Zabaglione) and Culinaria Germany
- Túrós Pogácsa (Hungarian Quark Pogácsa) and Culinaria Hungary
- Pistou (Provençal Basil Paste) and Culinaria France
- Strascinati con la Mollica (Italian Pasta with Breadcrumbs) and Culinaria Italy
Culinaria Spain is a great choice for those wanting to learn about Spanish cuisine and culture. You will find some of the more well-known Spanish dishes alongside others that aren’t as common outside of Spain. Seafood lovers will enjoy the abundance of fish and shellfish recipes. There is also a nice variety of appetizers, desserts, pastries, fruits, vegetables, soups, stews, salads, meats, poultry, eggs, and rice.
Many of the dishes have ingredients easily available to the average home cook. A few require access to an International market/deli featuring Spanish and Mediterranean ingredients. Having a reputable seafood market is also a plus. Some of the more difficult to find ingredients include Spanish blood sausages, black truffles (I have yet to actually buy these, but have seen them locked away in a glass case at Wegmans), various seafood, and game.
Sorbete de la Rioja (Rioja Wine Sorbet) Recipe
Adapted from Culinaria Spain: A Celebration of Food and Tradition
Sorbete de la Rioja (Rioja Wine Sorbet)
- 3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 cup Scant (200 ml) water
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 cup (250 milliliters) red La Rioja wine
- Grated zest of 1 orange
- 2 egg whites
- Mint leaves for garnish
- In a small saucepan, combine sugar, water, and cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil, then simmer until the sugar has completely dissolved into a clear syrup. Remove from heat and discard the cinnamon stick. Allow to cool.
- In a medium metal bowl, whisk together the cooled sugar syrup, red wine, and orange zest.
- In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gently fold into the red wine. Cover and place in the freezer. Whisk the mixture about every hour for three hours to break up the ice crystals and keep the mixture fully combined. Allow to continue to freeze until desired texture.
- Before serving, whisk one more time. Serve in chilled glasses immediately garnished with mint leaves.