Fusing Mediterranean and European for a dining sensation
Locals and holidaymakers in Torrevieja on the Costa Blanca face the same problems when dining in Spain: how on earth do you eat healthily? All that ice cream, churros and chocolate is a definite road to an expanding waistline. Yet, when you have been living in this part of the world for a few years, you realise that the Spanish in this area are among the healthiest in the world.
As a chef, I’m very interested in diet, and how and what people eat. At Christopher’s, I’ve had the chance to develop a menu that is English/European in style, but taking some of the best Spanish culinary traditions to create a hearty and healthy dining experience for our guests. It’s more of a Mediterranean fusion than meets the eye.
Spanish eating habits: more than churros and jamón
When you explore the Spanish diet, you’ll find it is way more than deep-fried finger doughnuts dipped in rich, dark chocolate and cured jamón eaten with the finest Manchego cheese, washed down with a few glasses of local vino.
Spanish cuisine is among the healthiest in the world. By breaking down the Mediterranean diet, you can see the main elements that it includes:
- High in olive oil
- Plenty of seasonal vegetables
- Fresh fruits
- Whole grain cereals
You’ll also find that fish and seafood have a bigger presence on Spanish menus than poultry and eggs – though these are enjoyed in moderation.
The Spanish also enjoy red meat and cheese in moderation. Order a cheese board at a Spanish restaurant, and you’ll discover more fruit and biscuits than on cheeseboards served in the UK. This said, one of the staple plates enjoyed by the Spanish is a plate of jamón and cheese – and it’s wonderful.
Contrary to popular belief, the Spanish drink red wine in moderation, preferring to spend a little extra to savour and enjoy a tipple as an accompaniment to conversation rather than to ignite it.
And you can forget processed foods. They turn their noses up at refined grains, oils and added sugars. Instead, they consume good fats from olive oil, nuts and fish, and fibre from vegetables, fruits and whole grains.
Eat at a Spanish restaurant, and you’ll find a few pieces of bread are usually presented first, with alïoli to dip. And, of course, there is the obligatory plate of salad to share.
Fusing Spanish into the menu at Christopher’s
I love the Spanish diet, and I’ve fused it into the menu at Christopher’s in a subtle way:
- You won’t find octopus on the menu, but you will find an abundance of seafood. Fresh lobster. Dover Sole. King Prawns. Mussels.
- We prepare our menus with fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables, and use olive oil extensively.
- Our soups are freshly made and changed regularly for variety.
- We have a range of salads on the starter menu, offering a variety of healthy options to ease you into the main event.
- Yes, you can indulge yourself with a rich dessert, but you’ll also find that a popular option is a light, fresh fruit salad (made with seasonal fruits, of course).
You’ll find our main course menus cater for all tastes, from steaks to poultry, from dishes with spice to dishes with sauce. But there is one final ingredient that we add, which many restaurants fail to realise is the main ingredient in all traditional Spanish diets…
Eating in Spain is a way of life
The way that people eat in Spain is every bit a part of their diet as the food and the method of preparation.
Watch the Spanish, and they really know how to enjoy food. Because they enjoy the experience. They take their time to eat, spend time with friends and family, and be a community.
This tradition is a key ingredient of your dining experience at Christopher’s. Call us on (+34) 600 01 28 24 to reserve your table. Discover the difference that makes us one of the top five restaurants in Torrevieja.