Already raided the beer shop for our favorite Spanish imports? Here are the four foods you need for a proper Spanish beer tasting:
1. THE OLIVE
Balance zesty wheat beers and bright farmhouse ales with salty, meaty Andalusian olives; Dequmana‘s mixed jar ($9) is a fiesta of Arbequina, Hojiblanca, Gordal and Cuquillo varieties, naturally cured with herbs and red pepper.
2. THE ALMOND
The “Queen Almond” is the marcona, a soft, meaty, macadamia-ish cousin of California’s variety that grows almost exclusively in Spain. A quick blanch, a flash-fry in olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt, and you’ve got instant (and seriously addictive) beer nuts.
3. THE MEAT
A Leg Up Right up there with sturgeon caviar and white truffles is Jamón Ibérico de Bellota, a cured leg of the pata negra pig that roams the oak forests of western Spain, getting pleasantly plump on acorns, herbs and mushrooms. The marbly meat is sinfully rich and nicely nutty. A whole leg—which one props on a special ham stand for carving tissue-thin slices—can run upward of $1,000, but Spanish food-seller Tienda.com sells 3 ounces of the pork pre-sliced by ham masters (an actual profession!) for $45. Pour an effervescent beer, serve it with slices of cantaloupe, and start saving to do it all over again.
4. THE MAIN COURSE
Our beer paella, of course.