Spanish cuisine is known for its health benefits and fresh ingredients, as a Mediterranean diet. What makes Spanish food so popular is the quality and variety of the ingredients used. The Spanish like to make use of all of the ingredients they can and often include a number of different meats in the same dish.
Many typical Spanish products have denomination of origin such as ham, cheese, fruit and vegetables, seafood and sausages. These are some of the most common ingredients found in Spanish cooking.
Bread is traditionally served as an accompaniment to food, often with a little extra virgin olive oil for dipping. Bread with cheese is a common snack. Spain is ideal for olive growing. Many of these olives are pressed for their oil. Whole olives are eaten as appetizers and snacks, or added to stews, hot pots and salads. Spanish cuisine is heavily influenced by seafood. Fish and shellfish are used in a myriad of ways. Typically, meats like dry cured Serrano ham, lamb or chorizo sausage are used in small amounts to add flavor and texture to a dish instead of being the focus of attention. Chicken is a popular addition to stews and rice dishes.