The restaurant scene in Brisbane is fast emerging as one of the more dynamic amalgamations of culture and cuisine in Australia. Fuelled aggressively by the rapid growth of the city, eateries seem to be appearing at a rate higher than ever before and from this, has arisen the development of new and exciting fusions of traditional cuisines and contemporary twists. A markedly vibrant and somewhat personalised cuisine amongst these is Spanish. Having always been recognised as a passion-inspiring, energetic type of food, Spanish cuisine will be the focus of this article. Particularly, emphasis will be placed on how best to navigate this melting pot of culture and food so as to best experience Spanish gastronomy and good Spanish restaurants in Brisbane.
What are the characteristics of good Spanish food?
Some of the most significant underpinning features of Spanish cuisine are the ingredients involved in its creation. There is a great deal of evidence suggesting that the origins of this food are deeply embedded in the culture of the nation and it is from this perspective, that some of the most successful Spanish restaurants have established themselves. A constituent element of this cultural influence is the geography of Spain. Situated on the Iberian Peninsula, many of the traditional ingredients are sourced from the fertile Mediterranean coastline. As well as this, there has been considerable influence from other Mediterranean cultures; namely Greece, Italy, Portugal and a number of Middle Eastern ethnic groups. Additionally, the discovery of the Americas by Spain in the fifteenth century allowed for the entrance of South American foods into the mainstream Spanish diet. The many centuries of cultural diversity that have constituted Spanish gastronomy are still evident in its creation today – simply deconstructing the elements of each dish will reveal the influences of the abovementioned cultures. This should be apparent in all Spanish restaurants across Brisbane and such restaurants have the greatest success when they remain true to their cultural foundations.
This does not eliminate the potential for innovation to flourish within this diverse cuisine, however. It is in fact to the contrary that some of the finest Brisbane restaurants have flourished, incorporating a multitude of additional cuisines into their Spanish cooking to create what is known as ‘Spanish fusion.’ Spanish fusion has been hugely successful in a number of well-regarded restaurants across Brisbane. These establishments have successfully remained firmly rooted in the fundamentals of Spanish cooking, whilst advancing the pattern of cultural diversification that is characteristic of Spanish food. This unique subset of traditional Spanish gastronomy has been created to greatest effect when incorporating local Australian produce. The result of this is a distinctly fresh and vibrant menu with the traditional foundations of Spain and the inimitable quality of Australian produce.
Do different regions of Spain produce different cuisines?
Food in Spain is more than just sustenance; it is founded upon the notion of community and passion. This underpins all Spanish cuisine, however there is some inherent variance in the precise nature of the food that is local to differing regions of Spain. Amongst other things, this is a result of the varying climates and geography of the nation. It goes without saying, that parts of the country bordering the Mediterranean Sea will feature seafood quite heavily in their traditional dishes, whilst areas that are somewhat more rural might rely upon different staples such as potatoes, cheeses and breads.
One of the most prominent and arguably more zealous regions of Spain – from which much of Spanish cuisine is sourced – is Catalonia. Catalonia is an autonomous district situated on Spain’s Mediterranean coast that is home to the nation’s capital, Barcelona. Famous for its culture of eating, this province features a great deal of fresh produce and, of course, fresh Mediterranean seafood. Furthermore, it boasts some of Spain’s finest pastures and fields, which allows for the production of the nation’s premium pork and lamb products – as well as many more. In a sense the very first Spanish fusion cuisine came out of Catalonia, with the proudly independent region exploiting the abundance of available resources to the best possible effect. Some suggest that the incredible diversity of Australian produce allows for Catalan cuisine to flourish in Australia and there are several Brisbane restaurants that are a testament to this statement. Queensland’s coastline provides a profusion of some of the freshest, most quality seafood in the world, whilst the fertile fields of the state’s more rural regions yield superior meats and dairy. Ingredients of this nature are complimented greatly by the passion and background that is present in Catalan cooking and this is brought to life by the better Spanish fusion chefs in Brisbane.
Does traditional Spanish differ a great deal from Spanish fusion?
Fusion cuisine is ultimately the creation of each restaurant individually. Talented chefs and restaurateurs typically put a great deal of consideration into how they will approach their menu so as to pay optimal tribute to both the local and foreign cuisine of their choice. Spanish fusion restaurants are no different and the better amongst them in Brisbane carefully select the source of their ingredients from local and – where necessary – international suppliers. In particular, the Catalan fusion subset of Spanish cuisine has been flawlessly integrated into contemporary Australian dining and this is mostly due to the availability of suitable ingredients of the finest quality across Queensland and Australia as a whole. A lot of fusion cuisine is somewhat experimental and in a sense, this honours the passion upon which Spanish cuisine was founded.
This does not mean that more traditional Spanish alternatives are unavailable, however. Not only are they readily available, but there are restaurants in Brisbane that specialise in food of this nature. Arguably the most commonly found manifestation of traditional Spanish cuisine is Tapas. Unlike Spanish fusion, the emphasis of traditional Spanish cuisine is on traditional ingredients and as such; many establishments in which this is a specialty, pride themselves on sourcing genuine products from Spain. This is not necessarily a conclusive sign of quality and there remain a number of establishments that successfully create traditional Spanish dishes using locally sourced ingredients – ultimately it is a matter of personal preference and opinion.
Come and have an authentic Spanish food experience at Moda Restaurant, one the finest Spanish restaurants in Brisbane