Surely you know the Spanish capital for its bars and restaurants, as well as for having a diverse cuisine. However, typical Madrid gastronomy went through a stage of transformation worthy of study. Two factors marked a before and after. That is to say, before the conquest of Toledo and the arrival of the Kingdom of Felipe II. Although other autonomous communities stand out above Madrid such as Barcelona and the Basque Country, the capital does not lose its charm.
We must highlight some important data before fully entering this fascinating gastronomic history. According to the Michelin Guide in Spain there are around 174 restaurants with Michellin stars. This figure corresponds to the most outstanding restaurants in Barcelona, the Basque Country and Madrid.
The beginnings of Madrid gastronomy
Before the conquest of Toledo by Alfonso VI, the kitchen was similar to the entire Iberian Peninsula. At that time, this diversity came from what is known as the gastronomy of Al-Andalus. This power in the Middle Ages by Muslims highlighted certain ingredients such as:
Fish and shellfish
These were eaten fresh or treated for preservation with sun-dried salting and mixed with vinegar. Also other fruits of the sea were consumed as a food condiment.
Cereals and vegetables
At that time in the kitchen, cereals, vegetables, legumes and greens could not be missing. All this served to accompany the proteins or season them. For example, the meat is accompanied with cauliflower, cabbages or turnips.
In the same way, the extraordinary flavors and smells that this traditional cuisine leaves behind cannot be ignored. This is due to the diversity of aromatic herbs that season their meats and the incomparable stews. In short, this highly varied cuisine with the preparation of sausages, olives, dates, honey, semolina pasta, are part of the Hispano-Roman customs.
Between the royal and the humble
After almost 800 years of Muslim rule, Felipe II in 1561 decided to set the capital of the Kingdom of Spain in Madrid. This fact strongly marked the coexistence of two independent kitchens in the popular and in the aristocracy. At that time, the basic food of the town was the cereal in its derivatives such as wheat, sorghum, among others. It is also due to the introduction of rice and the consumption of legumes. Vegetables, dairy products and nuts were also part of the diet. Therefore, this contributes to the variety in Madrid cuisine.
It must be remembered that at that time, the aristocracy liked to sit at the table and eat abundantly. In the second half of the 17th century, and throughout the 18th century, dark chocolate extracted directly from American cocoa was an essential product for the more favored classes. It was normal for this product to be consumed at breakfast and as a snack. The people with more resources at that time endowed the typical Madrid gastronomy with certain dishes. Mention should be made of the famous Madrid stew, as well as the consumption of pea stew and fresh salted lamb.