Summer is the time of year with plenty of sunshine and warm weather. Whether you go boating, take a hike, or spend the afternoon at the local park, part of the fun is relaxing and enjoying a meal in the fresh air.
In most regions in Spain, summers are hot and dry, and the concrete and asphalt in the cities make that heat unbearable, especially in high rise apartments. So, it's common for modern Spanish families to make weekend trips to the pueblos (towns) where their families are from. They enjoy the local festivals and spend lots of time outside strolling, socializing and eating—at home on the patio, at an outdoor cafe, or a picnic on the banks of the nearby river. If they can't leave for the weekend, madrilenos or residents of Madrid spend time at the park called El Retiro where they picnic in the shade of the trees.
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On a picnic, a cold soup makes a great starter. Take the soup in a plastic pitcher that seals tightly or an insulated thermos, and serve in glasses. Try one of the classic cold Spanish soups in the list like classic red Gazpacho Andaluz, Salmorejo Cordobes or White Gazpacho soup.
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Empanadas Gallegas or Galician Turnovers are one of the most popular dishes from Galicia. Empanadas in Galicia are traditionally large round or square turnovers that are cut into pieces to serve. They can be filled with tuna or meat with spices. The smaller individual turnovers are called empanadillas and travel well.
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Sheep’s milk cheese primarily comes from Castilla-León, Castilla-La Mancha, the Basque country and Navarre, the regions known for sheep's milk cheese in Spain. They are generally flavorful, semi-cured or cured cheeses. Although Manchego cheese is the most famous, ask your local delicatessen for a recommendation or taste of several, and choose one to bring on your picnic.
Don't forget the cured Spanish chorizo to eat with the cheese and rustic baguette!
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Spaniards don't eat without bread! One or two baguettes are essential to have on a picnic, especially with a Spanish menu—one to pile on ham, chorizo, etc, and the other to dip in sauces.
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Lemon Cream is rich and creamy and sweet with lemon flavor. This is a no-cook dessert that's great for a summer picnic. It only takes 10 minutes to prepare and 3 ingredients. Chill for 1 hour and pack in a sealed container. Instead of eating it with spoons, pack some extra plastic glasses and drink dessert!
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Turron, the candy made from almonds, egg whites and honey is really delicious and easy to transport. Cut pieces of hard or soft turron in a sealed container and enjoy with cold sparkling wine for dessert.
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Spain produces many good quality sparkling wines, called cava after the caves or cellars in which the wine is produced. These wines are made in the “méthode champenoise” or “Champagne method,” which is the same method that is used to make Champagne. Light and sparkly, they pair well with lots of food. Chill a bottle and bring it along in an insulated wine carrier or in the ice chest.Continue to 9 of 9 below.
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Albariño wine, which is produced in Galicia, in the Northwest corner of Spain is the perfect white wine to take on a summer picnic. It's a light wine that complements food and is refreshing. Paco & Lola Albariño 2008 is a reasonably-priced Albariño, which you can chill and bring along with, or instead of the cava.