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Lunch and Dinner

Spanish Food for Thought

Spain's climate influences the country's food customs. This means that mealtimes are very different from those in most other European countries.

In Spain, the main meal of the day is generally eaten between 2:00 and 3:00 PM, when people break for lunch. It will typically include three courses, starting with a salad or soup, then a meat or fish dish, rounded off with fruit, a flan or sweet pastry. After such an abundant meal, you’ll often need a famous Spanish siesta (or nap).

People usually sit down to enjoy their evening meal any time from 9:00 PM onwards. But it is not unusual to see the locals dining on their terraces as late as 11:00 PM or even midnight – especially in the summer. Dinner will usually consist of something lighter than at midday, like a salad, a sandwich, or a selection of tapas.

Such mealtimes explain why the Spanish don’t spend too much time or effort preparing breakfast, which usually involves plenty of coffee, often with milk. The traditional breakfast is churros, a long, sweet, fried pastry that you dunk in steaming hot chocolate.