August 1, 2012

"Barriga llena, corazón contento "

 The Spanish title says : When the belly is full, the heart is happy

None said it better than the spanish! And trying their food was a prove for this!
But, wait, I really didn't go to Spain. But when you can't go to Spain, eat spanish food! Food does convey the culture of a country, the habits of the people and the inside culture!

I had the chance to apply this motto when I was invited to Phoenicia's Hotel Mosaic restaurant for Spanish week last May !
The food I had in Mosaic proved how much Spain is a melting pot, a pot that diffused a dynamic and gastronomic heritage.

 Remembering quickly some history stories, I recalled that Spain encountered several cultures that set foot  on its land, thus leaving a mark on every facet of this culture especially food. 
Ironically enough, the foods we consider to be "typically Spanish" would either not exist or would be extremely different without the intervention of so many cultures into the history of Spanish food.

"The Phoenicians left their sauces, the Greeks introduced Spain to the wonders of olive oil, and Romans, and Carthaginians, integrated elements of their own cooking into that of Spain. However it was the Moors from the south, who, during their centuries of reign, most impacted Spanish gastronomy. They introduced fruits and light seasonings into the Iberian diet, as well as combinations of fruits and nuts with meats and fish. Rice- a genuine staple of Spanish gastronomy- and therefore Spain's vast array of rice dishes, come straight from the Moors, as does the use of saffron, cinnamon, and nutmeg."( History of Spanish Food)

And thanks to early explorers ingredients from the Americas and the Far East,  more important ingredients  were added to the history of Spanish food. such as  tomatoes, vanilla, chocolate, various beans, and potatoes !!!!!

Cocinas (cookery or cuisines) in Spain differs gastronomically according to the region.
Spain being located on the Iberian peninsula and is therefore almost entirely surrounded by the waters,  seafood forms one of the pillars of Spain's gastronomy and  it also categorizes the country as having a Mediterranean diet.

"The rest of Spain is a diverse terrain made up of mountain ranges, lush pastures, fertile farmgrounds, extensive coastlines and more, which together provide quite the variety of fresh products. For example, Spain's famous hams are cured high in the mountains, vineyards and olive groves sprawl across expanses of land, and fresh fruits and vegetables hail from throughout the country."(History of Spanish Food)

The dishes I tried at Mosaic; some were simple, others more complex, but in all the quality and freshness of ingredients were delicious and paramount. The dishes were mild and deeply flavored. Here is few selected:

( P.S:  I also tried and blogged their Friday's Sea Food  night  a couple months ago! )


Paella is mostly in the Catalonia area  The food is affected by the French and  has rice in most of the dishes.


The Andalusians like to fry everything and love cold soups (Gazpacho) due to the hot weather.

The famous Gazpacho!!

   Roast Meat:

 In Central Spain, people prefer roast meats to other types of preparations.The cooks used stew everything that can be stewed: beef, or chicken!

Calibada Catalana

Fideux de Dardura

 Fish Dishes:  

The north along the Atlantic Ocean ( Galicia) stands out with its specialties that require sauces and fish dishes. Spanish consume inordinate amount of fish and spices!
Specialties also include octopus with potatoes and onion, or stewed in olive oil and paprika.


Chick Peas & Tuna Salad

Sole Vizcaina
Spanish Tropical Salad

 Overall we can notice that the main ingredients of Spanish cuisine are:
Saffron, mild and sweet or hot and spicy pimenton, olive oil, Sherry vinegar, rice, pulses, bay, thyme, rosemary, fresh fruits and vegetables, piquillo peppers, garlic, capers, pickles, hams, cured meats, canned tuna, salted anchovies, cheeses, meats, fish and poultry. 

Bean Salad Vinaigrette

*Vinaigrette is a mixture (emulsion) of oils, such as soybean oil, canola oil, olive oil, corn oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, peanut oil, grape seed oil, and vinegar

The freshest Mozarella!

More Spanish Cheeses!

Queso Manchego Cheese

Pollo Asado De Castilla: Roasted Chicken

Golden Potato Rounds

Spanish Quote "A man who prides himself on his ancestry is like the potato plant, the best part of which is underground"...

A Taste of Spain : Mosaic Restaurant

*Mosaic is a  newly renovated restaurant, offers an ever changing variety of International and Oriental buffets with live cooking stations and generous displays of the very best cuisine in the region.. The open kitchen space renders the restaurant even more exciting and engaging to all food lovers!

Opens Everyday:
Breakfast 7:30 am to 11:30 am, Lunch 12:00 to 4:00 pm & Dinner 8:00 pm to 1:00 am

Phoenicia Hotel
Main Lobby Level
Minet El Hosn, Beirut
Tel: +961 (0)1 357357


  1. mouthwatering, especially when one is fasting!

    1. hehehehhe. sorrry Rawan!!!
      They were indeed! Very wide range of dishes. couldnt try everything!