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The origin of Madrid's legendary squid sandwich

It is no secret that gastronomy is one of the most important tourist attractions of Spain and, of course, its capital. Although it may not be the most important reason to buy a house in Madrid, the goodness of the local cuisine seduces anyone who visits a restaurant here. One of the star recipes surprises both by its simplicity as well as its flavour has to be the squid sandwich. Next, we will reveal the origin of this popular food in a city that does not have many fishing banks ...

Indeed, the consumption of fish in Madrid was quite residual until well into the Modern Age. Only the rivers could offer this type of food, which did not include squid or other fish that inhabit the sea. The improvement in transport links and the famous roads that united the Cantabrian Sea with the Spanish capital around the 18th century changed this situation. In any case, it was the innovative railroad system that would allow Madrid to receive different seafood products in significantly less time and in a cost-effective manner.

Tradition was just as important as transport links. Being a Catholic country, Spain scrupulously complied with the changes in the diet of Lent. Thus, it discarded meat as fish was one of the most demanded foods in those days. The combination of both factors led the court demand foods that were more different and exclusive. Although there is no documentary evidence definitively confirming this theory, it is believed that squids were then introduced into the kitchens of high society.

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Foto: © Engel & Völkers Madrid

How did we jump from palaces to the most popular streets? Again, the history on the evolution of the local gastronomy seems to indicate that the diet of Madrid's locals was enriched notably during the 19th. The arrival of immigrants from the Andalusian coast also meant the invention of new recipes. The fried or battered fish, so famous in Malaga or Cadiz, seduced both the wealthy classes and the ordinary people of Madrid. The huts and taverns that served these dishes proliferated, and the battered squids began to emerge from their kitchens.

Since nothing lasts forever, this gastronomic tradition declined in the early 20th century. However, it would re-emerge soon after for reasons quite different from those that illuminated it years ago. In a time of economic difficulty, squid was noted for being a cheap seafood product and did not require any prior preparation (no bones). All one had to do was to put the squid between two slices of bread for a quick, tasty and cheap meal. In the second half of the 20th century, in line with the resuscitation of Madrid's social life, squid sandwich acquired a degree of acceptance that has still not lost its appeal to this day.

In short, do not miss the opportunity to take an interest in the best eating establishments in order to sample a squid sandwich. Perhaps this information will help you decide where to buy a home in Madrid.

Engel & Völkers

Génova, 27 - 5th floor
28004 Madrid
+34 91 277 45 00

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