Spain is currently a constitutional monarchy with King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofia on the throne. Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain and the capital to Catalonia. The Ciutat de les Art I les Ciencies can be found in Valencia which attracts tourists to view its modern architectural structures. The Balearic Islanders of Spain are most known for their love of Flamenco music and dancing as well as the sport of bullfighting, both attracting a lot of tourists, and money, to the area.
Endless cultures, as they passed through or settled in Spain, have influenced the history of Spanish food. The Phoenicians left their sauces, the Greeks introduced Spain to the wonders of olive oil, and Romans, Carthaginians, and Jews integrated elements of their own cooking into that of Spain. However it was the Moors 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. Traditional cooking includes stewed vegetables, rice, pasta, beans, fish stews, chicken casseroles, grilled meat or fish served with alioli, a dressing made with garlic and olive oil, and very creative salt cod based dishes. The place where spinach are sautéed with raisins and pine nuts, is where the innovation is happening, because this is the land of the experimental chefs, and where Mediterranean cooking becomes ultra modern.
One popular Spanish tradition is Tapas. The word tapa, meaning cover or lid, is thought to have originally referred to the complimentary plate of appetizers that many tascas would put like a lid on one's wine glass. Tapas can vary from simple to complex and include cheese, fish, eggs, vegetable dishes, dips, canapés, and savoury pastries.