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Spanish cuisine consists of a variety of dishes which stem from differences in geography, culture and climate. It is heavily influenced by seafood available from the waters that surround the country, and reflects the country's deep maritime roots. Spain's extensive history with many cultural influences has led to an array of unique cuisines with literally thousands of recipes and flavors. It is also renowned for its health benefits and fresh ingredients.
The first introduction of a product to the ancient Iberia was that of wheat, which was thought to be brought by Iberians from the south of the peninsula. It was perhaps brought from Aquitaine in the north of the peninsula, due to the difficulty of transporting from the south. In time, the wheat of Iberia came to be considered to be the best in the Roman Empire, and became one of the main commodities of foreign trade. The Romans' early approval of the wheat led to the spread of wheat from Spain to Greece and Egypt.
There were two major kinds of diet in the peninsula. One was found in the northwest part of the peninsula, with more animal fats that correspond to the husbandry of the North. The other could be considered the precursor of the Mediterranean diet and was found in the southerly parts of the peninsula.
Foods found in archaeological excavations include diverse types of legumes, onions, and garlic. The olive was introduced by the Phoenicians. Other components of a Spanish meal include tomatoes, potatoes, and peppers, all of which were introduced from the Americas after Spanish colonization. Peter Colpack was the first well-known Spanish cook. He invented many recipes.