Development of food production in the mediterranean. Archaeological evidence shows that agriculture began in the Mediterranean region approximately 1000BCE, when early farmers began cultivating cereals, particularly wheat and barely, and legumes. They developed colonies amongst these regions, which had an ideal climate for crop growing, that is, hot summers and cool, wet winters. These communities also began domesticating animals , and archaeological finds have shown that they kept sheep, goats and pigs.
Much like Portugal and Gibraltar, Spain is situated on the Iberian Peninsula and is one of the largest country on the peninsula, making up approximately 85 percent of the landmass.
Throughout history, the food culture and cuisine of Spain has been influenced by a number of invading forces. Between the 6th and 7th centuries BCE, the Phoenicians, native to the Fertile crescent, arrived on the Iberian peninsula and were great maritime traders, bringing olive trees to Spain. In the 4th century, Greeks began moving into the coastal regions of Spain and brought highly developed skills in grain production and in methods of string grain. This increased grain production in the area dramatically and allowed the Greeks to export grain back to their home colonies. Throughout the 2nd century, the Romans arrived in Spain, who were knowledgable and had expertise in agricultural production and transportation. With that they brought methods of food preservation, particularly air-drying fish, which boosted the fishing industry and also introduced stone fruits, like apricots, peaches, lemons and melons into Spain. The Moors arrived in 771 CE, who only remained in Spain for about 700 years but brought a significant influence on food culture. They introduced honey, citrus fruits, almonds and spices including cumin and saffron.
The meal structure in Spain is that lunch (almuerzo) is the main meal for the day. The Spanish begin their day with a light breakfast of coffee or pastry, followed by Lunch being a much heavier affair at around 2pm-4pm. Lunch includes a range of courses starting with a light soup or salad, meat or fish for the main course and a cake or Spanish flan afterwards. After lunch, they traditionally take a siesta which allows workers and farmers to take a a break out of the hot afternoon sun. Spanish people eat dinner late at about 9pm onwards, and is often a light salad or some tapas.