If you peruse any bar or cafeteria menu in Spain you’re bound to come across a bocadillo. If you were to ask someone “What’s a bocadillo?” they’ll probably tell you it’s a sandwich. And while that’s technically accurate, it really doesn’t do it justice.
You see, in Spain you’ll find both bocadillo and sandwich on the menu, but what will arrive at the table when you order one or the other will be slightly different.
A sandwich is just your run of the mill meat between two pieces of sliced bread, called pan de molde in Spanish. The bocadillo on the other hand is served on a single roll of chunky artisan bread. It’s a large sandwich that is usually served with meat, chorizo, omelet, tuna or cheese. Bocata is also another common name for the bocadillo sandwich.
They also differ from your typical American sub in that Spaniards don’t bother with all that produce. Just the meat please. Bocadillos are fairly simple, they usually contain the requisite meat, cheese or eggs, with a drizzle of olive oil or a tomato rubbed on the inside to moisten the bread.
But for what it lacks in ingredients the bocadillo makes up for in flavor. The meats used aren’t bland like lunch meat, they are savory and flavorful, with nutty, smoky and salty notes all mixed together. Combined with manchego cheese and freshly baked bread, this is a bocadillo, not a sandwich.
So now the other question, why do I want one? Well, I’m happy you asked.
Jamón Serrano and Manchego Cheese Bocadillo