Galicia and Asturias – Where You Could Never Go Hungry!

19 Sep

Oporto - still beautiful in the drizzle

We´re back from an incredible 8 day, 3500km trip to the north of Spain.  We drove west from Malaga then north through Portugal, stopping off briefly in Porto then to our first base of Sanxenxo in the Rias Baixas in Galicia. After three days in Galicia we headed east and based ourselves for four days in Ribadesella in Asturias and then finally headed back south, stopping off in León and then staying the night in beautiful Salamanca.  Our final leg of the journey home allowed for two quick stops in Caseres and Mérida….phew, what a trip!

I thought I´d do a few posts on this trip over the next few weeks, and share some of the experiences we had…food, drink, sights.  I do hope you enjoy them.

Galicia is very famous for its Pulpo a la Gallega, so we enjoyed this several times.  A particularly good one was eaten in the beautiful town of O Grove.

Pulpo a la Gallega - in Galicia

We took a boat trip, which was fun despite the rain, to look at the Rias (which are estuaries) and to see where the oysters, mussels and scallops are cultivated.  We were fed freshly caught mussels, steamed open and served with a young, local white wine.  Perfect.

We ate SO many...the trays full of steamed mussels just kept coming!

In Santiago De Compostela, which is the destination for pilgrims and walkers on the Camino De Santiago (a mediaeval pilgrimage route), we admired the incredible cathedral and enjoyed a slice of their local cake (made with almonds and adorned with the symbol of Santiago – or Saint James – the Patron Saint of Spain).

Delicious with a strong cup of coffee

We also enjoyed several empanadas during our time in Galicia – which are made with both meat and fish.  Very tasty snacks indeed.

Hard to we didn´t!

In a very pretty fishing village called Cudillero, where the houses appear to be stacked one on top of another, we ate our first Fabas.  Galicia and Asturias have a great culture of soup type dishes made with their local white beans and served in different ways.  Another tradition is to put a huge tureen of the dish on the table and you just keep serving yourself until you can´t eat any more.  What a fabulous idea!

Go can manage a few more!

These were served with local clams, which are bigger than the ones we typically see in Andalucía and the dish is called Fabas con Almejas.

HUGE and delicious clams

One day we went to Covadonga, which is a beautiful mountain top Sanctuary and took a picnic to eat further up at the lakes. The weather was so bad that when we got there we could only see fog so we drove back down to the River (the Sella) and enjoyed our Bollos Preñaos (which translates literally as pregnant rolls!) and Empanadas by the river.

Gives a whole new meaning to "a bun in the oven"!

The delicious rolls are made with bread wrapped round chorizo and baked as a ready made snack.

Empanadas with a river view

Dinner one evening was a delicious salad made with mushrooms and bacon and served with a delicious rosé wine.

Messy Mushrooms

Alongside this we tried a variety of local Asturian cheeses.  The most famous is Cabrales, a pungent blue cheese which we really enjoyed.  Our car was a bit stinky when we got home as we bought some back!

Gorgeous stinky cheeses!

We also ate an amazing rice and lobster dish, Asturian Pote (a vegetable stew with pulses), beautiful beef and ribs….but we were obviously hungry or greedy and never got to take photos of these.

A beautiful mediaeval town in Cantabria is Santillana Del Mar, and we found an amazing bar that did a huge selection of Pinxos (like larger sized tapas).

Decisions, decisions....

We managed to work our way through a few of them with no problems. Well…it was raining and we were waiting for the downpour to stop!

I´ll have one of those, ooh...and one of those...ooh and...

Our final night in Ribadesella we ate a wonderful Hake and Prawn casserole – but only remembered to snap it as we had almost finished.

Sorry...but we were hungry after a busy day of sightseeing

Near Leon we ate another incredible bean dish.  This one was made with what they called “Cinnamon Beans” (because of their beautiful colour) and was cooked with smoked pancetta.

Cinnamon coloured tasty

And finally, our last night in a very lively Salamanca was spent wandering around the city by night looking at the beautiful buildings and enjoying a variety of tapas.  These were Callos (tripe with chick peas) and Albóndigas (pork and jamon meatballs).

Tapeando en Salamanca por la noche - Nightime Tapas in Salamanca

So, it´s back to reality for us, but with happy memories, full stomachs and lots of ideas for new recipes in the months to come.  Hope you enjoyed sharing a little of our holiday with us.  Of course, it wasn´t all eating and drinking….next time I´ll show you some of the beautiful sights.  ¡Hasta luego for now!

60 Responses to “Galicia and Asturias – Where You Could Never Go Hungry!”

  1. Mad Dog September 19, 2011 at 16:19 #

    I’m jealous – I’m going to Barcelona next month and can’t stop thinking about food and the Boqueria…

    Great pix and it looks like you had a fab holiday 😉

    • chicaandaluza September 19, 2011 at 16:53 #

      Oh you´ll have such a wonderful time buying and eating food in Barcelona!

  2. JamieAnne September 19, 2011 at 16:33 #

    Looks like an amazing trip! I can not wait to see the rest of the pictures!!

    • chicaandaluza September 19, 2011 at 16:54 #

      It was such fun – we did lots but also took it easy. And took way too many photos, so more to come!

  3. Tandy September 19, 2011 at 16:33 #

    wow, this is our type of holiday for sure! Welcome home 🙂

    • chicaandaluza September 19, 2011 at 16:54 #

      Thanks Tandy – it was am amazing trip but it´s also nice to be home. I can relive it now through all the gorgeous food we bought back with us 🙂

  4. thecompletecookbook September 19, 2011 at 16:38 #

    Food scrumptiousness overload! Fantastic Tanya – you guys certainly feasted on some incredible dishes! Can’t wait for the next instalment.
    Have a happy week.
    🙂 Mandy
    PS. It must have taken ages to put all the links in on this post!

    • chicaandaluza September 19, 2011 at 16:55 #

      Hi Mandy – it was a gastronic delight! And yes…took ages to put all the links in, but I thought….just in case people want to know more about where we went I´d do it 🙂 Have a lovely week too.

  5. Bluejellybeans September 19, 2011 at 17:19 #

    Wow! I’m exhausted, jejejeje. Nice trip Tanya, it looks like you had a great time. The pics make me hungry… yummy. Just have to add one thing, you must try the tarta de Santiago that I made for his day. Look it up, I think is on July 25, then tell me what you think 😉

    • chicaandaluza September 19, 2011 at 17:28 #

      We had an amazing time and now I´m going to look up your recipe as we have almonds to pick this week and I´d love to try your Tarta!

  6. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide September 19, 2011 at 17:22 #

    Wow, wow, wow. That food looks amazing, the soup is calling my name. Seriously, it said eat me Greg. Those mussels, that charcuterie, the cheese. I love stinky blue!

    • chicaandaluza September 19, 2011 at 17:28 #

      I thought I heard the soup talking, but I wasn´t sure if it was the wine! We love stinky blue too…..:)

  7. Erin from La Tortuga Viajera September 19, 2011 at 17:29 #

    Pure heaven. Seriously, you’ve covered almost all my favorite Spanish dishes! I’m obsessed with cuisine from the north. My other favorite dish from Asturias: arroz con leche. YUM.

    • chicaandaluza September 19, 2011 at 17:34 #

      Glad you liked it! Forgot the arroz con leche (probably forgot a few other dishes too) which we had and they bruleed the topping. Had never eaten it that way before (here they serve it with cinnamon) and it was wonderful!

  8. gardenfreshtomatoes September 19, 2011 at 17:59 #

    Wow…just amazing. I’m now desperatly hungry – for nothing in my pantry! Once again, welcome home!

  9. spicegirlfla September 19, 2011 at 18:00 #

    Sounds like a wonderful 8 days of touring and eating!! I love these travel posts to all the places I could only dream of going! The picnic by the lake was a lovely idea to step outside and enjoy nature. I’d be so like you and more wanting one of EVERYTHING!!

    • chicaandaluza September 19, 2011 at 19:02 #

      It was a wonderful trip and we loved our picnic. I´ll post some pictures later but it´s a river where they do lots of kayaking, so we spent all our time waving to people going by..great fun!

  10. ....RaeDi September 19, 2011 at 18:13 #

    Tonya, oh my… what a beautiful post and the pictures speak a thousand or more words. I must be getting better your pictures have made me hungry. What a trip you two were on and I cannot wait to see more of your holiday, to learn more and of course I wonder what you will be cooking? I love stinky cheese too, the stinkier the better! Tell Big Man welcome home and I know by the pictures you both had a good time! ….RaeDi

    • chicaandaluza September 19, 2011 at 19:03 #

      Thank you so much RaeDi. It really was a trip that lived up to and exceeded expectations and we had such fun together really relaxing as well as running around. It was good to spend time together…I think there are a good few stinky cheese fans out here from the comments!

  11. nuvofelt September 19, 2011 at 19:47 #

    Sounds like a really lovely trip. I’m looking forward to hearing more about it.

    • chicaandaluza September 19, 2011 at 20:24 #

      It was amazing – and there are more posts to come!

  12. Fired Up Cooking SA September 19, 2011 at 20:41 #

    So glad you had such a wonderful time! I know virtually nothing about Spain, but through your eyes I am starting to see an amazing country – thank you!! Looking forward to all the other posts…

    • chicaandaluza September 20, 2011 at 09:28 #

      And likewise – I know so little about SA – the joys of bloging are thgat we can see things “virtually”!

  13. chaiselongue1 September 19, 2011 at 22:13 #

    Great photos and descriptions of some wonderful gastronomic delights. My son shares a flat in London with someone from Galicia and tells me of the delicious food they share – in fact, I’ve just spoken to him this evening. and he was looking forward to eating cocido

    • chicaandaluza September 20, 2011 at 09:28 #

      Thank you so much. Your lucky son – Big Man´s favouritie dishes are all “platos a la cuchara” like codio and olla. Perfect for the London weather too!

  14. LaMonique September 19, 2011 at 23:00 #

    Everything looks so yummy…I just tried to take a bite out of my laptop. I feel an urgent need to go to Spain!

    • chicaandaluza September 20, 2011 at 09:29 #

      Hee hee! If you ever get the chance to visit Spain, I´m sure you´d have a wonderful time…thanks for visiting 🙂

  15. ChgoJohn September 19, 2011 at 23:15 #

    What a great trip! Sounds like we share the same approach to touring. Spend the day seeing the sights and the evenings sampling the cuisine. (“Sampling” sounds so much better than “gorging”.) I’m looking forward to the next installment of your travel log. Did you get any recipes along the way?

    • chicaandaluza September 20, 2011 at 09:31 #

      I agree, sampling is much more “refined”! And yes, I kept cross questioning waiters and chefs as to how they did this, and what they put into that…and everyone was so kind and happy to explain! Only problem is that it was mostly after a couple of glasses of wine…hic!

  16. Caroline September 19, 2011 at 23:37 #

    Looks like you had a fabulous trip. I’m very jealous of all the amazing food you got to eat! I’m sure the cheese was divine.

    • chicaandaluza September 20, 2011 at 09:31 #

      It was an incredible trip – and the cheese was indeed divine. So pleased we bought some back!

  17. florence and freddie September 19, 2011 at 23:47 #

    Sounds like you had a great trip. Looking forward to hearing all about it.
    Regards Florence x

  18. sportsglutton September 19, 2011 at 23:48 #

    Wow. This trip looks and sounds fantastic. I’m incredibly jealous as I haven’t been over to Europe in a few years now…need to find the funds to get back and enjoy all the goodness I see above. 🙂


    • chicaandaluza September 20, 2011 at 09:32 #

      Spain is still not too expensive, but it´s amazing how that money can trickle through your fingers when you´re having fun 😉

  19. Rachel September 20, 2011 at 15:26 #

    Oh thank you for sharing your trip! Great photos, and oh am I hungry! 🙂 Mmmm!!!

  20. Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday September 20, 2011 at 15:34 #

    Wow, that’s a serious culinary adventure! I love travelling and sampling different kinds of food.

    And look at all that seafood! Sounds delicious. I probably would have gained 15 pounds eating all that good food.

    • chicaandaluza September 20, 2011 at 15:43 #

      It was definitely a holiday focused on food! Luckily we were walking around a lot so we were burning off the calories too 🙂

  21. Ellie September 20, 2011 at 16:31 #

    So mean showing pictures of these yummy foods when I’m on student budget… beans on toast for me! Hope you enjoyed your hols!

    love your Fairy God-daughter 🙂 xxx

    • chicaandaluza September 20, 2011 at 16:36 #

      Hey Fairy God Daughter – will have to send you a food parcel…and nothing wrong with beans on toast when times are tough! Big hug from your Fairy God Mother xx

  22. ambrosiana September 20, 2011 at 17:26 #

    I have never been to this part of Spain so I am glad you shared this beautiful experience with us!!! You brillinatly showed us a different regional culture in Spain (just as in Italy every Region is like a different country!!). I totally loved the beans and clams soup..what a great combination of flavors…The cheeses OMG…and the fact that they eat empanadas! This explains why so many Latin American countries have “adopted” empanadas from la Madre Tierra ! Top post Chica!!

    • chicaandaluza September 20, 2011 at 17:52 #

      It was my first trip to this area and I had wanted to go for such a long time. I hadn´t realised how popular empanadas are in these areas…but was very pleased about it as I love them!

  23. Lauren September 20, 2011 at 19:09 #

    The food looks amazing! I’m dying to visit… the pulpo and fabas look incredible. As always, great pictures! It’s only 7:00 and I’m hungry again…

    • chicaandaluza September 20, 2011 at 19:43 #

      Hey nothing wrong with pulpo and fabas at 7am or 7pm… 🙂

      • Sue and Danny September 22, 2011 at 12:04 #

        Looks like you had a wonderfull time. After seeing all this wonderfull food, Danny is panicing. Done the boat trip with the mussels and white wine, fantastic. See you soon. D&S

      • chicaandaluza September 22, 2011 at 13:34 #

        We did indeed have a fantastic time…so looking forward to seeing you soon. Bread, cheese, wine and friends are the best ingredients for a get together in my opinion!

  24. Michi September 22, 2011 at 14:43 #

    Delicioso, delicioso, delicioso!!!! If my siblings come visit me next summer, we’ll go on a road trip to Northern Spain, and hopefully we’ll finally get to see Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria, and/or Santander! (Still debating on the Camino de Santiago). Such wonderful food pictures! Mmmmmmmm…. I love your posts.

    • chicaandaluza September 22, 2011 at 15:37 #

      Thank you so much – it was a wonderful trip! If you´re serious about the camino, i can put you in touch with my neighbours (she´s Californian and he´s British) who have done some of the walk. It wasn´t for us – especially when I saw all those poor souls laden down with back packs in the rain 😦 We didn´t make it to Santander…another time I hope as I hear it´s gorgeous.

  25. Emily September 22, 2011 at 20:40 #

    SOOO many gorgeous delicious things to eat! Especially anything with pork and those mussels and clams! Yum! Also impressed with your sewing skills. I have a machine and the want but so for it has just been bags nothing very form fitting so great job! Thanks for stopping by my blog! Yours has that lovely garden!

    • chicaandaluza September 22, 2011 at 22:28 #

      Thank you for all your kind words – do hope I inspire you to cook/sew/garden even in the tiniest way!

  26. Karen September 23, 2011 at 01:18 #

    Ok, you have done it. We keep talking about going to Spain on our next trip to Europe. After living in Miami, Florida, where most of the Spanish restaurants that we loved were from the areas you visited…it seems that we must consider Spain. I can’t tell you how much of what you have written about as far as food are all of our favorites. I wouldn’t mind a sticky car for some Cabrales cheese…one of my favorites.

    • chicaandaluza September 23, 2011 at 10:14 #

      Yay! It´s always good to inspire others. Can highly recommend it, but it´s a big country (not as big as yours obviously!) and there is so much to see. The north differs hugely from the south in many things – landscape, temperature, culture and food…so it makes everything very exciting and different. Do hope you eventually get to make the trip (stinky car included!).

  27. PendleStitches September 27, 2011 at 18:07 #

    I’m putting weight on just looking at all that amazing food (with the exception of the faceless and multiple legged seafood which, no matter how hard I try I can’t get myself to like).

    Must. Make. Bean. Stew!

    • chicaandaluza September 27, 2011 at 18:12 #

      Ahh – made me chuckle! I have friends too who just couldn´t face the octopus 🙂 Can highly recommend the bean stew (with or without shellfish). Delicious and cheap! Thanks so much for visiting and commenting.


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