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.
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.
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).
We also enjoyed several empanadas during our time in Galicia – which are made with both meat and fish. Very tasty snacks indeed.
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!
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.
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.
The delicious rolls are made with bread wrapped round chorizo and baked as a ready made snack.
Dinner one evening was a delicious salad made with mushrooms and bacon and served with a delicious rosé wine.
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!
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).
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!
Our final night in Ribadesella we ate a wonderful Hake and Prawn casserole – but only remembered to snap it as we had almost finished.
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.
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).
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!