Galician Gastronomy

Delicious food and wine at very affordable great prices
From the Basque Country right through to the Portuguese border, the north west coast of Spain is a gastronomic delight but for sheer quality and abundance of prime materials there’s nowhere quite like Galicia…
The sea
The Rias, the estuaries which give the coastline its distinctive character, provide the perfect shelter, not only for the sandy beaches, but also for the nurturing of all manner of shellfish, the best in Spain and perhaps all Europe, whilst the more exposed headlands, battered by the Atlantic, yield the much appreciated Percebes (the extra-terrestrial Goose Barnacles). There’s an astounding variety of shellfish here, things never heard of a little further along the coast never mind back at home, and in the smaller villages many restaurants have their own boat or at least a friendly cousin so you’re ensured the freshest possible catch of the day and the best the season has to offer. The most typical, and for many the star of the show, is perhaps ‘Pulpo a la Gallega’ (Octopus in the Galician style) – juicy chunks of octopus over sliced potatoes all soaked in the best olive oil and dusted with hot (or sweet) paprika. Washed down with a nice glass of cold Galician white there’s nothing to beat it.
The land
Though justly famous for its seafood Galicia has hidden talents in store. The lush green hills give pasture to Spain’s best beef and veal as well as fantastic vegetables and the best potatoes in Spain – this last claim may sound trivial but it takes on a new importance when sampling the Pulpo or a homemade Tortilla de Patatas! And talking of tortillas, in the village communities it’s never difficult to find proper free-range eggs which taste like they should, in fact most of the farming is small scale and organic by its very nature, again ensuring you the best of the season.
The grape
Of course no menu is complete without wine, and here Galicia certainly doesn’t disappoint. The Albariño from the Rias Bajas vineyards, set above the Atlantic facing estuaries and sandy beaches of the Rias Bajas, is perhaps Spain’s finest white wine. Further inland, near Ourense, they have been making the famous Ribeiro wines, drunk young from clay pots, for centuries – keeping the pilgrims happy on their way to Santiago. And there’s more than just whites – the Ribera Sacra wine region on the banks of the Rio Sil these days produces some very interesting, though as yet little known, full bodied reds – you’ll be spoilt for choice!
The bread
So good it’s worth a section of its own, but we don’t have words to describe it – you’ll just have to come and try it for yourselves.
The table
Though often in the ‘no-frills’ category (though you can have it fancy too) you are always assured a warm welcome whenever you eat out in Galicia and with Casas Cantabricas’ own restaurant guide to help you you’re sure to find the ‘real deal’ – family run restaurants serving home cooked, locally sourced, seasonal market garden produce at very reasonable prices indeed – ¡Buen Provecho!

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