There is no place where tomato tastes like in Spain where people enjoy it in cold gazpacho plate while hiking in Andalusia or in the middle of La Tomatina festival.
Here’s a combination that would never go outdated, travel and food. One fuel the souls and the other the physique. But if your way of travel includes hiking, trekking, rambling or climbing food will taste even better because as they say anything tastes great after a long walk. But which is the place that offers the best combination of walking and eating experiences? For those that search within Europe’s map Spain would be the best choice. Say no more. The country in the Iberian Peninsula is one of the top tourist destinations in the world. The time and place that those tourists choose depend on what they are looking for.
There is Barcelona, the Mediterranean Sea, the Atlantic Ocean, the Balearic and the Canaries and all of them are filled with places to visit and explore. Festivals and carnivals are organised in Spain and its islands all year-round. Locals and visitors love to celebrate and there is no celebration without delicious food and exquisite wine. Spain is the type of country where no matter if you walk from the north to the south or bask in the sun all day long when you feel hungry there are endless options to satiate your hunger or quench your thirst.
But first decide where you are going to walk and depending on the region you will find the list of the traditional dishes that Spaniards eat in each of them.
Walk the ways to Santiago de Compostela
Spain is home to some of the best hiking trails in Europe and beyond. The northern part of the country is where the famous long-distance Camino de Santiago runs. This walk includes a wide network of ancient routes that take to the tomb of Santiago de Compostela or St, James. There are many ways that take to the cathedral that is located in Galicia. The most popular is the French Way. This is a 780 km long walk that runs from the Pyrenees, through Navarre, La Rioja, Castilla y Leon, until it ends in Galicia. This is the trail that pilgrims have walked for centuries. There are many inns and hotels where hikers can rest for the night and explore local cuisine as well. You can find groups and guided tours that hike the different ways of El Camino at http://www.mitoura.com/.
Besides the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona during San Fermin festival, Navarre is renowned for its vineyards and vegetables production and for some of the best dishes in the country. The list of foods that you should try in Navarre includes: Chorizos-a pork sausage, Cordero al Chilindron- a lamb stew with vegetables in tomato broth, Estofado de Toro- bull stew, Cochifrito-fried lamb, Trucha a la Navarra-fish stuffed with ham.
Some of the desserts that are regularly served in Navarre are: Cuajada- fresh milk, honey and sugar, Pinones-pine and almond cake, Natillas-custard dessert with cinnamon.
For those that want to taste wine in Navarre, there is special wine route that runs through 25 villages and towns that make the major are of wine production in the region. Most of the vineyards in Navarre have been established by monks and they continue to produce some of the best rosados or rose wines. The top wine producers are Julian Chivite, Guelbenzu, Castillo de Monjardin and Bodegas Ochoa.
La Rioja cuisine
Given that La Rioja is worldwide known for its wines that begins with them. Haro is the best place where to taste the wine in this region, which like Navarre has its own wine route. The best wines to try in the region are: Roda, Ramon Bilbao, Muga, CVNE, and Lopez de Heredia.
La Rioja has taken a lot of elements by neighbouring regions thus, local cuisine offers a mix of traditional dishes with elements from other parts of Spain.
The list of Riojan delights is long, but what a hungry traveller should miss includes: Patatas a la Riojana-roasted potatoes with chorizo and paprika, Lechal-suckling lamb, Cochinillo-suckling pig, Chuletas Riojana-lambchops, Esparragos Blancos-white asparagus.
Wine sorbet with cinnamon and peaches with cinnamon are widely served in this region.
Castilla y Leon cuisine
The nest section of Camino de Santiago walks through Castilla y Leon a region famous for its cultural heritage and wine regions. The Castilian-Leonese cuisine is rich and chickpeas are the main ingredient of stews and other dishes while even fish is widely used. Soup is a common plate. There is chickpea, garlic, trout, and tomato soup. Like any other region in Spain, the menu in Castilla y Leon includes ham and sausages. One should walk the Camino more than once in order to try all of them and don’t forget about Empanadas.
An interesting fact about desserts in this region is that they mostly originate from monasteries and convents and their names reflect this. Lazos de San Guillermo, yemas de Santa Teresa, bizcochos de San Lorenzo and many others are typical Castilian deserts.
Wines are divided into four main groups: Toro-fruity wines, Cigales, Rueda-Young white wines, Bierzo and Ribera del Duero-hearty reds.
This region is known as the land of 1,000 rivers and its economy is based on tourism, agriculture, farming and fishing. After completing the long French way from the Pyrenees to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, there is a lot to see and eat in Galicia.
For the lovers of fish and seafood, the Galician cuisine is the best. They serve Poblo a feira- octopus, mariscos-seafood, barnacles, velvet crab, Cigala-Norway crab, Almejas-clams, cockles, razor clams, and mussels. But Galician people also prefer stew, meat and ham and the famous Tarta de Santiago.