No visit to the lush green landscapes of Galicia would be complete without tasting the region’s delicious food and fine wines. Thanks to the province’s long coastline seafood features prominently on the menus in cities such as Santiago de Compostela, A Coruña and Vigo. For this reason, visitors should arm themselves with a fork, an empty stomach and a spirit of culinary adventure – for the gastronomy is a rich and exciting one.
Take for example Galicia’s signature dish Polbo á Feira (Galician style Octopus). Imagine if you will, tender chunks of octopus lavished in olive oil, peppered with paprika and salt, and served on a traditional rustic wooden plate. Or you might want to sink your teeth into an Empanada Galega (Galician pasty), which are filled with finely chopped meat, fish or vegetables, before being baked and served piping hot. Cheese fans will no doubt smile when nibbling on the region’s most famous cheese that’s shaped like a breast, thus giving rise to the novel name of Queixo de Tetilla (breast cheese).
Vieiras a la Galega (sea scallops) are particularly popular thanks to their abundance on the coastline. A mixture of onion, parsley and breadcrumbs coats the scallops, which are baked and served in their own shell. You might recognise these shells as the ones worn by the pilgrims who walk the Camino de Santiago. Furthermore, in Galician streets you’ll see fish tanks in restaurant windows filled with various crabs and large lobster-like creatures with two enormous claws called bogavante or lubrigante. In addition, the food-loving Galicians are also partial to mexillóns (mussels), berberechos (cockles) and navajas (razor clams).
For dessert leave room for the mouth-watering Tarta de Santiago (Saint James’ Cake), named after the patron saint of Spain. It’s a rich cake made of almonds and decorated with a powdered sugar silhouette of Saint James’ cross. With all this eating you will no doubt be thirsty, so it’s important to wash down the cuisine with some local wines. Galicia is probably best known for Albariño, a fruity white wine that accompanies fish dishes. Or try the Galician Ribeiro, a little sharp and traditionally served in small porcelain bowls. Or if you are feeling brave, why not have a shot of the strong orujo liquor. Extracted from the residue of wine production, this strong brandy is made from grape skins, seeds and stalks.
Have we made you hungry yet? We hope so!