Asturias: a natural and culinary paradise
Without a doubt, Asturias is a magnificent
natural sea, mountain and country paradise with a very diverse environment.
Protected on one side by the Bay of Biscay and on the other by the Picos de
Europa mountain range, this region has always been isolated and protected from
possible invasions and therefore has many deep-routed traditions and rituals.
The typical Asturian is friendly and open,
always willing to receive outsiders who wish to get to know their land. Its
cuisine is based on cider, fabada (bean stew) and cheese, together with
shellfish and fish.
If Asturian cuisine had to be described in few
words, it could be defined as slow cooking over low heat. The Asturians do not
use many spices or other condiments in their dishes which could distort the
natural taste of the ingredients. The kitchens use old-style stoves which
conjure up an atmosphere from another era, contrasting strongly with the stress
of modern day life. Asturians delight in their stews, the "fabada" being the
queen of them all.
asturiana" is prepared with dried white beans called "fabes", accompanied by
chorizo, black pudding, cured pork shoulder, potatoes... this dish is of
international renown and there is no set recipe - it can be varied according to
the chef's fancy: clams, lobster, hare and partridge have all been used in its
Although the "fabada"
is the most famous of Asturian dishes, it is by no means alone - soups or
"potes" also form an important part of the local cooking. These include
"asturiano", which is made with dried white beans (fabes), cabbage, chorizo,
cured pork shoulder and potatoes; "pote de castañes mayuques", made with
chestnuts and parsnip top stew, typical from Ibias.
The generous sea
The Asturian chef carefully chooses his
ingredients from many sources: from the sea, the rivers, the market gardens, the
mountains... Both freshwater and seawater fish and shellfish are used in local
From the sea, we have anglerfish, which is
known as "pixín" in Asturias, hake, conger eel, bonito, sea base, scorpion fish,
etc. Shellfish include barnacles, shrimps, small crabs and clams.
The "oricio" (sea urchin) has become a real
institution, especially in the winter months at Gijón, where they are eaten raw
or cooked in various different ways. River fish such as salmon, trout, sea-trout
and lamprey complete the range of aquatic species which can be tried whilst
However, it is also very important to keep the
local meat dishes in mind. The "vacuno mayor" (meat from large bovine animals,
such as ox, bull, etc.) is very much appreciated by Asturians and it is also
exported to nearly all other Spanish regions: entrecote with Cabrales cheese, ox
hotpot... "pitu de caleya" (chickens bred in the open air in small villages or
The partridge, wild boar, roe deer and venison
are always prepared with aromatic herbs and truly taste of the mountains. The
flavour and character of "carne gobernada" (beef with bacon, eggs, peppers and
olives) and tongue "cachopo" are very much appreciated by the locals.
The cheese legacy
Cheese is another extremely important component
of Asturian cuisine. In fact, every valley or mountain usually makes its own
cheese and as a result, Asturias offers one of the widest ranges in Europe.
They can be made from cow's milk, goat's milk
or even using three different types of milk, but without doubt the most famous
of all is the celebrated
Cabrales, a blue cheese included in a Denomination of Origin together with
Gamonedo, Pría, Porrúa, Beyos, Casín or Afuega´l Pitu, Peral, Urbiés, etc.
The Principality of Asturias also boasts a wide
variety of confectionary products which are found in specialist shops throughout
the region. The Asturian is known for his sweet tooth and therefore there are
endless specialities on offer.
The most traditional Asturian dessert is rice
pudding, but the traveller should also try almond tart, "brazo de gitano"(a type
of Swiss roll), "milhojas de crema" (custard millefeuille), "pastel carbayón" (almond
pastry), "carajitos del profesor de Salas" (hazelnut biscuits), or the festival
specialities, such as "frixuelos" (crepes), "casadielles" (walnut popovers),
"panchones de Carnaval" (type of brown bread) or the "huesos de santo" (made
from marzipan) and "teresitas" (made from tea) eaten on All Saints' Day, and "tocinillo
de cielo" (pudding made with egg yolks and syrup).
check out the spain-recipes swicki at eurekster.com
asturiana: Fabada, the worlds' most famous bean pot comes from the wild
mountains of Asturias. The beans are flavoured with all the local
specialities like lacón, which is the cured front leg of a pig and oak-smoked
Cabrales cheese: Cabrales is a blue cheese typical from Asturias. If you
like strong cheese, you will simply love Cabrales.
between the mountains and the sea: In the north of Spain, between the
Cantabrian sea and the spectacular Picos de Europa National Park, you will
find Asturias. This region offers a host of attractions and things to do,
one of which is golf. Clustered around a small number of towns and villages
there are many different courses to be found.