The regions through which the French Camino passes are characterized by their excellent and varied gastronomic offer, based on local products such as vegetables, meats, sausages, soups, broths and desserts. When embarking on the Camino, many wonder what the “pilgrim menu” actually means and which "culinary specialties" one must not miss on this adventure. Here you are some information about the most outstanding products and gastronomic proposals linked to the Camino that satisfy the most demanding palates.
GASTRONOMY IN THE FRENCH CAMINO
Picture courtesy of the City Council of Logroño
THE MENU IN LA RIOJA
Thistle, Rioja-style potato stew and cutlets “al sarmiento” (grilled with dry vine shoots) are some flagstone dishes of local cuisine. But La Rioja is really best known around the world for its wines.
- “Patatas a la Riojana” (potato stew): also known as “potatoes with chorizo”, this typical dish is very simple to prepare and everybody likes it. Potatoes, onion, pepper, fresh paprika, garlic and a couple of bay leaves are the essential ingredients of this recipe.
- “Bacalao a la Riojana” (cod stew): like the Rioja-style potato stew, the simplicity of this dish is also captivating: onion, tomato, red and green peppers are lightly fried and then the cube of cod is added to the pan – after a brief visit to the skillet.
- “Fardelejos”: ancestral puff pastry filled with ground or grated almond paste, eggs, sugar and oil. The mixture is shaped and deep-fried in oil and then sprinkled with icing sugar.
Picture courtesy of the Tourist Office of Carrión de los Condes.
THE MENU IN PALENCIA
Traditional farm and shepherd cuisine, these dishes are simple but no less tasty as a result. This is the case of the great variety of soups and broths that have kept so many shepherds and farm workers warn over the years while working in the fields.
- A variety of soups from Palencia: the many and varied ways of preparing soups along this part of the Pilgrim's Way really draw your attention. For example, garlic soup with lightly fried garlic and slices of bread, 'sopa de sartén' (literally, frying pan soup), with dry bread, lard, paprika and torreznos (pices of fried bacon), and 'sopa albada', with the same ingredients as the previous dish plus cured ham and black pepper.
- Snails Palencia-style: cooked with spicy sauce, ham, chorizo, pine nuts and chopped eggs, they are one of the culinary delights of these steppe lands.
- "Amarguillos": The excellent flour from the wheat fields of Palencia gives rise to the preparation of confectionary such as amarguillos, made of flour, eggs, almonds and sugar.
Picture courtesy of “Asociación Provincial de Hostelería de Lugo”
THE MENU IN LUGO
Although the province of Lugo only has a small strip of coastline, this proximity to the sea makes fish and seafood rather frequent ingredients on the menu; by way of example, the different ways to cook octopus. Cattle are also a regular source of foodstuffs – both meats and dairy products, among the latter the renowned “queso de tetilla” cheese.
- “Empanada gallega” (Galician tuna pie): a dough filled with tuna, red and green pepper, onion and tomato. As regards the dough, it is made with flour, lard, yeast, eggs, white wine, olive oil, water and salt.
- “Pulpo a la gallega” (Galician style octopus): it is one of the flagship dishes from Galicia; simple and easy to prepare, although certain skills are required to properly cook the octopus. Usually served with “cachelos” (cooked potatoes, cooking salt, a good drizzle of olive oil and paprika.
- “Queso de tetilla” (cheese): another local delicacy, made with cow's milk, without colostrum, and then aged from tender to semi-cured.