Pilgrim's menu

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.

Pilgrim menu

The pilgrim menu is a gastronomic offer that can be found in establishments, inns or hostels along the Camino. Most restaurants normally offer seasonal vegetables and fruits, although gastronomy changes from one community to the next, each with their distinctive traditional dishes.

The pilgrim menu is usually very comprehensive, and includes two dishes, a drink and a dessert. The intake must provide proteins and carbohydrates to have the strength to continue the pilgrimage. The price of the menu also varies in each autonomous community, but it is usually lower than the regular set menu. To benefit from these offers, you must show your pilgrim credential, which certifies that you are actually doing the Camino.

Finally, although some catering establishments put signs indicating that they serve the pilgrim menu, it is always convenient to make sure that it complies with the above description, and that it is not just a standard set menu at a reduced price.

The gastronomic culture of the Camino has delivered typical dishes such as: “botillo”, “cecina” cured meats, garlic and bread soup, Galician broth, Batallón Pie, stews, octopuss… and a wide array of desserts. We do not mean to say that pilgrims invented these dishes, but we do claim that they certainly helped spread these delicacies. In former times, the most common dish offered to pilgrims was “sopas de ajo” (garlic and bread soup), accompanied by pork fat and wine.

MOST TYPICAL PRODUCTS

The “pilgrim broth” is one of the most typical dishes of Galician gastronomy and one of the most appreciated by local and foreign pilgrims. The broth is but a type of soup or stew consisting of vegetables, beans and potatoes, seasoned with “unto” (pork fat). Sometimes it also includes meats such as chorizo, “lacón” (pork’s foreleg ham) or bacon. The most typical broth is made with cabbage or ”grelos” (turnip tops), depending on the season.

The “Tarta de Santiago” cake is a traditional dessert of Galician cuisine, specifically from Santiago de Compostela. The recipe contains mainly almonds, sugar and eggs – so it is gluten-free. This delicious almond cake is always served on July 25th, on the Feast of Saint James and Day of Galicia.

FURTHER PROPOSALS

- TASTE PAMPLONA, ROUTE OF THE CAMINO

Located on the Way of Saint James, Pamplona is the first city the pilgrim encounters after Roncesvalles. The capital of Navarra offers, whether as “pincho” snacks or on a dish, its renowned and excellent vegetables, meats, cheeses and wines.

- GASTRONOMIC PASSPORT OF THE WAYS TO SANTIAGO

This gastronomic passport will help you discover the variety and quality of the dishes that you will find on this pilgrimage route, as well as the typical products in each community. Have a go at it and enter the raffle: you can win batches of products and stays! You just have to have your passport stamped at participating establishments and then submit it. Click here to download your gastronomic passport.

GASTRONOMY IN THE FRENCH CAMINO

THE MENU IN NAVARRE

Whether a menu, “cazuelicas” (small dishes) or “pinchos” (snacks), Navarre has plenty of top quality zero-kilometre products to whet your appetite: artichokes from Tudela, “piquillo” peppers from Lodosa (Designation of Origin), the “menestra” (mixed vegetable stew) or asparagus from Navarre (Protected Geographical Indication).

The “migas” (breadcrumb dish), the “revuelto de hongos” (scrambled eggs with wild mushrooms), the “relleno” (pork and rice white pudding) with homemade tomato sauce and the “ajoarriero” (cod stew, Hemingway's favorite treat) are other local delicacies worth the bite. As for desserts: “goxua”, “pantxineta” or milk curd with honey and sheep’s cheese. Always on the table we find Designation of Origin Navarra wines: reds, rosés and whites have won numerous awards and worldwide prestige.

If you want to have lunch or sate your appetite at the end of the evening, you can always resort to “pinchos” (snacks) or “cazuelicas” (small dishes). Each bar offers their miniature haute cuisine specialty, based on local produce. You may also indulge in the rich variety of “fritos” (fried snacks), so popular in Navarre and, more specifically, in Pamplona: pepper, ham and cheese, bronze bolete mushroom, egg, squid or Roquefort cheese are the raw materials which some of the most common “fritos” are made of.

 

  • The vegetable garden of Navarre: a distinctive feature of our gastronomy is the wide variety of vegetables that are served - both raw and cooked. Among those eaten raw, we find the “cogollos” (lettuce sprouts) from Tudela, asparagus, the so-called “ugly” tomato from Tudela and crispy lettuce from La Magdalena, all of which are presented in luscious salads or simply with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil (with its Designation of Origin label). If cooked, try the red “piquillo” peppers (roasted or stuffed), the “menestra” (vegetable stew), the borage with potatoes, the thistle with almond sauce, the artichokes with cured ham, the chard or the “porrusalda” (leek stew).
  • Wines Designation of Origin Navarra: reds, whites and rosés are the result of a two-thousand-year-old tradition brought in by the Romans, when they discovered that this land provided the ideal ground for growing grapes. Kings, tsars and people from the five continents have savoured the fermented delicacies produced in the wineries of the Zona Media (central area of Navarre) and the Ribera (to the south).
  • Cheeses with Designation of Origin: Navarre is a land of cheese, where tradition and history are linked to quality pastures and the know-how of shepherds. As a result, there are two Protected Designations of Origin. Both types of cheese come from the valleys of Navarre, where they are made with raw milk from “latxa” dairy breed sheep that stand out for their excellent quality. Each of them has their own peculiarities, although in either case they are usually served accompanied by a good Navarra wine or with walnuts and quince paste.
  • “Chistorra”: typical sausage that is made with pork’s meat, minced and marinated with salt, paprika and garlic, then kneaded, stuffed in natural casing and subject to a short maturation process. It is generally eaten fried or grilled and served alone or on bread.
  • Roast suckling pig: the gastronomic star of Tierra Estella, although it can be found in many restaurants throughout the Chartered Community. Inside it has to be soft and juicy like butter, while on the outside the skin has to be crispy and golden brown. When it is served, it is cut in generous portions and put on a plate next to a bowl of lettuce and onion salad.
  • “Pochas” from Sangüesa: another vegetable gem from Navarre. This variety of white haricots is eaten fresh, which makes them extremely soft whilst reducing cooking times. It is cooked with other ingredients: carrot, pepper, tomato, chives, leek and garlic. Further ingredients may include ham, quails, clams or cod.
  • “Pacharán” from Navarre: it is a low alcohol spirit (25-30 % Alc/Vol) obtained by macerating “pacharanes” (“sloes”) in anisette. The history of “pacharán” is linked to Navarra from its origins: in the Middle Ages it was already one of the frequent drinks in important celebrations and was also used as a medicinal tonic. Navarre is the only Autonomous Community in Spain where “pacharán” is protected by European legislation.

Imagen de un gorrín asado.

Un plato de menestra navarra.

Una sartén llena de pimientos del piquillo.

Un plato de chistorra navarra y pan.

Imagen de un plato de pochas a la navarra.

Pictures courtesy of INTIA-Reyno Gourmet.

Imagen de un plato de patatas a la riojana.

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.

THE MENU IN BURGOS

In general, the diet is characterized by foodstuffs with high calorie content so as to withstand the cold winter of the Castilian lands. It is further balanced with delicious mushrooms, fruits and other top-quality vegetables.

  • “Morcilla” black pudding from Burgos: made with chopped onion, rice, butter, salt, pepper, oregano and pork’s blood, it is a delicacy for the palate that can be served fried, roasted or as fingerfood “pincho”.
  • Castilian soup: here is a recipe to make good use of stale bread from the previous day. Breaking it into small pieces and mixing it with chorizo, chopped onion, garlic, paprika, water and parsley, it is usually served in a clay pot.
  • “Olla podrida” (literally “rotten pot”): it is the traditional stew from Burgos and it is made with red beans from Ibeas de Juarros instead of the usual chickpeas. Further ingredients can be added, such as pulse, vegetables, black pudding, chorizo, bacon, ribs and other pork meats.

Imagen de varias morcillas de Burgos.

Picture courtesy of the Provincial Government of Burgos.

Imagen de un plato de caracoles a la palentina.

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. 

THE MENU IN LEÓN

In the province of León there are two distinctive cuisines: the one from El Bierzo and the one from the La Maragatería. The first is highly influenced by Asturian gastronomy (“cacheladas”, “lacón” ham), while the second is based on strong and heavy dishes, typical of the Astorga region.

  • “Cecina de León”: product made with beef, deer or wild boar meat, of a somewhat garnet colour and with fine streaks of fat, similar in appearance to cured ham but with a totally different flavour.
  • “Cocido maragato” stew: the main ingredients are meat (up to 7 different cuts) and then vegetables (such as cabbage or chickpeas). The process is slow and begins with cooking the meats first, and then adding the chickpeas and vegetables.
  • Bañeza-style frogs’ legs: first the legs, and then tomato, onion, garlic, pepper, bread, flour, pork fat, milk, oil and salt, as well as aromatic herbs –usually bay leaf and parsley. Best served hot, accompanied by bread.

Imagen de un pernil de cecina.

Picture courtesy of the Tourist Office of Mansilla.

Un plato de queso semicurado con pan.

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.

THE MENU IN A CORUÑA

Galician beef, seafood from the Rías Altas, Padrón peppers, “tetilla” cheese and Arzúa-Ulloa cheese, alongside the well-known Santiago cake, are the most characteristic dishes from A Coruña.

  • Padrón peppers: named after the town where the tomb of the apostle was discovered, they are served fried, with a sprinkle of cooking salt on top, and then one must be ready to guess which ones are hot and which ones are not!
  • Galician stew: rich in protein, it is a hearty dish made with chorizo, bacon, “lacón” (pork’s foreleg), pork’s ears, tails, snout, rib and Galician beef (the latter, with Designation of Origin), as well as chickpeas, potatoes and “grelos” (turnip tops).
  • “Filloas” (pancakes): very similar to Breton crêpes, they are made with flour, water, broth or milk, and optionally pork’s blood, eggs and sugar or honey. A most typical and appreciated sweet dish, especially for “larpeiros” (those with a sweet tooth).