Cuisine of Castilla y León
Castilla y León is referred to as "España del Asado" or "Spain of the Roast".
Castilla y León also offers a wide variety of high quality meats, like chorizo and ham. Guijuelo cured ham and spiced sausages are excellent and very well-known. Roast lamb, goat and pig are the favorites along stews and cured meats.
Cordero Asado (Roast Lamb) stands out as one of the main dishes of the region. If you like lamb, try visiting the area between Segovia, Soria and Burgos. Roast lamb is usually cut into large pieces with lard spread over it and basted with salted water while roasting in an earthenware dish. Cochinillo Asado (Roast Suckling Pig) can be found in the area of Segovia, Arevalo and Penaranda de Bracamonte. The standard requirement to qualify as a suckling pig are that the pig be between 15 and 20 days old and weigh between 3 and 4 kg. La Cecina, a traditional product of León, is de-boned beef which has been slowly smoked and cured to produce a succulent, aromatic meat. Each piece weighs between 4 and 10 kg. Guijuelo hams (Jamón de Guijuelo) that have at least 50% Iberian blood, began receiving Denominación de Origen Guijuelo in 1986. Average weight is 4.5 kg, and they usually have a sweet, slightly salty flavour with greasy, shiny fat.
Stews are common dishes in households and restaurants. Historicaly this area has relied on the chickpea (garbanzo bean) as one of the basic foods and it is the main ingredient of Castilian stews along with cabbage, morcilla (blood sausage) and meat.
Castilla y León is also known for its wonderful bread. In ancient times the Celtic people who inhabited what is now Spain were already making something similar to modern day bread. Later, Iberian people used beer to leaven their bread. The tradition of the communal oven, where all members of the community were allowed to bake bread, lived on into the 20th century!
Many sweets are made from traditional recipes, originating in old monasteries and convents. Some of the names are: lazos de San Guillermo (bow-shaped pastries), yemas de Santa Teresa (a sweet made with egg yolk), toscas de la Virgen, bizcochos de San Lorenzo (sponge cakes) and virutas de San José (fritters).
The majority of the cheese produced in Castilla y León is made with sheeps milk (85%), without artificial treatments, pasteurizing, or sterilizing of any kind. After an aging period of at least 6 months, the result is a yellow cheese with a strong fragrance and flavour.
Wines of Castilla y León
Denominaciones de Origen in Castilla y León
- Cigales - the most well-known of this variety is the rosé
- Bierzo - hearty reds
- Ribera del Duero - fruity & full-bodied reds
- Rueda - mostly young, white wines
- Toro - fruity wines
The most prestigious of the 5 Denominaciones de Origen in Castilla y León, is Ribera del Duero. The Regulating Council of D.O. Ribera del Duero works to promote its wines on both a national and international level. The Duero Valley is located approximately 850 m above sea level, with temperatures reaching 40ºC during the day and dropping substantially at night. The extreme conditions only allow for one season for producing grapes per year, a great part of the success of Ribera del Duero is due to the grape variety Tempranillo La Riojan, which has adapted to the conditions to produce fruity, full-bodied, colorful wines.