Jamón, it’s Spain’s equivalent of proscuitto. Except that I think I like Jamón better.
Where the south of Spain has olive trees, the north is blanketed by oak. The fruit of an oak tree of course is an acorn. In a type of if-life-hands-you-lemons-make-lemonade sentiment, acorns are fed to hogs which produce jamon. The degree to which acorn mae up a swine’s diet dicatates the quality of the jamón. Subsisting on pure acorn meal is the difference between 7 euro per kilogram and 100 euro.
Charcuterie enthusiasts will delight; jamón is found on most menus and even hotel breakfast buffets.
Calabres is a strong flavoured blue cheese specific to Asturias. It is aged for 2-5 months in natural limestone caves. Eat with a cracker or baguette, topped with fruit preserve.
Tapas bars are a foodie’s playground and the presentation, a photographer’s muse. Tapas in Santiago de Compostela was heavy on seafood and shellfish. My favourite? Creamy crab salads piled high on toasted baguette topped with slices of dill pickle.
Drop every notion of cider you have. While crafted from apples, Asturian cider is incomparable to American or Canadian varieties. Considerably less sweet, it’s tart…bitter even. Did I love it? No. Do I think it’s an acquired taste? Yes. You have to understand though, the cider is beloved by Asturians. From the dramatic way it is poured to its role in socializing, you can’t travel through the region without sipping some ‘sidre’.
You’ll find this staple across northern Spain. A melange of seafood and shellfish, it’s a hearty and comforting entree.