Galician food is normally served plain and simple. The emphasis is on the quality of the product and the sheer variety of it from shellfish and seafood to meats and vegetables etc. This is only a short introduction to the gastronomy of Galicia mainly focusing on food as wines are dealt with separately under Wines of Galicia. There can be doubt that given the quality and value for money of dishes, Galicia is one of the top regions in Spain to eat out and therefore, arguably, a culinary centre of European and international importance!
There are over 80 varieties of saltwater fish; sea bass, sole, hake, turbot, sardines etc; over half a dozen varieties of fresh water fish; salmon, trout, lamprey, elver etc; a dozen crustaceans barnacle, lobster, crab etc; almost twice as many shellfish oysters, mussels, clams, cockles, scallops (emblem of St. James Way) etc; 15 meats beef, lamb, pork, rabbit etc or more if game is included,18 different vegetables, a dozen wines, 6 brandies and a vast range of delicious cheeses, fruits and desserts.
The local culinary variations reflect the geography of the area. On the coast the emphasis is on seafood and shellfish while inland it’s the local meats; cow, pig, game etc and local river fish; salmon, trout etc. The dishes of the coastal areas most typical include fish stews in large cauldrons "caldeiradas","cocido gallego" (thickly cut bacon) with turnip tops, pasties etc inland. The exact dish served will also vary depending on the season and what the fish catch has brought in for the day.
Some of the best known dishes are octopus á feira (in a copper pan), empanadas (pie/pasty), percebes (goose barnacles), lamprey, Padrón peppers, Raxo/Forza (diced, fried pork), San Simón and the soft, breast-shaped cheeses, the Santiago tart, and filloas (pancakes).
One of the secrets is that the food is prepared in olive oil, the main ingredient in rich Mediterranean diets. Oil, paprika and garlic are combined to make a rich and delicious sauce, which is served both with fish and with vegetables. Merluza (hake) a la gallega is an example.
The rich green landscapes, where cattle graze, provide top-quality, tender red meats. The milks and cheeses are also rich and creamy. There is also a range of succulent pork related local delicacies including roast pork and chorizo (spicy cured sausage). From market gardens, there are delicious tasting vegetables bursting with flavour and variety, to provide the kitchen with key ingredients like the famous Galician potatoes (cachelos), the only ones to possess an appellation d’origine, and turnip tops, both of which are commonly served with a range of dishes.
The wines of Galicia are a divine complement: Albariño, Ribeiro, Valdeorras Monterrei and Ribeira Sacra figure among the best white wines; and there’s the local brandies which are made from marc (pressed grapes) and used in the spectacular tradition known as the queimada, where the liquid is set alight and served at the end of any good meal and to aid digestion!
Lubrigante (european lobster) Langosta (crayfish) Cigala (norwegian lobster) Camaron (shrimp) Santiaguino (slipper lobster) Centolla (spider crab) Buey (edible crab) Necora (velvet swimming crab) Cangrejo (blue crab) Alemeja (clam) Mejillon (mussel) Percebe (goose barnacle) Berberecho (cockle) Navaja (razor clam) Viera (scallop) Zamburina (small scallop) Ostra (oyster)
Atun/Bonito (tuna) Pez Espada (swordfish) Lenguado (sole) Rapante/Meiga (flat fish) Rodaballo (turbot) Bacalao (cod) Raya (ray) Sardina (sardin) Salmon (salmon) Trucha (trout) Lamprea (lamprey) Anguila (european eel)
Pulpo (octopus) Choco (squid) Erizo (sea urchins) Algas (algae)
Ternera Gallega (Galician meat) Lacon Gallega (Galician bacon) Capon de Vilalba (chicken) Charcutereias (meats) – Chorizo (spicy,cured sausage) Morcillo (black pudding) Botelo (tripe) Cacheira (pigs head) Cachucha (salt pig mask)
Filloas (crepes) Orejas (ear-shaped sweet, light pastry) Bandullo (pudding) Bica de Trives (sponge cake) Melindres (aniseed flavoured donut) Torta de Mondonedo (fruitcake) Tarta de Santiago (almond cake) Marron glace (boiled chestnut with sugar and honey)
Queimada – Orujo (brandy)
Do Rias Baixas (Val Do Salnes, Condado do Tea, Rosal, Soutomaior, Ribers do Ulla) Ribeiro Ribeira Sacra Valdeorras Monterrei
Huerta (Market Garden)
Patata (potatoe) Pimientos (peppers) Habas (beans) Grelos (Turnip) Cebolla (onion)
Pan Gallego (Galician breads) Pan de Ousa Pan de Neda Pan de Carral (flour) Pan de Cea (wheat) Pan de Millo (corn) Pan de Centeno (rye)
Galicia is an important organic farming region with a range of certified businesses in the following areas : meats,eggs,milk and dairy products,honey and bee products,canned food and sea products ; wines,ciders and other drinks,other fresh and canned fruit and vegetable products,breads and pastas,oils,algaes and coffee. Further information is availble from Craega.
Summary of Useful Websites