VLOGS AND BLOGS
MUST-TRY FOODS IN ASTURIAS
BEST FOODS IN ASTURIAS, NORTHERN SPAIN
When you think of Spain, it’s often the tourist hot-spots like Barcelona and Madrid that come to mind – but have you ever heard of Asturias? Real talk, we hadn’t either but this region of Northern Spain is a hidden gem that should definitely be on your radar. Asturias is a natural paradise that has it all, from beaches and national parks to bustling cities with an insane food scene.
The unique landscape and climate explain why the north is known for it’s fresh seafood, huge range of cheeses and authentic ciders. You can feel the love that’s been put into the food, it’s that classic case of simple recipes that have been tried and tested then passed down from generation to generation. Flavours aside, the thing that we loved most was the traditions and techniques of eating and drinking food in Northern Spain that still exist today.
Here are the top 10 must-try foods & drinks in Asturias:
01 — Fabada
Say hello to the most famous and traditional dish in Asturias. Fabada is a type of Spanish stew made from the biggest white beans we’ve ever seen, black pudding, chorizo, pork, ham, onion and sweet paprika. It’s mostly eaten during the cold winter months because it’s hot, rich and super heavy. What makes this dish so special? The magical beans are soaked overnight making the Fabada smooth in texture and creamy in taste. Be warned, this dish will fill you up fast, especially when you’re indulging in a bottle or two of cider like we did! When eating Fabada we were constantly told to ‘be careful’, scary at first, the local warning was just about the addictive flavour and a suggestion to save space for more food to come!
02 — Cider
Drinking cider in Northern Spain quickly became our favourite thing to do, it’s not so much about the drinking, but in this region it’s an unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. We’ll explain the rules of engagement when drinking cider soon, but first – the taste. After you’ve tried cider here you’ll probably feel like you’ve been lied to your whole life in terms of how it should taste. Our tastebuds are used to it being reasonably sweet and bubbly but when its made from pure fermented apples it should be tart and acidic with light carbonation from the way it’s poured. Mind. Blown.
A quick guide to drinking cider in Spain:
• Make sure you get yourself to an authentic local Sideria (Cider Bar)
• Once you’ve ordered a bottle, your waiter will bring it over to your table where there will likely be a ‘pouring station’ which looks like a tall open barrel nearby. Most people panic at this point. What is this contraption? Why is it here? Why are my shoes sticking to the floor?
• This is where it get’s messy. Your waiter will then pour the cider from a full arms length above their head, down onto the walls of a thin glass which is in the other hand about waist height. The barrel is in place to catch any excess sider that misses. In some places they even have special non-slip tiles or powder on the floor to stop the bar turning into a slip n’ slide.
• This technique is the traditional way of serving cider and creates some carbonation within the liquid, interestingly the waiter will use this technique to pour a small amount into your glass only. Your initial thought will probably be similar to ours, ‘um, where’s the rest of my cider dude?’. The feeling of confusion will quickly be replaced by relief when you realise the tradition here is to drink it all in one go. The reason for this is to stop the cider from going flat and changing flavour. Bottoms up!
• The rest is simple, repeat these steps until the bottle is empty and order another! With the cheap price tag (€2 — €5) it’s hard to say no and it genuinely is such an incredible and memorable experience.
03 — Local Cheeses
Welcome to the land of the cheese! This region of Spain is known for it’s dairy products because of all the lush meadows for animals to frolic in. They are the biggest producer of cheese in terms of variety in Europe with over 60 different kinds. It’s everywhere and it’s amazing. Enough said.
04 — Fresh Seafood
Being coastal, Asturias is well known for their fresh seafood dishes. We basically got to try more seafood in 48 hours than we had eaten all year! Some of the stand outs you have to find are battered squid, baked Sea Bass with vapour steamed sauce and Lobster salad with eggplant.
05 — Rice Pudding
If the cheese and cider haven’t already convinced you to pack your bags, then we have no doubt that the Asturian rice pudding will. It’s like a beautiful hybrid between two classics – if crème brulee and rice pudding had a baby, this would be it. It’s crunchy on top and smooth and creamy on the bottom! Do. Not. Miss. This.
06 — Spanish Wine
Although wine is definitely the secondary choice behind cider, it’s still just as good. If you’re visiting Northern Spain you have to try albariño wine. A light, summery drink that pairs perfectly with seafood. It’s super refreshing and sits in the perfect middle ground between sweet and acidic.
07 — Coffee & Snack Combo
Often you’ll walk past cafes and see a bunch of different snacks on top of a counter where locals grab a quick bite and a coffee around 11am. Generally, it’s a slice of Spanish Omelette or cured ham and cheese sandwich, but there’s sometimes other options as well. Meals in Spain are often enjoyed ridiculously late by our standards, so this quick pick-me-up during the mid morning is the perfect snack to tide you over / save you from starving to death as a tourist! Another simple tradition that’s stuck within the region and we highly suggested you experience.
08 — Spanish Omelette
Speaking of Spanish Omelettes… You’re probably wondering what the difference is between a regular omelette and a Spanish omelette. The answer is in the ingredients and cooking method. Made from egg, potato and onion, the Spanish omelette is thick and more like a frittata. Although unlike a frittata, the Spanish omelette is flipped and continues to cook on the stovetop rather than being put in the oven.
09 — Tapas
We already mentioned the meats and cheese, so it’s a given that the tapas are epic in the North too. From cured meats to every kind of cheese your heart desires, they know what’s up when it comes to Tapas. Our favourite was called the ‘Pregnant Chorizo’ – basically small bits of chorizo baked inside a little round bite size piece of bread. Quirky name, but the the taste was magical.
10 — Coffee
Walking the streets of Oviedo the alleyways are lined with chairs and tables for people to enjoy a quick coffee at any time of the day or night. This is something that most of Europe does well, social al fresco coffee culture. And we’re into it, in a big way. We’re huge coffee lovers but we also love the experience that goes with it. Even after you finish a meal you’re often asked if you’d like a coffee, so you can keep chit-chatting into the early hours.
That wraps up our top 10 foods & drinks you have to try when you visit Asturias, Northern Spain. To be honest, it was hard to squeeze this list down to 10. This region has so much to offer, even beyond the food there are so many reasons why Asturias should be added to your bucket list!
CHECK BACK SOON FOR OUR VIDEOS (coming soon)
— Dane & Stacey
* Disclaimer: We were invited by Turismo Asturias & Spain Tourism to experience Northern Spain and share what it has to offer. As always, all views & opinions are our own.