Sunday, 13 October 2013

Asturias – Food again! (Yum yum)

I cannot repeat enough times how great the food is in Asturias! It’s just so good up here that I have to write another blog about it and introduce you to some more.

Let´s start with a very famous dish that I have already mentioned but I need to write about it in detail: the cachopo. The name in Asturias refers to two large steaks and jamón and cheese in between. They coat the whole thing so it’s breaded and crispy and serve it hot, with the melted cheese pouring out while you cut it up on a bed of chips. This is the original recipe. From this many other kinds of cachopo evolved and only by changing the type of cheese you use you can have 40 different varieties. For the steak you can use fish, chicken or pork and the stuffing can range from cheese, mushrooms, seafood or even asparagus, the possibilities are endless.

Cachopo is probably the most popular dish at the moment and the people of Asturias have whole conversations about where have they had the latest, which type, any new variations and most of all, the size. Cachopo is HUGE, so big that the restaurants in Oviedo compete with each other who can serve the biggest ones. The largest steak served was 50m wide!

The dish is actually so popular that there is a group called the Brotherhood of Cachopo or The Cachopers in the town of Aviles who go around on Vespas to taste this precious dish. There are many blogs, Facebook sites and food festivals dedicated to the celebration of this meal.

It originates from Asturias but due to its success in the last few years it is now available all over Spain, why, only in Madrid there are at least 30 restaurants! Why is that? Apart from being the most scrumptious meal you ever eat the price is also tempting, we had an ‘original’ for 18 euros and it was enough for us for two full meals! It means 3-4 people can stuff themselves silly with steak for less then 4 euros each (maybe only 2 with Americans).

We tried it at Casa Pedro on Calle Asturias that is while it might not rated as the best restaurant in Oviedo it’s definitely one of the best cachopo restaurants in town according to more than one websites.

The next dish on the list is the Fabada. I’ve already talked about the Fabada con Chorizo here however there’s another variation on the menus in Asturias and it is the Fabada con Almejas. The meal is exactly the same, a bean stew made of the big ‘faba’ beans, however instead of the overwhelming taste of chorizo in this there are shells. They give it a certain fishy taste and we actually prefer this variation to the chorizo one.

Next up is the zamburiñas. These shells can only be found in Northern Spain (and Madrid, of course) as they don’t inhabit the Mediterranian sea. They are actually very tasty!

The most typical Asturian dessert is the Arroz con leche or rice with milk, best known as rice pudding. As everybody is familiar with this dish I show you something more special: the tocinillo. When you ask the waiter he will say it’s a flan but it’s not true. The texture is more like a panacotta and it’s served with ice cream. Usually you only get a tiny portion because it’s just so SWEET I could feel my teeth getting a sugar attack! If you have a sweet tooth then this is definitely a dessert for you!

Finally a tip for breakfast. It is quite common at the Spanish restaurants to serve a breakfast menu for a few euros that consists of coffee, a pastry, usually croissant and zumo natural or fresh orange juice. It already sounds tempting, doesn’t it? It gives you just the right amount of sugar, caffeine and health to start your day. But here in Asturias we were given an option to get our croissants ‘a la plancha’ or grilled. You get the still warm halves, coat them with butter and jam and bite into pure deliciousness.

Yum yum!

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