Galician Gastronomy

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The main attraction of Galician gastronomy is its variety, to the extent that is difficult to say which regional dish is the most typical. If there is something common to all the dishes, however, it is the style of cooking; loving and relaxed, abundant and varied. The same product can be prepared with different recipes, and has a characteristic taste in every different place. It could be said that Galician cuisine is a classic cuisine, in the sense of achieving its purpose with basic elements, and instinctive combinations.

The lacon con grelos (boiled pork with rapini) is one of the most typical dishes that is eaten during the cold months, from November until the Tuesday of Carnival. Potatoes and chorizo are added to the pork and full rapini. Another important dish is the cocido gallego (Galician casserole), made with ham beef and chicken, chorizo , with rapini or cabbage, potatoes and chickpeas. In the depths of winter, and especially during Christmas, one of the most savoured meats is the capon, born in April and carefully fattened one month before slaughter.

Pies deserve a special chapter. There are all kinds of pies, but one of their common qualities is the softness and lightness of the pastry, especially in the coastal areas. The filling is always stuffed with saffron, pepper, onion and oil.

With regard to fish; there is a lot of variety in the galician cuisine, most of them are caught inside the rias or near the coast. Hake, turbot, seabass, grouper, sole and others are prepared in several different ways. Grilled, a la gallega, in caldeirada (galician casserole) and others. Among the river fish, we can mention the trout, salmon, eel and lamprey.

If we think of shellfish and seafood, then we have shrimp, or squid, fried or cooked in their ink, the velvet crab, or the goose barnacles as an appetiser. Then we have those that are eaten raw, like oysters or little clams. Another group of shellfish which makes a main course are the spiny spider crab, the lobster, the European lobster, prawns, scallops, clams and mussels in a variety of sauces. And let's not forget the octopus, which is eaten in all the fairs and festivities of Galicia. The octopus a feira , boiled, cut, and served with paprika , salt and oil is a very well known dish at every social event.

Finally, we can't finish our brief sojourn through Galician gastronomy without mentioning the fresh cheeses like the typical 'tetilla' cheese, and desserts like the orella (ear), which is associated with the festivity of the 'antroido' (carnival), the delicious filloas (pancakes), or the equally delicious 'tarta de Santiago'.

By Luis González- Vigo.