Restaurants, bars, “pulperías” (octopus restaurants) or grillrooms are just some of the kinds of eating establishments in the surroundings of Santiago. The abundance of names gives us an idea of gastronomy’s importance in the entire area.
Regardless of the type of establishment, the surroundings of Santiago exemplify all the traditional and gastronomic richness of Galician cuisine, admired due to the magnificent quality of its ingredients, from the water and the land, ranging from the most traditional to the most innovative. Therefore, gastronomy is undoubtedly one of the main attractions of this area surrounding Santiago.
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The land produces delicious vegetables, among which “grelos” (turnip tops), potatoes and, above all, “pementos de Padrón” (green peppers) stand out. There are also chestnuts, mushrooms and exquisite apples, which are used to make artisanal cider; as well as local Albariño wines, included in the “RíasBaixas – SubzonaRibeira do Ulla” designation of origin, and eau-de-vie of outstanding quality, which is traditionally used to round off meals and can be enjoyed in herb and coffee liqueurs, etc. Eau-de-vie is also used in the famous “queimada,” in which eau-de-vie is flamed along with sugar, orange or lemon rinds and coffee beans, while a spell is recited to ward off the spells of “meigas” (witches) and “trasnos” (elves).
The hundreds of rivers flowing through the area provide renowned salmon, trout and lamprey, which are featured in the menus of restaurants in Compostela, Padrón and Rois during the fishing season.
The Santiago area also produces well-known Galician veal, which provides barbecued meat, sirloin and T-bone steaks of considerable tenderness and size; as well as chicken, which has two gastronomic festivals in the area, in O Pino and Vila de Cruces respectively.
For its part, Spanish omelette made with free-range eggs also has a special place in the area’s menus, especially in Silleda and Padrón, both of which host annual gastronomic events.
However, the main protagonist is pork, which appears in dishes such as “uñas” (trotters), “lacón con grelos” (cured ham forelegs served with potatoes, chorizo and tender turnip tops) or “cocido galego” (Galician stew), which combines fresh meat, chicken, chorizo, ham foreleg, salted ribs, fresh lard, pig’s ears and snout with potatoes, chickpeas and turnip tops.
“Morcilla” (blood sausage) and chorizo can also be found in the filling of “filloas”, which appear in Galician gastronomy in time for the slaughter season and Carnival festival, served on their own or accompanying stew. “Filloas” are fine crepes made with flour, and are also popular in their sweet version.
“Xamón” (ham) and other pork products combine perfectly with the area’s magnificent cheeses. There is a wide range since Santiago is surrounded by fine cheese producers, who make cheeses such as those of Arzúa-Ulloa or “queso de tetilla,” which has a mild taste due to its short maturing period and is unmistakable because of its conical shape; both cheese have their own protected designation of origin.
Bread and “empanadas” (pies), ever present in Galicia and of great quality, feature prominently in the area, especially in traditional markets.
For dessert, it is worth mentioning an important contribution that Compostela has made to Galician gastronomy: “tarta de Santiago” (almond cake), which is also made in the surroundings. The area of Santiago also stands out due to its production of “Miel de Galicia” (Galician honey), with its own protected geographical indication, and traditional confectionery: “melindres,” “ricos,” “almendrados,” “rosquillas”…