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Favorite Foods on the Camino Frances

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
#1
A food recommendation by Javier on another post got me to thinking -- there are lots of special opportunities to try new foods or regional specialties on the Camino, and wouldn't it be nice to hear other people's special food memories and have some tips on food favorites to look out for when you're hungry and in need of calories after walking?

Here are a couple of mine:

Trucha a la navarra -- Only available during the beginning part, assuming you start in St. Jean or Roncesvalles. This is trout, comes whole, with some ham/bacon inside to flavor the fish. I was one of those squeamish Americans who had never dissected a whole fish before, but go for it, you'll learn quickly.

Queixo o Cebreiro con miel -- The local white fresh cheese, not cured, served with local honey. We have had it several times in the Celta Venta in O Cebreiro. So yummy! (And by the way, does anyone have information on this place -- the Basque woman from Bilbao who had bought the Celta Venta about 5 years ago was trying to sell it about two years ago when we were back -- I thought she had a great food system -- serve lots of caldo gallego and tortilla espanola -- kept it simple and good and filling).

Caldo Gallego -- a great soup, with greens and white beans and some sausage usually. Can some of you elaborate on the most typical ingredients? Are the greens "grelos" and if so, what's their closest relative? Turnip greens, mustard greens, kale and swiss chard have all been suggested to me. I confess I confuse Caldo Gallego with its Portuguese cousin, Caldo Verde.

I'm sure there are lots more!
 

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sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
#2
Peregrina food

Spanish food seems to be passionately carnivorous so for this pernickity vegetariano peregrina it was a diet of cheese bocadillos (pan e queso), ensalada - eaten only after a thorough examination for signs of tuna which the Spanish don't class as fish (perhaps because it comes out of a tin) - and 'sopa de ajo' which to me is a perfect pilgrim food.
Dessert was usually the ubiquitous 'Flan' or 'arroz con leche' a rice pudding. Vegetarians beware - the delicious looking "tarta de manteca" is actually a cake of pure lard!
I have only walked el camino in Springtime and was blessed with cherries, strawberries and figs but I am hoping that the harvests of autum will provide a wide variety of fruits and vegetables.
¡buen apetito!
 

pippi

New Member
#3
Octopus! The octopus at Ezequiel's Pulperia in Melide was amazing! It's probably my favorite meal from the whole trip. It was the only thing that made stopping in Melide worthwhile.
 

Minkey

Active Member
#4
When in Galicia, Pulpo! Has to be done!

I know I always seem to bang on about it, but one of my favourite places to stay is Foncebadon. The albergue on the left of the street does some lovely empenadas and tortilla.

I like to get some tapas for lunch from some bar and then tend to drift off for a menu somewhere cheap.

There's a fab place in Santiago that does some really nice food, but I can't remember what it was called! I know where it is though (even though I can't remember the street name)... so if anyone knows that clean, trendyish looking restaurant in Santiago that serves a pilgrim menu (with a lovely fish chowder which had spider crab in it) then post it on here!

Oh... and I agree about your comments on Melide. Horrible place!
 
#5
Of course:

In Navarra:

- Pimientos de Piquillo
- Esparragos
- Wines from Navarra

In Logroño

- Wines from La Rioja

In Burgos:

- Morcillas
- Wines from La Rioja, too.

In León:

- "Botillo"
- Cecina (ham from cows)
- Cocido Maragato (Astorga Area)
- Wines from Ribera del Duero.
- Wines from El Bierzo.
- Good Orujos.

Cebreiro:

- Queso de Cebreiro (Cebreiro Cheese)

In Galicia;

- Pote Gallego
- Caldo Gallego
- Pimientos de Padrón
- Pulpo
- Empanada
- Ribeiro Wines
- Albariño Wines
- Queimada
- Orujos

There's a lot of special food that is possible to taste in big areas, like the purrusalda (Vasque Country, Navarra, Rioja), but it's just an example because the spanish gastronomy is specially rich, with a big variety. Different kind of cheeses, deserts, liquors, anywhere.

When you have to take lunch or dinner walking the Camino and you find the "Menú del Peregrino", sometimes it's just any pasta (spaguetti, etc) and some meat, but if you pay just a bit else you possibly can enjoy a much better local lunch or dinner.

The most famous example is Ezequiel in Melide. But it's possible to enjoy better octopus in other places in Galicia, but this is the most famous, of course.

Buen Camino,

Javier Martin
Madrid, Spain.
 

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sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
#6
Food on the Camino

And chocolate in Astorga!
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
#8
Food in Santiago

...and Caprichos! Yummy!
 

oursonpolaire

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
#9
May I endorse Javier`s suggestion that a few more euros up from the menu de peregrino will provide much delight and bring one great memories of Spanish cuisine? I found in many places that the menu de dia, one of Franco's achievements, is to be commended. As well, paying a small supplement (1-2 euro) for queso de pais for your dessert was a nice way to end a meal.

Asking for the vino de pais was not always a good idea. On my last Camino I was presented with bottles of vino joven, which removed the need to floss for weeks on end.

Still, there is little better than sitting at a table at a café on a small town's plaza, with a plate of grilled shrimp or pulpo and a bottle of albarino in front of you, the night still and the sky indigo blue, the warmth still radiating from the paving stones.
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
#11
Cup cakes

Aaaa...... Minkey .... I think Magdalenas are Saints and Madelenas are cup cakes!
 
#12
Re: Cup cakes

Yeeeeesssssss, all things you say and much more ... because to buy in a food store some madalenas, galletas, bizcochos, embutido, cheeses ... it's a really pleasure for taste sense.

Buy always there's a problem, the prize. And, although we can pay for it, the spirit of the pilgrim is not to spend more than necessary ... but I agree, sometimes it's interesting to spend a couple of euros more to enjoy a meal much better.

I've fond a lot of pilgrims taking lunch in expensive restaurants and sleeping in the albergue, not in a hotel. Why? Because the spirit of pilgrimage in a albergue. But they want to enjoy the delicious gastronomy.

Javier Martin
Madrid, Spain.
 
#13
Re: Cup cakes

I forgot it, and chocolates, and whatever-with-chocolate-made.

By the other side, it's very normal to find paella in the menu del peregrino. Usually is not a good paella. If you want a good paella, it's better to ask for it in a arrocería and to pay for it.

The tortilla de patatas (potato omelette) is posible to enjoy everywhere. With or without onions (I prefer it with) and with too many things you can imagine. Spanish cuisine, you know.

Buen and sabroso Camino,

Javier Martin
Madrid, Spain.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
#14
I had forgotten about some of these culinary delights!

Thanks for mentioning the peppers, Javier -- I've had great meals involving both the pequillo and padron peppers. The red pequillo peppers are often on menus as "starters" (entradas) and stuffed with crab or other fish/seafood, usually with a white sauce. The small green padron peppers are from, not surprisingly, Padron (on the camino portugues), where Santiago's boat is said to have arrived. Those plates of grilled little peppers with nothing but salt and olive oil are one of the camino's best offerings, in my opinion.

I agree with the suggestion about trying the local cheeses -- it wasn't till my second camino that I tried the queso de Arzua and now look forward to it very much. And if you are really a cheese lover, that alone is reason enough to walk the Camino del norte or the primitivo because of their long stretches in Asturias.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
#16
One little observation about the menu del dia, particularly for those who are not enamored of filete con patatas (beef with french fries). I've never had a problem ordering two first courses as my choices for the menu del dia. There are usually protein sources in the first course choices, such as tuna in the ensalada mixta, meat in the soups and plates of vegetables, etc. As others have noted, it's the vegetarians who have the most trouble.
 
#17
the best potatoes ever

There is a little place in Leon in St. Martins Square on the right side that has the best potatoes I EVER! They have some kind of blue cheese sauce poured all over them. You can order a racione of them or just get the tapas by ordering a beer. No menu del dia here but still, all the food was great!
 
#18
food

I have to admit that I was not too impressed with meals at restaurants (menu del dia or menu de peregrino). Some were certainly better than others, but all of them had a tendency to be horrifically greasy. And french fries are NOT my favourite side order, in fact I never make them at home. I don't see why then can't offer rice or something else.

But as for grocery foods, fantastic. We only ate out a few times, and lived mostly on bread, cheese, salchichon, pimientos de piquillo... olives... tuna... One of our favourites was palmeras, and my BF was mad about the madalenas, we had bags of them. Obviously the wine... If I had a place to cook (grill, kitchen), I would love it in Spain, the ingredients looked superb. The seafood!!!
 
#19
food

And the best thing we had, in my opinion, was an empanada with meat from a small bakery in Sarria. It was INCREDIBLE! When we were driving back from Santiago, we stopped there again and bought another one, this time with tuna. I liked the meat one better, but both were really fantastic. It's right on the Camino shortly after coming into Sarria, on a corner. It looks rather modern from the outside. The empanada costs 4 Euros and made a fantastic, very filling meal for 2.
 
#21
Food

Yeah, but I'm a gourmet. I love cooking and tasting and savouring new flavours and tastes. So for me it was good fuel, but I was hoping for a better culinary experience.
 

Ulysse

Active Member
#22
My best food discoveries were : Morcillas in Burgos, pulpo a la feira in Lavacolla and red wines of the Rioja and some in Navarra. :lol:

One can hardly call the CF a gourmet experience ! :wink:

Food is reduced to its most basic level: fuel as Minkey puts it. I never thought I would consider eating on the same level as a stop at the service station. :roll:

This being said, the Camino is such an experience on other levels that I put good eating habits on hold for a month.
 
#23
food

Sure. We didn't really expect to wine and dine en route.

It was a general observation for Spain in general, because we spent 5 days travelling back along the camino and then down to Tarragona (by car) and it didn't get any better, regardless of whether the meal cost 10 EUR or 30 EUR. It was always greasy fries :?
 
#24
Any of their fine chorizos and jamon serrano. Cheeses are great in Spain. But the one thing I am so looking forward to having is Chocolate con Churros!!!!!!!!!!!! :wink:
With Love
Lillian
 
#25
All this talk of food has brought the Camino memories flooding back.

The most memorable one was eating pulpo in an out door market in the old castle in Sarria. The octopus was dragged out of a huge copper vat and then someone with asbestos hands cut it up and served it immediately (see photo on http://www.kidsoncamino.com). Washed down with a “robust” red it was a stellar meal. Even out 16 month old couldn’t get enough (sans wine of course). This was our first and best pulpo experience.

At our feast of St James we wont be serving pulpo. Some things belong on the Camino and that’s one that can never be replicated.

Buen Camino
 

Minkey

Active Member
#26
Klarita, I love food too... But essentially, the Camino ain't supposed to be a lavish trip, is it? (unless you decide to stay in the Paradors along the way!)
 
#27
Re: food

regardless of whether the meal cost 10 EUR or 30 EUR. It was always greasy fries

It depends on what you order ... it depends on where you order it ... but sometimes is better to ask for a menu of 10 euros.

Many restaurants offer you the menu daily except on sunday. Then you have to order your meal "a la carta", much expensive, usually better but not always.

To take a "normal" meal on the Camino, it's enough a 10 euros one. To take a "better" one, you sometimes can choose a 15-20 euros menu.

Buen Camino,

Javier Martin
Madrid, Spain.
 

miamijhp

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2011 Francés
#28
Javier Martin said:
Of course:

In Navarra:

- Pimientos de Piquillo
- Esparragos
- Wines from Navarra

In Logroño

- Wines from La Rioja

In Burgos:

- Morcillas
- Wines from La Rioja, too.

In León:

- "Botillo"
- Cecina (ham from cows)
- Cocido Maragato (Astorga Area)
- Wines from Ribera del Duero.
- Wines from El Bierzo.
- Good Orujos.

Cebreiro:

- Queso de Cebreiro (Cebreiro Cheese)

In Galicia;

- Pote Gallego
- Caldo Gallego
- Pimientos de Padrón
- Pulpo
- Empanada
- Ribeiro Wines
- Albariño Wines
- Queimada
- Orujos

There's a lot of special food that is possible to taste in big areas, like the purrusalda (Vasque Country, Navarra, Rioja), but it's just an example because the spanish gastronomy is specially rich, with a big variety. Different kind of cheeses, deserts, liquors, anywhere.

When you have to take lunch or dinner walking the Camino and you find the "Menú del Peregrino", sometimes it's just any pasta (spaguetti, etc) and some meat, but if you pay just a bit else you possibly can enjoy a much better local lunch or dinner.

The most famous example is Ezequiel in Melide. But it's possible to enjoy better octopus in other places in Galicia, but this is the most famous, of course.

Buen Camino,

Javier Martin
Madrid, Spain.
Looking to an old post I found I like Javier Martin's taste for "food", specially,

Wines from Navarra,
Wines from La Rioja,
Wines from Ribera del Duero.
Wines from El Bierzo.
Good Orujos.
Ribeiro Wines
Albariño Wines
Queimada
and more Orujos

Buen CAmino. Jorge
 

na2than

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2012)(2013)
#29
Manjego cheese....the king of spanish cheeses,not to be confused with iberico....similar to manjego but with cows milk added to give creamyness.
My experience is that Leon and Bourgos are food / gastro hotspots

Whilst the maxim of "all things in moderation" should govern our actions.....lets remember that the camino is a vacation to many...a first trip to europe for many,and a chance to explore Spanish food and culture for all.Our esteemed American and antipodean friends are spending thousands to do the camino...and not all for religous/spiritual reasons....so we must all find our way
 

Whalleyranger

Moderator
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Jul-Aug 05, Frances, Jul-Aug 06, Portugues, Oct 2010
#30
Queso manchego con membrillo is my favourite desert. It's hard, salty cheese with quince jelly, which sounds awful but really isn't.
 

anniethenurse

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances.Vasco del Interior.Camino Finisterre& Muxia. Camino Portugues. Ruta del Ebro.
#31
Queso de O Cebreiro con miel!
 
#33
If you have been walking all day and want something to eat NOW you dont go for esoteric food you go for something quick, my favourite - Tortilla bocadillo. Tastes great and fills you up (for a bit)

Ron
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
#34
Annie -- Did you eat the queixo o Cebreiro with honey at a little place in O´Cebreiro called Celta Venta?

And trumpy, I remember some pretty great tortilla bocadillos. There is one in particular at the truck stop coming into Villafranca de los Montes de Oca that I remember with great smacking of lips. It was years ago, but I wonder if they´re still serving those great spanish tortilla bocadillos.

Happy food memories!
 

MCVet

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Walked (2012)
#35
What's the worry with Salmonella, E. coli, and other fun pathogens of that nature? Had a doctor's appointment yesterday to get some vaccinations before I go and he made it sound like food poisoning is a common thing over there.
 

anniethenurse

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances.Vasco del Interior.Camino Finisterre& Muxia. Camino Portugues. Ruta del Ebro.
#36
Laurie, I don´t remember the name of the restaurant but it was the one the opposite of the tienda. My favorite postre.
Buen Camino to You!
annie
 

catherinemccoy

Catherine McCoy
Camino(s) past & future
2011 Camino Frances
#37
Although there are so many favorites on the Camino, my #1 favorite food moment each day was that 1st stop in the morning in the smallest, quaintest little villages, for cafe con leche with one of those chocolate filled croissants!
 

tyrrek

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-SdC (4-5/2011), Ferrol-SdC (9/2011), Pamplona-SdC (3-4/2012), Camino Finisterre (10/2012), Ourense-SdC (5/2014)
#38
I got this fantastic thing in Viana - no idea what it's called - but it's toasted bread with mayonaise, topped with a battered tomato slice, some ham, and another battered tomato slice. It was really nice, although possibly not the healthy option.

Buen Camino!

p.s. Good to see Catherine McCoy back. Anyone who can put their hand in a bear's mouth and still smile has my respect.
 

robertt

Active Member
#39
Whenever I see bacalao on the menu I tend to go for it. Best version was - no surprise - Basque style, in a Pamplona restaurant in mid-winter. It was not the usual Viscaina recipe but a subtle winter stew dressed with salty boiled egg and other unusual odds and ends.

Those Basques have their own special way with everything!
 

efdoucette

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2011 Camino Frances
2012 Porto
2013 Le Puy
2014 Francigena
2015 - 2018 More ...
#40
catherinemccoy said:
Although there are so many favorites on the Camino, my #1 favorite food moment each day was that 1st stop in the morning in the smallest, quaintest little villages, for cafe con leche with one of those chocolate filled croissants!
Agreed, 100% the best.
 

scruffy1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Holy Year from Pamplona 2010, SJPP 2011, Lisbon 2012, Le Puy 2013, Vezelay (partial watch this space!) 2014; 2015 Toulouse-Puenta la Reina (Arles)
#42
Walking into Logrono past that potato processing plant put me off of patatas fritas and patatas bravos for most of the rest of the Camino. My favorite? The albóndigas made by those three sisters in the restaurant just across the way from the albergue in Hornillos. Hint-they do not have enough sitting space for everyone if the albergue is full and they do not save food from day to day. The second seating gets all that’s left, I was given a plate with 22 meatballs! Mde a nice bocadillo for the next day!
 
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