Known as the magical land of castles, Castilla y Leon is the region that gave birth to the Spanish language, the legendary hero El Cid and Saint Teresa of Avila. It is a land where ancient history, myth and legend have become so intertwined that it is hard to separate reality from fairytales. Castilla y Leon is home to some of Spain’s most magnificent buildings and stunning scenery such as the walls of Avila, the cathedral of Burgos, the University of Salamanca and the aqueduct of Segovia.
The Cuisine of Castilla y Leon
The spectacular gastronomy of Castilla y Leon is an expression of this history, culture and landscape. Traditional foods such as complex asados (roasts), magical potajes (stews), and spiritual dulces (sweets) coexist with avant-garde recipes using the treasured Iberico fresh meats, delicate cheeses and cheese accompaniments and characteristic vegetables of the region. The foods from Castilla y Leon are just like the people from this region of Spain: solid, authentic, natural, intense and enigmatic. Are you ready to experience more?
Stay Tuned for More on Castilla y Leon
During the next few months, A LA PLANCHA will feature the foods from Castilla y Leon, from Iberico and Serrano ham to artisanal cheeses and traditional tapas foods like the tortilla Española. And of course, we must start with the king of Spain’s cuisine, Iberico ham. We’re not holding back. We’re not saving the best for last. Here it is.
The Treasures of Castilla y Leon
The iconic Jamon Iberico (Iberico ham) is considered one of the world’s culinary treasures together with truffles and caviar. It is made from a pure breed of pig exclusive to Spain called the Iberico pig which ranges freely in an ecosystem characterized by expansive pastureland spotted with Oak and cork trees called la Dehesa. The Iberico pig’s diet of acorns and rich grasses transfers its aromas and flavor to its meat, transforming it into a delicious morsel that melts in your mouth. The taste and texture is different from any other cured meat in the world.
Iberico Ham in a Fairy Tale Kingdom
I recently had the opportunity to travel to La Alberca in Castilla y Leon to visit the home of Fermin, maker of Iberico and Iberico de Bellota hams, as well as Iberico Lomo, Serrano Ham and Serrano Lomo. Yes, I was impressed by the spotless, state of the art facilities, but what really made an impact on me was the family that runs the company and the land they call home.
The three generations of family that run Fermin have a unique relationship with the land. They are well aware of the importance of caring for the land called the Dehesa that gives the Iberico pig life and makes the Iberico Ham what it is.