The Camino de Santiago, north of Spain.
Pilgrim route or gastronomic paradise?
When you start walking the Camino de Santiago at Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port in France, and across the Pyrenees to Navarra in Spain. You definitely realized that you are in a stunning environment with amazing quality of products. If you love food like me, this is a journey that you should definitely do one day. Let me take you for a 780 km walk where we will discover different regions, people and flavors.
On your first days, close to the mountains, you are going to find lamb stews, river trout dishes and stunning quality of cheese and vegetables. You are in Navarra, one of the Rioja Wine lands so it’s a no-brainer that a glass of beautiful red should be your choice. If liqueurs are your thing you should try a glass of “Pacharán” on ice, I’m sure that it will definitely warm you up.
Then we leave the province of Navarra, and enter La Rioja. Where the cuisine has a great variety of local vegetables and pulses. You should try the stews made with fava beans and chorizo, the cod dishes La Rioja style or even the amazing vegetarian options. Wine-wise keep digging into the Rioja Wines, you are in the perfect place.
Now its time to leave to the Province of Burgos, entering the community called Castille and León, the largest by the way of the Spanish Autonomous Regions. Burgos has a unique climate and delicious local specialties. Like the suckling slow-roasted lamb in a wood-fired oven and the famous local black pudding.
For cheese lovers don’t miss the white soft cheese from here. That cheese, with a little bit of honey can be a perfect snack anytime. Drink-wise go definitely for a glass of Ribera del Duero wine, It won´t disappoint you!
Next, we leave the province of Burgos and enter Palencia. The cuisine does not change much here. However, after a long day walking you may need a soup. And here are quite popular, due to the low temperatures during winter. The Sopa de Ajo, or Castillian Garlic Soup with a hearty glass of red wine will sort your dinner out for sure.
Finally, we across from León into Galicia. Get ready because this is definitely the destination for freshly-caught seafood like mussels, scallops, crabs and octopus. And if you have a sweet tooth you should try the almond cake known as Tarta de Santiago. Drinks-wise go for the amazing white wines called Albariño y Riveiro. And as a digestive, try the queimada, a punch made from Galicia aguardiente.
So congratulations! After 30 or 35 days walking around 23 and 27 kilometers per day, you made it! I don’t know if religiously or spiritually you will have found what you were looking for when you started this adventure. But what I’m sure is that you’ll be remembering the flavors of the Camino de Santiago all your life.
Follow the group Camino de Santiago, Australia
Discover San Sebastian
The number 1 food destination in the world.
San Sebastian, or Donostia, as it is called in the Basque language, sits on the Cantabrian coast, is a stone’s throw from the French border and is a cultural centre of the ancient and fiercely proud Basque Country – Pais Vasco.
To get your planning started, we have compiled some highlights:
Beaches: The crescent-shaped La Concha is the most famous, but the wild surf beach of Playa Zurriola is less touristy and worth the short walk out of town. Consider visiting when the international Jazz Festival sets up stages along the beachfront on the second fortnight in July.
Pintxos: Spot-lit bars heaving with platters of delicacies are found on every street in the old town. A bar hop along Juan de Bilbao Kalea will satisfy your hunger.
Local wine: While you are bar hopping, make sure you sample the local white wine, Txakoli. You will pay under 2 euros a glass and it goes perfectly with the local seafood.
Mid-range food: You are spoilt for choice, but we love A Fuego Negro in the old town. They do a modern take on the pintxo bar, with plenty of their own style thrown in. They also serve the best tortilla española.
Michelin-star: The highest concentration of Michelin star restaurants are right here. If you have time to book in advance, consider Akelarre, Arzak, Martín Berasategui or Mugaritz.
Best view: It’s not well signposted, but a little sign at the southern end of La Concha beach will take you to a funicular that carries you up to a tiny fun park on the hilltop of Monte Igeldo. The rides are fun and the view is the best it gets.
Links to get you started: