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Castile and Leon: the heart of Spain

Segovia, Salamanca, Avila — these spanish cities UNESCO declared the heritage of mankind.

There are a lot of historical attractions: palaces, cathedrals, castles.

And here fantastic food is served.

“You didn’t do anyone any harm. Innocent and blameless, forgive us, we will eat you now.

And the joy that we will experience will be a consolation to you, ”- Senor Candido ends the prayer and famously chops with the edge of a plate of roasted pig lying in front of him. The meat is so tender that in a minute the whole piglet is cut into pieces. Candido throws a plate on the floor: “For luck!”, Beats the drum, smacks the sound — two old musicians with all their might sing the greatness of the moment.

So every day lunch starts at the most famous restaurant. Segovia Meson de candido.

From here to the central square where the princess was crowned Castile Isabella, five minutes walk. And right in front of the restaurant is a Roman aqueduct built in the 1st century to deliver water to the highest areas of the city.

Place, what to say, trump. But this is not the main thing. Candido-the elder — the father of the current owner of the restaurant — has glorified his establishment and its kind by the selfless service of gastronomy.

All his life he was engaged in catering and cooking, elevated the profession of a cook to the rank of art, received many loud titles and awards.

And for creating a positive image Segovia City Hall erected a monument to him: Candido imprinted in bronze at the time of cutting pigs.

Fried Piglets — Cochinillo — Super Hypermegahit Segovia. They are served in every restaurant in the city, and funny figures adorn the windows of all souvenir shops, cafes, bars and even on the streets. But other dishes are also cooked here: giant beans stewed with pork legs and sausage chorizo ​​(local sausage is considered the best in Spain), fried partridge, baked trout, chicory ice cream, pasta with endive, milk lamb in a wood oven, the famous Castilian soup.

AT Meson de candido we were treated to 15th-century recipe soup: pork fat was heated in a frying pan, garlic was fried to golden brown, thin strips of ham and lightly dried bread were added, fried for two minutes, seasoned with paprika, browned, poured a liter of broth, salted, pepperned, brought until boiling and poured on a bowl, adding to each egg, sewn three minutes in the oven and seasoned with cumin.

Great food for cold winters that are not uncommon in this land.

And on the road here offer hot anise tincture with herbs and sugar — hipograss. First, herbs and anise infused with alcohol, then sugar is added, and before serving, the drink is heated and ignited.

It looks very impressive.

This recipe is also not new — it has been known since Ancient rome, and the hipograss must have been drunk by aqueduct builders in Segovia.

Good to drink anise, go to the square Columbus and watch the sun crawl lazily over the immense fortress hanging over the city Alcazar, and then rapidly dives into the thickets of wheat. Medieval poets called Segovia a stone ship sailing in a sea of ​​wheat fields Castileand.

And by the way, this comparison is relevant in relation to half of the cities in the province.

Manolo got up after dark, splashed cold water on his face, and without breakfast, ran to the university.

Actually, there was nothing to have breakfast with — in the pockets of Manolo the wind had been walking for a week.

It was gloomy and dank in the audience, the room became very heavy during the night, and the lonely torch that smoked in front of the pulpit did not give any light or heat.

Manolo sat down on the cold bench and tried to doze off. An hour remained before the classes began, and during that time it was necessary to warm up the seat properly — then Antonio would give him a couple of coins or cold beef with bread.

So poor university students Salamanca earned their living: when the richer pupils came, the shops were warmed, the poor received wages, and themselves moved to the floor.

University of Salamanca — the oldest in Of spain and one of the oldest and most respected in Europe: it was founded in XIII century.

Studied here Hernan cortez and Ignacio Loyola, taught by the best professors Spain, France, Italy.

As in any university, there was a center of free-thinking and progressive ideas.
So, one of the best teachers of theology Luis de léon translated into Spanish the «Song of Songs» of the king Solomon, which was forbidden by the Inquisition. After serving five years in prison, Louis returned to teaching. On his first lecture on his return half of the university gathered.

Everyone was waiting for some manifesto. Louis cleared his throat, looked at the students, and said, “Well, what did we stop at last time?”

Student life is not only studying and exams, but also parties, carnivals and feasts. In the 16th century, there were so many brothels and taverns in the city, and debauchery and drunkenness among students reached such a level that the king ordered, at least for the duration of the fast, to expel the girls of easy virtue from the city.

But on the first Monday after Easter, they returned to Salamanca, and the students made feasts on this occasion, for which a special pie of hornazo with ham, bacon, chorizo, chicken and boiled eggs was baked in advance. The tradition of Easter parties with ornament exists to this day (although the priestesses of love became much less and no one expels them out of the city).

And pies are sold in all bakeries, so that tourists can also join the tradition.

On ordinary days, students often lie right on the pavement. Plaza Major, playing cards, drinking beer, chewing sandwiches, reading books, sunbathing. Tourists, who have chosen the open verandas of restaurants around the perimeter of the square, stare at the youth with mild envy. In the evening, both of them fill the city’s numerous tapas bars.

AT Salamanca This entertainment is very popular.

Bars offer a variety of tapas appetizers — from classic pinchos and banderillas to modern designs with foam, smoke and other molecular things. Sometimes tapas are served as tapas.

The Spaniards like it, but I somehow remained indifferent — the stew with which we cooked macaroni at the dacha during our student years was no worse.

“Senor, buy the sweetness of Saint Teresa!” — the stout matron, who sells souvenirs, invites me. “Take Saint Yeresa’s Yemas,” a confectionery seller hurries me to help, when I am puzzled, I stop near the shop window with a dozen boxes. “What is this?” — “Oh! — the seller rolls his eyes — this is the main attraction Avila, except for home Teresa«.

The whole city is saturated with the Holy Spirit — in the literal and figurative sense.

On the streets and in stores smells sweet balls Yemas de santa teresa, cooked from egg yolks. And the holy monastery, built on the site of the house where she was born, is a local tourist Mecca. Still would!

Teresa of Avila — the heavenly patron of Spain, the first woman theologian and in fact the first Spanish woman writer. Teresa went down in history as a reformer of the Carmelite order, calling for a return to the original ideals of the order — simplicity and severity.

But in Avila, she is revered as a woman who taught people to be kinder and cleaner. Teresa described her mystical visions in numerous books, and for those who could not read, she simply told a new instructive story every day. Such a Spanish One Thousand and One Nights.

Teresa rallied hundreds of women around her, surrounded them with love, and they, in turn, transferred this love to their families.

And the world has become a little better.

The popularity of Teresa was so great that after her death they invented a special dessert — the sweetest balls.

AT Avile there lived another reformer — poet and mystic Juan de la Cruz.

He continued the work of St. Teresa among men and achieved considerable recognition. But sweets in his honor was not named.

However, in Avile already many good desserts: macaroons, marzipans, biscuits and cupcakes that are baked by nuns, bollo maimon — a type of meringue, candied nuts, all kinds of turron: and volatile, like all nougat, and crumbly, like halvah, resembling kozinaki, fruit pudding and chocolate paste.

The Spaniards adore this sweetness: they say that, for example, at Christmas every inhabitant of the country eats about a kilogram of turron.

Especially a lot of shops with sweets in the old town, surrounded by centuries-old fortress walls. This is the only wall in Spain, entirely preserved from ancient times. In the XIX century, the king issued a decree to demolish all city fortifications, since the wars were left in the past.

But residents Avila there were not enough funds to carry out work on the analysis of 88 towers and 2.5 kilometers of walls.

As a result, everything remained intact to the present day.

And stone ship Avila still floating in the open spaces Castile.

What to try

Agvardente (aguardiente) — grape vodka with a strength of 77 degrees. Reminds Italian grappa.

The bars are usually diluted with water.
Cabrito (cabrito) — fried kid.

By the way, in Chile the word casrito is called corn tortillas, in Mexico — a boy apprentice, and in Peru it means a scapegoat.
Lechazo (lechazo) — milk lamb, roasted in a wood-burning stove.

In Castile and Leone, it is a product with a name that is controlled by origin.
Farino (farinato) — a huge sausage, which is prepared with breadcrumbs, pork fat and spices.

Usually it is served for breakfast with scrambled eggs.
Lechuguino bread — Wheat loaf, which is baked with olive oil before baking, due to which a delicious crisp is obtained.
■ Famous red wines Ribera del Duero and whites of Rueda.
Blood sausages with rice and cumin.

This dish in Castile and Leone is served as a snack.

Sometimes accompanied by chorizo ​​and jamon, but most often solo.

Where to go

■ In a restaurant Don maroro in Salamanca.

Cozy cellar in the central square of the city Plaza mayor It offers all local gastrochites: goat cabrito, lamb cordero, piginillo pig, ham, goat and sheep cheeses, homemade sweets.
■ In the castle in Peñafiel. Above a small pretty town towers the castle, with a bird’s-eye view similar to an aircraft carrier.

After wandering along the walls and towers and admiring the panorama of the city, you can look at the wine museum.
■ In a restaurant Posada la casona in town Monteallegre. Chef Fatima — schoolgirl Ferran Adrià. She criticizes the teacher for turning cooking into a show, while she herself tries to preserve traditions using new technologies.

For example, Fatima’s Castilian soup is served solid.

In Monteallegre specially come to look at the stars.

From the local castle offers a gorgeous view of the endless plains of Castile.
■ At the winery «The thread of Ariadne» at Rueda.

Picturesque cellars, funny pictures based on Greek myths on the walls and the “horror stories” of the guide about the ghost of Isabella of Castile, which cannot be seen, but can be easily recognized by smell: they say that the Queen of Spain washed only twice in her life — at birth and wedding.
■ In bars Quellara (a suburb of Segovia). The tradition of the encerro was born in this town — running before the bulls during the bullfighting season (held every August).

The bars are decorated with the texts of the antierro anthem and the photo, depicting the most interesting moments of the holiday.

By the way, the local bishop forbade the priests to participate in this entertainment — it is too dangerous.

For organizing the trip, we thank the tourist office of the Spanish Embassy

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