Spain is, by European standards, a big country with distinct regions inhabited by distinct people – Basques in the northeast, Galicians in the northwest, Catalans in southeast, mixed races in Andalusia and Castellans in the center.
All of these people created unique cuisines using the food their environments provide.
Galicia was a poor region and depended on the sea. The region is lush green, but mountainous, making agriculture difficult and time consuming.
Today, with considerable financial help from the central government and the EU, Galicia has started to develop. Along with financial success, gastronomy is evolving, although traditional dishes have not been forgotten.
You can still enjoy rich pork stews, caldo gallego (a soup of beans, cabbage, potatoes, sausages and smoked pork feet); lecon con grelos (boiled pork shoulder, turnip greens, sausage and boiled potato); fish stews; marinated octopus, calf’s cheeks summered in red wine, a variety of cold cuts using every part of pork, and wash all these delightful specialties with copious amounts of albarino wine, or others made using godello, mencia and treixadura.
Mencia is fine fragrant red grape now being, popularized by Alvaro Palacios, the famous Spanish winemaker from Rioja and of late Catalunya.
Galician gastronomy is still inexpensive and you can dine well in rural restaurants for $ 70.00 (2010) for two, including wine and gratuities.
In bigger cities prices are higher in comparison to Madrid and Barcelona but affordable by all tourists.
If you happen to be close to Santiago de Compostela, try to visit one of the following restaurants: Bodega O’Lar do Cepa, Chinatado, Casa Pepe Chanteda, Casa de Xantar o Dezases Santiago, Casa Pena a Coruna, Boga, Baltazar and Os Ancares.
If you want authentic Spanish food in Toronto visit Segovia 5 St Nicholas
(416 960 1010); Casa Barcelona 2980 Bloor West (416 234 5858); and Embrucho Flamenco 97 Danforth (416 778 0007)