Asturies, (Asturias) Spain
Updated April 7th, 2009
I know this is a strange way to start out a page, but...
I like jamon serrano.
Obviously I like it enough I took a picture of it! I wish I had a room full of smoked pork like this. Don't you???
Makes you kind of nervous, though, eating at a restaraunt with all these big, 75 pound hams looming over your head.
Jamon serrano is a typical smoked pork served in Asturies and all over Spain. It's very tasty.
Okay, so it's apparant I like food. I have to be honest, one of the first things I want to know about when I go somewhere is the food. Of course one can't go to Asturies without being struck by it's distinct culture, proud people and stunning landscape. But let me tell you, even without those things, Asturies doesn't disappoint in the food category. Asturien food is different in many ways from what people typically think of "Spanish" food. Seafood is very much a part of the cuisine (as it is in much of the mediterranean and Spain), but because Asturias is a costal province, fresh seafood is hallmark of Asturien cooking. The difference between Asturien cooking and the rest of Spain is due in part to climate. Since the temperature is much cooler and rainier than in the rest of Spain, the fare is heartier. Stews, beans and sausages are staples of the Asturien diet. Asturies is home to many fine varieties of cheese. The most famous of which is a tangy blue-veined cheese, traditionally wrapped in oak leaves, called Cabrales. Another hallmark of Asturien gastronomy is sidra- alcoholic cider. The conditions in Asturias are perfect for growing apples and producing the potent sidra. No dish speaks more to the Asturian soul than fabada-- a stew of morcilla (blood sausage), chorizo (tangy paprika sausage) and fabes (special beans grown only in Asturies). Hearty fabada warms the body and sould and is simply delicious. (Sadly there is no way to replicate the recipe outside of Spain since the ingredients are simply unavailable. There is a canned version, but it's just not the same.)
***Coming soon, I will have recipes and links for typical northern Spanish and Asturian food and the above information will be listed separately from cultural and travel information.
***Just a note: if you are wondering why I spell Asturias "Asturies", I have a good reason. Asturies has it's own language, seperate from Castillian Spanish (castellano). This language, sometimes incorrectly called "bable", existed long before Spain was even a unified country. The native language of Asturies, (called asturian, asturiana, asturianu, etc... depending on who you ask and what language you are speaking) has been supressed almost into extinction. It was believed earlier in this century, that only "uneducated and common" people spoke asturian, and castellano became the official language of asturias. As a result, there are very few people still alive who speak asturian as their first, main language. But thanks to a cultural revival, many Asturians are once again embracing their heritage, and choosing to speak Asturian in lieu, or in addition to Spanish. This is a very controversial topic which I will expound upon more later... To the point, "Asturies" is the original, authentic name given by the people who live there; "Asturias" is how it is spelled in Castillian.
I've been posting information on where to stay, what to do, where to eat, etc. in Asturias, on My Virtual Tourist Website. I have information on Mieres, Oviedo (Uvieu), Gijon (Xixon) and Asturies in general. There are also many excellent web sites you can access if you would like to learn more about Asturies. I have spent the last several years sorting through many of them and have listed only the most comprehensive. Several of the sites listed are official (state-sanctioned) but they are not necessarily the best. Please take time to check some of them out. Many have wonderful information and photographs and several are available in english. Enjoy! Puxa Asturies!!!
Pictures I took in Asturies: (Mis fotografias de Asturias:)
Playa de Xago, Llanes, El Nazo, Peņatu
Asturias DigitalMy favorite Asturien site. Only in Spanish, but if you click around you will discover lots of great downloads, photos, music, chat and more! You can even find rustic homes to rent instead of staying at a hotel, if you want to go "native". Awesome!
Asturian search engine and more
University of OviedoInformation about Asturias, mostly in Spanish, some info in English
Asturias Paraiso Natural"Asturias, Natural Paradise"- valuable site for tourists; find hotel, restaurant info, etc. in Asturias)
Asturias natural"Natural Asturias" in Spanish only
Official page of Oviedo, the capitol of Asturias
Official page of Gijon
Official pages of Cudillero, Muros de Nalon, Pravia, Soto del Barco and Salas.
An excellent list of Asturian links
Tienda.comIf you want to try some jamon serrano or other Spanish products.