My Girlfriend and I will be travelling in Spain in May and June predominantly in the North, with a car. Our focus is mainly the food and will go to great length to find those true 'foodie' moments. Not so much interested in avant-garde cuisine, more on eating good traditional Spanish food. We've done alot of travelling in Portugal with the best food experiences happening outside tourist areas and in the small villages instead. Im not looking for anything specific really - just wondering what I shouldn't miss - perhaps - small coastal villages with great seafood, wine cellars, cheese farms, markets, where to find great ham, and other truly memorable food experiences in Spain. And please don't limit your answers to Northern Spain... we are playing things by ear and are willing to go all over.
Thanks for your help.
Something simple that I always look forward when I go the Basque Country (I assume these exist in the rest of northern Spain, but not sure) is the cervezeria/polleria. It's an indoor/outdoor place where you walk up to the counter and order your food and bottles of wine/pitchers of beer. The main item is rotisserie chickens (the best I've ever had), but they also have tortillas, salads, chorizo, steaks, etc.
While you're waiting for your food, you find a table and set it. Cervezerias are very popular on the weekends in nice weather. People linger there for hours. Loads of fun...
The north of spain is fantastic for food. Possibly my favourite part of the country for eating.
In asturias, head to Gijon, the port city to the north of Oviedo. famous for its cider, Gijon also has some of the best places for mariscos Fritos I have tried. There is a simple restaurant called Planeta which you should try and find and order the small salmonetta
A Coruna is also a great town to stop in Galicia. There is one main drag for bars that will provide sublime pulpo gallego boiled until soft and creamy and served on a wodden board topped with paprika and olive oil. Sensational. On the same drag, there is a place that specialises in the small sweet scallops of the area ( zambarinas? )
Galicia is also famous for its empenada.
In Cantabria, be sure to stay in Santander. On Sunday they serve rabas (literally, Tails, I think ) whcih are battered squid. Wonderful with a glass of beer.
I would give Burgos a miss as the people are as miserable as sin and it is little wonder Franco used it as a headquarters. But, there is a terriffic restaurant there called El Angel which is slightly nuevo but did some of the best lechal lamb I have ever had in Spain
Don´t miss Leon if you are doing this circle. The old town is lovely and they give a freebie with every drink which not all towns do. Order some morcilla de leon. It is the local blood sausage but very different from the Burgos variety which is stuffed with rice. This is softer and served smeared on bread.
For small beers called Cana in much of spain you will have to ask for a Zoritos ( or thoritos) depending on the area and in Leon or Burgos for a Cortos. They are a little over a euro a time.
The roads in that part of Spain are excellent as a result of EU money flooding in to what is one of the poorer parts of the country. As you drive along you will see lots of the grill places.
If you stop in Bilbao, the old town is again a great place to wander for a tapa crawl. The Asador originated ( I think ) in Basque country, so you can seek one out and had some slow cooked baby lamb proceeded by some pimienton de padron.
My spelling of a few things may be way off as I am in Madrid Airport and knackered after a cancelled flight from Zaragoza meant a change of plan. But, I hope some of this helps
Have fun. It would be hard not to in that part of Spain