Aug 10 2023

'Mar y Montaña' for Cantabria Day

For locals on the northern coast of Spain where Cantabria touches the Atlantic, Cantabria Day in August marks an important celebration of gastronomy from the region. Let’s go!

Cantabria Day falls on the second Sunday in August every year. For locals in the north west of Spain where Cantabria touches the Atlantic coastline, it marks an important celebration of gastronomic culture and tradition from this unique region. Let’s explore!

Beautiful rocky, green-grass headlands jutting out to sea are emblematic of this region. The name Cantabria, which  means “Highlanders” comes from its Celtic roots, and is the original name of the celebration - “Day of the Mountains” – that was renamed “Cantabria Day” in 1981.

So how do we celebrate? The festivities are held in the town and capital of the region, Cabezón de la Sal. Locals and visitors alike attend artisanal markets, enjoy the traditional dances and music festivals held around the town, and watch a horse parade.

Natural elements are truly reflected in its gastronomy. Take, for example, the cheeses, which are normally goat milk or cow milk cheese and usually creamy, thanks to their lush grass feeding. The DOP regions of Cantabria to look out for? DOP Picón Bejes-Tresviso, DOP Queso Nata de Cantabria and DOP Quesucos de Liébana.

Some other renown food products to try in Cantabria include its fresh shellfish and the Bonito Del Norte - this is premium, artisanally canned tuna, fished from the local waters.

And for drinks that pair with Cantabrian cuisine, let’s start with the region’s aperitivo - natural apple cider that ranks among the best in Spain and goes well with a plate of rabas - battered calamari fried in strips. Wines in Cantabria are typically white, and made from Albariño and Godello grapes.  And you’ll even find some interesting Chardonnay and Riesling. As an after-dinner digestivo, be sure to try Orujo - a traditional 100° proof aguardiente that uses upcycled grape skins, seeds and stalks from wine production. Distilled with local botanicals, it’s Cantabria in a glass!