What does Castile-León Taste Like?
The landscape of Castile-León has two main features: a large plateau, or meseta, surrounded by different mountain ranges. This landscape gives rise to a varied pantry that is as healthy as it is flavorful. Will you join us for a tour of this region?
It’s no wonder that the buyers from seventeen countries who were invited by ICEX – Foods & Wines from Spain on a tour of Castile-León a few months ago were fascinated by the wide range of quality products and wines from this Spanish region. While there, they had a first-hand look at the excellent work being carried out by prestigious wineries like Neo, Fariña and José Pariente, as well as agri-food companies like Monte Nevado, Conservas Luengo, Simón Martín and El Gran Cardenal — all of them with a clear international vision.
Castile-León’s pantry reflects the immense bounty of its agri-food products. Let’s start with the region’s delicious cheeses, which range from the goat’s milk cheeses of the Sierra de Gredos mountains (Monte Enebro), to the blue Valdeón cheeses, the wildly famous fresh cheeses from Burgos, the cured sheep’s milk Zamorano cheeses, and the happily revived Quesos de Villalón, which were once on the verge of disappearing.
Some of the most traditional ingredients from this Spanish region are its beans, an excellent source of vegetable protein. Castile-León boasts the highest number of quality certifications (PDO, PGI) for these foods: Lenteja de la Armuña, Garbanzo de Fuentesaúco, Lenteja Pardina de Tierra de Campos, Alubia de la Bañeza-León and Judías del Barco de Ávila.
As far as cured meats are concerned, the ones made here would whet anyone’s appetite. Castile-León is the home of Ibérico ham from PDO Guijuelo, as well as Ibérico sausages (lomo, chorizo), PGI Chorizo de Cantimpalos, and numerous other pork products that reflect the millennia-old traditions surrounding this animal. Other important meats from this region include quality beef products from Morucha de Salamanca and Carne de Ávila, as well as a very traditional product from León: cecina (cured, smoked beef).
Outside the provincial capitals, smaller towns throughout the region are known for their orchards and gardens, where a wide variety of vegetables and fruit trees thrive. Some of these products have European quality certifications, such as the Pimientos de Fresno-Benavente (peppers), Pimiento Asado del Bierzo (roasted peppers) and Manzana Reineta del Bierzo (apples).
Castile-León has plenty to be proud of: splendid natural landscapes (some that are classified as UNESCO Biosphere Reserves), truly striking gothic cathedrals, and some of the most emblematic stretches of the Camino de Santiago (St. James's Way). Furthermore, Castile-León is the cradle of a wonderfully authentic and flavorful gastronomy made up of top-quality products. And for toasting? There’s no room for doubt, given that this region has more wine denominations than any other in Spain. There is just so much to choose from! Cheers!