Thursday, February 24, 2011

Fried pigs ear and sheep intestines....dishes you have to try in Madrid!

Spain is a gastronomic paradise, and whilst many people think of tapas when Spanish cuisine is mentioned, each region of the country has its traditional dishes and specialities. Here are some dishes typical to the Madrid region which you might like to try during your visit.

Cocido madrileño (Madrid style stew). This is a very wholesome stew made from chickpeas, vegetables, potatoes and meat (usually pork and beef), traditionally cooked during the winter months. This dish is believe to date from the Middle Ages; quite possibly from the Jews who inhabited Spain during the period. Over the years the dish has changed, but it's still very popular in restaurants today and many have their special way of preparing it. Tradition dictates that all the ingredients are served serparately.

Callos a la madrileña (Madrid style tripe). Maybe not everyone could stomach this! This is another dish dating back centuries and it's believed to have orginally come from the Asturias region on the northern coast of the country. The dish consists of tripe, chorizo, blood sausage, the hoof and snout of a cow and paprika. You'll find this dish prepared in any traditional madrileño restaurant.

Bocadillo de calamares (friend calamari sandwich). Although Madrid is as far away from the sea as you can possibly get in Spain, the madrileños love their bocadillos de calamares. You'll find most bars and cafés have them on the menu, however El Brillante (Glorieta del Emperador Carlos V 8, near Atocha Station and the Reina Sofia) is well known by locals for having the best ones in Madrid.

Orejas a la plancha (pig's ear). Another one perhaps not to everyone's liking! This dish consists of fried pigs ears, which turn crispy, served with garlic or a spicy sauce. 

Gallinejas. Not so commonly found these days, but once a widely eaten dish. Gallinejas are the fried insides of a sheep.

Churros con chocolate. These are long friend doughnuts served with a cup of very thick hot chocolate and are very popular with everyone! The idea is to dunk the churros into chocolate for a very fatty breakfast or snack. Many cafés in the city have these, in fact some of the most popular ones in the centre open all night at weekends so revellers can get their fix on their way home. Madrid's best loved churro places (although more expensive, we must add) include Chocolatería San Ginés (Pasadizo de San Ginés, nr Sol) and Café Valor (Postigo de San Martin 7, nr Callao). Elsewhere you should be able to find them for around 2,50€.

Rosquillas tontas y listas. Very similar to small doughnuts, finished off with sugar glaze, almonds or dried meringue. They are typically eaten during the month of May when the city celebrates the San Isidro festival.

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