Autumn gastronomy in Galicia
It is nothing new to emphasize Galicia’s outstanding gastronomy. We love good food 365 days a year, but the seasonal products of autumn gastronomy in Galicia deserve special mention. These are the ones that offer us the best conditions for consumption and taste. At the same time we will help to promote traditional products and developments as well as the environment.
Slow Food Compostela and AGACAL
Slow Food Compostela and AGACAL (Axencia Galega da Calidade Alimentaria) organize four annual events, one for each season of the year, as part of the “Come Local” (Eat local) campaign, which aims to assess the consumption of seasonal and local products baptized as “Xantares de Vagar“. To showcase the flavors of autumn in Galicia, they chose the O Salnés region. Especially the Quinta de San Amaro, a magical place in Meaño. An ideal place full of secret corners to relax for a few days, enjoy nature and of course good food.
The O Salnés region is located in the Rías Baixas between the Rias Arousa and Pontevedra in southern Galicia. With a view of the Atlantic, it is a region with varied landscapes in which, of course, the vast areas of the vineyards of the D.O. Rías Baixas. Although it is a very popular area in summer due to its beautiful beaches and pleasant climate, it is well worth a visit at other times of the year. From October we can enjoy a much quieter atmosphere and be enchanted by the beautiful colors of autumn. The temperatures at this time of year are just as mild, although of course we have to reckon with the almost inevitable rain that is typical of the season.
Xantar from Vagar no Salnés. An autumn menu
Slow Food Compostela and AGACAL, in collaboration with the kitchen of the Quinta de San Amaro, prepared a proposal for an autumn menu in Galicia for a day that was very typical of the time when we were accompanied by the traditional “Orballo”, the so Gather in a cozy place and enjoy good food.
To start: organic pumpkin risotto and PDO Queixo Tetilla cheese
Tetilla cheese is without a doubt one of the most famous cheeses in Galician gastronomy, both for its characteristic shape and for its taste. It is a cheese protected by its Denomination of Origin that guarantees the consumer the quality of the raw materials and traditional production. Made with cow’s milk (Rubia Gallega, frisona or Pardo Alpina) and aged for at least eight days, it is characterized by its smooth and soft paste and its shell that acts as a natural container.
Although tetilla cheese is most commonly consumed naturally or with another product such as a good quince jelly, we must not forget that it is also a good ingredient for more sophisticated dishes, such as risotto in this case. The tetilla cheese gives us a soft touch of cheese and above all a honey-like texture that is very pleasant on the palate. The most typical autumn aromas in this dish are given by organically grown pumpkin.
The main course: organic chicken with chestnuts IXP Castaña de Galicia and organic mushrooms of the season
Chestnuts are synonymous with autumn, although today we most recognize them by the lovable street stalls where they are served roasted in newspaper cones. It’s a tradition of this time of year, the smell of roasted chestnut in the streets of many cities and the pleasant warmth in our hands while we eat them.
Sweet preparations such as confit in marrón glacé are also very popular.
But we mustn’t forget that before the potato came to Galicia, which was widely grown and consumed in the s. In the 18th century the chestnut was the main garnish of dishes, which of course were served in hearty preparations. In the proposal for this “Xantar de Vagar no Salnés“, the chestnuts accompanied a delicious steamed organic chicken (nothing to do with the farmhouse) and formed a delicious counterpoint to the preparation. What could be nicer than a good combination of seasonal mushrooms that, thanks to the humid but not excessively cold climate of Galicia, multiply in our country at this time of year to enhance the aromas of autumn.
The dessert: organic apple millefeuille, creamy chocolate and lime and coriander soup
Apple trees are very common throughout Galician geography. It is a fruit with a wide range of varieties that has traditionally accompanied us all year round. Although some of them have been lost over time in favor of the more commercial varieties that we find more often in food distribution channels, it is still a very well preserved fruit. Never despise an apple that is less beautiful on the outside and always try to look for apples from your region and the current season. You deserve three times as much in taste and quality.
In addition, the apple is an extremely versatile product that can be consumed raw, freshly picked from the tree, in salads or even cooked in sweet and salty dishes.
Chocolate and chestnut truffles IXP Castaña de Galicia and spirits and traditional liqueurs from Galicia
What we call “Xantar de Vagar” in Galicia must be accompanied by a good finish, and traditional spirits and liqueurs cannot be missing, and they are a great digestive drink after every meal. The so-called “bagasse brandy“, ie pomace, is closely related to the production of wines and was widely distributed via the Camino de Santiago. Galicia is the only region in Spain that is entitled to the “Aguardiente de Orujo” geographical indication. Other traditional Galician varieties are herbal spirits, herbal liqueurs, matured orujo spirits and the highly valued coffee liqueur. And what could be nicer than having a small glass of schnapps than a delicacy like chestnut truffle, a product that we will find again in our autumn menu, but in this case in a sweet (and delicious) preparation.
In the heart of the Salnés Valley, there was an association of Albariña grapes and the Rías Baixas Designation of Origin. They are the product of a unique land made up of valleys and coastal areas that are embraced by the Atlantic. They grow all year round under the protection of a mild climate in which the rain maintains permanent humidity, but with enough hours of sunshine for the grape to reach maturity, resulting in a wine full of nuances.
For the red wines, the organization surprised us with a Mencia red wine, which is so traditional in Galicia but comes from IXP Terra de Betanzos, especially from a Castro de Untía from Bodegas Rilo. A perfect combination for the autumn flavors of our main dish of chicken, chestnuts and mushrooms.
Ecological production. Why choose them?
Organic production is a production system that aims to obtain food of the highest quality while respecting the environment. In doing so, processes are used that avoid contamination and increase the fertility and biological activity of the soil, while the highest level of animal welfare ensures compliance with their biological cycles and without the use of additives or artificial preservatives. What are the advantages?:
- They do not contain any synthetic additives
- No pesticides are used.
- There are no genetically modified organisms.
- The environment is respected.
- They are much tastier because their natural process has been respected and their aroma, color and authentic taste are preserved.
- They contain more nutrients and vitamins.
- They contribute to the preservation of biological diversity.
- They respect animals and enable them to grow at their natural pace and in living conditions that respect them and their environment.
- They preserve rural life, create jobs in these areas and prevent our villages from becoming lonely and such a traditional way of life in Galicia from disappearing.
- In this case, they are certified by the Council for Organic Agriculture of Galicia (CRAEGA).
The art on the plate: Artesanía de Galicia.
Crafts and gastronomy make a perfect couple. In this “Xantar de Vagar no Salnés” we have handicrafts from Galicia, made by Galician artisans who contribute to the praise of gastronomy with original presentations.
Artesanía de Galicia brings together around thirty traditional crafts that have not known without an effort to maintain themselves over time, but also know how to adapt their work to current needs, resulting in a modern, lively craft with its own personality . Not to forget the quality of your work and the raw materials used.
Security in times of COVID-19
In these times of maximum prevention against COVID-19, both personal and professional responsibility is of essential importance. However, if the right measures are followed, we can continue to hold events and have great experiences. In this case, in addition to the procedures established by the organization and the facility itself, we have Elena González Food Safety to reinforce the protocols and ensure strict compliance with all measures.
- The capacity of the restaurant A Quinta de San Amaro was 50% of its capacity, with a minimum distance of 1.5 meters between the tables.
- The tables were set individually or for a maximum of two people and none of the guests were allowed to get up at the same time as other participants.
- Of course, the use of a mask was mandatory at all times, as you could only remove yourself at the right time for something to eat or drink.
- The doors to the dining room, which led outside, were always open with constant ventilation.
- All tables had their corresponding hydroalcoholic gel dispenser.
We all miss being close and our mentality in particular loves physical contact and sharing large tables full of friends, but now we have to adapt to the situation. However, if we are aware of what we have to do and obey the rules, we can we continue to celebrate our gastronomy, in this case that of autumn and this “Xantar de Vagar no Salnés”.