Local Foods and Cuisine

Cantabria is a rich farmland on the ocean, so there is an abundance of fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses and seafoods produced daily. Many dishes are typical to the region and are also seasonal depending if it is cold outside to warm you up, or less filling so that you still feel comfortable in your bathing suit at the beach. Of course there is also lots of wonderful wines, ciders, beers and tasty coffee to wash it all down with.

The mid-day lunch “comida” is the largest meal and most restaurants serve the traditional two course meal with wine and desert included in the fixed price “menu del dia” (menu of the day). Evening is usually a light seated dinner, or cruising from one bar to another enjoying “tapas”, “pinchos” and “raciones” (larger plates) that are shared among friends while casually drinking standing at the bar. It is important to note that lunch is served from about 2-5pm and dinner from 9-12pm, so prepare yourself to adjust the the local eating hours or pack yourself a snack in the meantime.

Typical dishes: cocido montañes (Highlander stew) made with beans and collard greens, cocido lebaniego (Liébanan stew) made from chickpeas, marmita or sorropotún (similar to marmitako), and olla ferroviaria (Railway pot), as main courses.

Meat dishes: Beef, ox, deer, roe deer or boar. Cooked on the grill, stewed or with vegetables.

Fish and seafood: Anchovies of Santoña, Colindres, Laredo and Castro Urdiales, angler, hake, sea bass, sole, mackerel, sardine, European anchovies, bonito of the North (of Spain), gilt-head bream, sea bream, scorpionfish, red mullet, as well as some river fish such as trout and salmon. Rabas (fried calamari) and cachón en su tinta (cuttlefish cooked in its own ink). Clam, mussel, muergos (jackknife), cockle, velvet crab, spider crab, goose barnacle, lobster, Norway lobster, periwinkle or European lobster.

Desserts: Quesadas and sobaos of the Pas valley, frisuelos from Liébana (similar to crêpes), Unquera’s corbatas (neckties) and Torrelavega’s polkas (both basically puff pastry), sacristanes in Liérganes, Palucos de Cabezón de la Sal and pantortillas of Reinosa.

Cheeses: Spicy blue cheeses of Bejes-Tresviso, quesucos (little cheeses) of Liébana, cream cheese.

Drinks: apple cider and orujo (liquor made from pomace) from Liébana (varous types orujo cream, orujo with honey, herbal orujo, etc.)

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More photos of the cuisine and gastronomy of Cantabria.

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