Galician Food and drink generally
This section is designed to give you a brief "flavour of Galicia" by highlighting some of the regions better known drinks and dishes. We will soon be adding a section offering some regional recipes and this will be reached from the Galician recipies button to the right. Please use the menu to the right for more detailed information about the food and drink of the region.
The Galicians perceive themselves as being different to, and independent of, the rest of Spain and this is aptly demonstrated through their cuisine. In general terms the pasta and rice dishes that dominate Spain's other principalities are less popular in Galicia. That it not to say that they are not eaten at all, but simply that vegetables, particularly the potato, are the regular side dish to a fish or meat meal.
The protein focus of a Galician meal also deviates some what from the rest of Spain, especially the inland provinces, with fish and more specifically shellfish being the favourite option.
Influences on Galicia's cuisine
Galicia brings in more fish, shellfish and crustaceans than any other region in Spain (or Europe for that matter) and the Galicians regard it as their staple diet.
Galicia also benefits from more coastline, sand beds and ports than any of its southern counterparts making all forms of sea food widely accessible. As if that is not enough, a massive European Union subsidy supports the uneconomic elements of the fishing and fish processing industry making costs artificially low and quotas disproportionately high. In short every argument that was once used by the French and Germans to destroy the British fishing industry (then the largest in Europe) has been used to protect the Spanish one - That's why I love Europe!.
As a result, Galicia's dishes use all manner of fish, sea food, sand and rock harvested crustaceans and they are prepared and cooked in many different ways. The geography of Galician cites, nearly all being located on, or close to, the coast ensures that freshness is maximised just as transportation costs are minimised. In short what is a luxury to many, is a staple part of the diet in Galicia.
For details of specific dishes and specialities, visit the "Regional Cuisine" page from the right menu.
Wines and other alcoholic drinks
Whilst the climate in Galicia does not offer quite the same vine ripening attributes as many of Spain's southern vineyards, the area still produces a number of wines, some with an international reputation (the best example being Albarino).
In addition to the commercially grown wines that you can readily purchase in supermarkets, Galicia has a significant wine "cottage industry". This means that you can often get hold of fresh (and cheap) local wines, that never see the light of day outside a small town, in corner shops and restaurants. You will also find, if you are ever invited into a Galicians house, that many of the semi rural population have small holdings and grow a number of vines for their own wine making and consumption. The making and drinking of wine is definitely as popular in Galicia as it is in other parts of Spain.
Unlike most other western countries, and indeed many other parts of Spain, the main meal of the day remains lunch and the traditional siesta (lasting from around 2.00pm to 4.30pm) allows plenty of time for it.
Most Galicians will go home for lunch and have a large meal followed by a period of relaxation. The evening meal tends to be eaten after 9.00pm (generally between 10.00pm and 11.00pm) and is often more of a snack. Tapas, eaten throughout Spain, is intended to be a stomach filler that keeps the body going between meals, although tapas portions can be so big that they become a meal in themselves. These larger tapas portions are known as raciones and are meal sized.