Food and Drink

Ribadeo tapas week - 2011

Pizzbur tapa
This is the 6th year that Ribadeo has held its Tapas week and this year saw 54 bars participate. Have a look at last year's Ribadeo Tapeo report here.

The format was the same as last year. Each bar creates its own tapa which you can buy for 1 Euro. They are an absolute bargain as many of them are gastronomic delights. You can go out, eat three or four of them, and that is lunch or dinner. There is a competition between the bars and this years winner was called Solana in the port area of Ribadeo. It also has a fantstic restaurant.

Tapa sheet with stamps

The public can also enter a draw for a prize, but to qualify this year you needed to taste a least 25 tapas during the 8 days. We managed 35!!! Each bar gives you a stamp to verify that you have bought a tapa!!!

Last year, it was the last week in May. This year was from 30th April until 8th May. It would be worth coming for a holiday in Granero del burro during this week - it would save on the cooking!!

Rinlo and its fantastic restaurants

Rinlo is a fantastic little village about half an hour from Granero del burro. It sits on the rocky coastline between Ribadeo and Foz and is not dissimilar to some of the little villages on the north east coast of England around Robin Hood's Bay. There is nothing much to it really - a village of rustic houses, one road, a very narrow bridge, and 4 bar/restaurants.

View from Rinlo

The Cofradia is the most famous restaurant of these serving its speciality of the region - arroz caldoso de marisco. This is a type of liquidy risotto with Lobster and other Shellfish which is divine. You don't need to eat for days afterwards. Try the Pazo do Mar white wine with it.

Portillo is next to the Cofradia and is very small. It has no distinguishing features from the outside and inside has just a few wooden tables. However the welcome is great and the food even better. Their speciality is 'zamburinas' or Queenie Scallops cooked in their shell with a bit of Olive Oil. Their grilled jumbo Prawns are also worth trying.

A Mirandilla is the third bar/restaurant in the village. This has a nice area to sit outside and also serves good zamburinas. Their 'patatas bravas' are also well worth a try.

At the top of the village is Porto de Rinlo. This is a very nice place with a covered area outside. It also has some very simple, but comfortable bedrooms, all on the ground floor. The food is simple but very tasty and Ivan, the owner is very friendly. He might also try out his English on you!!

In addition to these fantastic eateries, you can walk along the spectacular coast very easily. There is a boardwalk in the village and the small coast road runs right along the cliff tops. It is a must place to visit on any trip to the area.

Beaches in Galicia

Os Castros beach at high tide 
On Sunday we decided to go out for lunch as the weather was fantastic, so we headed for the coast and a nice place called Yenka. It is a fantastic place in the Summer to have a drink outside after a day on the beach. However, it is open all year round, and although it doesn't look much from outside (or inside!), the food is very good. We had a wonderful Fish Soup, some nice Braised Lamb and a tasty Cheesecake. All washed down with wine and coffee for 12 Euros each! This bar restaurant is about 30 minutes from Granero del burro.

View towards Ribadeo 
After lunch we went to Las Islas beach which is one of three beaches next to each other. The others are Xuncos and Los Castros. Have a look here for more details. The waves looked fantastic and we had the Islas beach to ourselves. There was a pair of Black Redstarts playing on the wall next to us, and lots of Goldfinches on the telegraph wires above us.

Las Islas beach

Collecting Sea Urchins in Asturias

Collecting sea urchins - 20th February 2011 
On Sunday we went collecting Sea Urchins near to the Arnao beach. They are something of a delicacy in Galicia and Asturias although it is forbidden to collect them in Galicia. You can collect small quantities of them in Asturias if you have a licence (can be arranged). The rocks were fairly busy with amateurs collecting for their Sunday lunch but there were plenty still to be found. Armed with some wellies, a bucket and a metal hook, we managed to collect a few kilos of them.

Sea urchins 
They can be eaten raw, boiled or in a mousse. We had them boiled and they are very tasty - quite rich but addictive! Have a look here to learn more about them.

Walking in Galicia and Asturias

Cascada de Cioyo 
The area around Trabada is fantastic for walking at all times of the year. If you are staying on a luxury self catering holiday at 'Granero del burro' then you have access to many wonderful walks in both Galicia and Asturias.

In January we went to the Cioyo waterfall - cascada de cioyo. There are 2 nice waterfalls and lots of deep pools which are nice to swim in in Summer. It was however, beautiful in the Winter, and deserted. Get directions here.

Small waterfall at Cioyo 
On the way back from the waterfall you can stop for a drink or lunch at the Casa Jano in Pianton. It serves wonderful tapas (free) on Sunday lunches. We had whole grilled Langoustines!!


Oviedo - Asturias

Oviedo - 3rd December 2010 010 
Oviedo is the capital of Asturias and is well worth including in your plans when you come for a holiday in the North of Spain. It is about one and a half hours from 'Granero del burro', but only half an hour from Asturias airport (Easyjet from/to Stansted).

Oviedo - Christmas 
Around Christmas is a great time to visit Oviedo as the Christmas lights are very good. There is also a Christmas market with lots of regional food and crafts - and of course roasted Chestnuts in the street.

Oviedo - Christmas lights 
Oviedo is also a great place to eat out. One nice place is Traslaburra which can be found here. They do an excellent take on grilled Octopus but using a barbecue to grill it. This place is great for lunch and has a nice terrace where you can eat outside. Another well worth visiting is La Goleta which can be found here. The decor is unusual as it is designed like the inside of a Spanish galleon. The seafood is wonderful, especially the grilled Clams. You can find a comprehensive list of restaurants here.

Oviedo - cathedral 

Castropol - Asturias


On a windy but pleasant October day we walked from Figueras to Castropol and back (about 8 miles). Figueras is about 20 minutes from 'Granero del burro', Castropol slightly less. They are both on the Eastern side of the Eo estuary which forms the border between Asturias and Galicia. If you do the walk form Figueras you can have a nice lunch in the port area of Castropol - Rison is a lovely little restaurant to eat in.

The Eo estuary is a fantastic place for wildlife and during the Winter months there are thousands of ducks - Wigeon, Teal, Pintail and Mallard. In October there were a few Spoonbills, lots of Little Egrets, Whimbrel, Grey Plover, Spotted Redshank, Black Tailed Godwit, Greenshank, Mediterranean Gull and a few late Sandwich Terns. It is always worth a look as there are lots of birds that turn up here on migration

Eo estuary 

Ribadeo de tapeo

Tapas stamp sheet
Ribadeo (Galicia, North Spain) has just finished its 5th Tapas week - and 49 bars took part in it. If you click here you can read about it in Galician!! Click here for a translation website so you can read it in English.If you are planning a holiday in 2011 then it would be a great idea to arrange it during this week. It is usually the last week in May.

It is a very simple format. 49 bars in and around Ribadeo offered a special tapa in their establishment. Each one cost one euro! So you could have a great lunch or evening out with a few glasses of wine and a few tapas. No need to do any cooking or buy expensive dinners out. There was a booklet giving details of all the participating bars and what they were offering. There was also a prize for the best tapa. You also had a sheet which you got stamped in each bar you tasted a tapa. If you collected 21 stamps then you could enter a draw for a free holiday. What a great idea. Surely this could be done in the UK?

Taramundi, Mazonovo and Teixois, Asturias

Water Mill at Mazonovo
We had a lovely day out the other week in Asturias. Trabada is only 20 minutes from the border with Asturias and it only takes about half an hour to get to Taramundi. Click here for a map.

The countryside around Taramundi is very different from around Trabada. Gone are the gentle green valleys and hills covered with Eucalyptus trees. Here there are steep sided valleys and gorges, with much higher mountains and hillsides covered with deciduous trees. The rivers in the valley bottoms are littered with old water mills and there is a great one that you can visit at Mazonovo. Taramundi itself is very pretty wth lots of nice stone buildings and plenty of places to eat and drink. The Asturian food is very different to the Galician food - it is much more rustic with less fish and many more stews. The most famous is the 'Fabada'.

There is also a fantastic little hamlet at Teixois which you can walk to from Taramundi if you want. Here there is a little restaurant and bar as well as another water mill and some beautiful old stone houses. You can of course drive there if you are feeling less energetic!!

Christmas in Galicia

We moved out to Spain in October and have spent the last 2 months working on the house. However we took some time off to enjoy our first Christmas and New Year the 'Galician way'.

The first big difference between here and the UK is that the Christmas decorations do not appear until the week before Christmas. Fantastic! We spent a night in Oviedo in Asturias in the week before Christmas and it was very 'tastefully' festive. The lights were great, nice carols and Christmas music piped in to the street, and everyone in a nice festive spirit.

Christmas Day in Ribadeo
We live in Ribadeo on the Galicia - Asturias border and so spent Christmas here. Christmas Day was 15 degrees and clear blue skies and there were lots of people out in their boats on the Eo estuary. Christmas lunch was Galician style - Anchovies to start, Pulpo (Octopus) to follow, then a 'big pink fish' and finally Cabrales Cheese with Eucaliptus honey. Not a Turkey in sight!!! Christmas Day night over here is wild!! Everyone goes out and the bars and clubs are open all night (and that is all night!!). Great.

Pulpo on Christmas Day
In between Christmas and New Year the Spaniards keep up the party atmosphere. It is as though they are in training for New Years Eve. Everyone stays in the see the bells and eat their 'uvas'. This is the Spanish tradition of eating a grape for every chime of the bells. It is quite a sight to see people with their mouths stuffed full of twelve grapes trying not to laugh! And then they start to go out. A few at 1 o'clock, and then a few more and they just keep going all night. Most bars closed around 9 or 10 in the morning. We threw in the towel at 6.00am!!

Midnight NYE
In the UK that is about it for the festive season but here they have the 'Reyes Magos' on the night of the 5th January (twelfth night). There are processions in the streets with children on floats throwing sweets to everyone. They also have a special pastry called a Roscon de Reyes which has a hidden gift in it for the children (a bit like the sixpence in a Christmas pudding). And then once again they go out and party all night.

Reyes Magos parade
And that is it. Everywhere is very quiet now but it was truly a fun first festive season!!