Madrid: Castilian Culinary Heritage (EN)
Unforgettably delicious and a great experience!
The Castilians are proud of their simple, no frills cuisine whose secret lies in its super-fresh products: newly harvested vegetables and freshly caught fish and seafood arrive in the city daily from the coastal regions. Every morning, the largest fish market in Europe opens its doors at the gates of Madrid. Excellent meat from free-range pigs, sheep bred in the central Spanish plains, and extra virgin olive oil are further top-quality ingredients. The traditional cuisine of the region is characterised by the dry and harsh climate of the Castilian highlands. Simple farmer’s and shepherd’s dishes are popular, especially stews with pulses, or grilled pork and lamb. The locals love to enhance the natural taste of the fresh produce with just a dash of full-bodied olive oil.
Follow your Food Hopping Guide to the most popular taverns, family-run shops and extraordinary venues of Madrid, and savour selected specialities of the Spanish capital.
Some highlights of your Food Hopping Tour Madrid:
- In most museums, you are strictly forbidden to eat or drink in the exhibition. Here, you are expected to do just this: at the long metal counter in this "museum of flavours" you pay homage to the "lust for meat". The celebrated exhibits hang densely packed from the ceiling, waiting for the day when they are manually cut into paper-thin slices by the master cutter with his razor-sharp knife. You mingle with the crowd of blue and white-collar workers and other visitors who all congregate to marvel at this art of cutting, and to sample the cured products from the Spanish meseta in a lively atmosphere.
- Lucío runs one of the most famous restaurants in Madrid, where greats such as the former King of Spain Juan Carlos, Bill Clinton, Penelope Cruz or Madrid’s football celebrities have already enjoyed the simple traditional country cooking. His son continues the tradition in the adjoining tavern, where many guests continue to wipe the last droplet off their plates with bread, just like in the past. Here, surrounded by photos of the stars and starlets who have visited the family-run business over the decades, you enjoy the tasty "scrambled" house speciality, a hearty, rustic dish.
- You can still find it here: a typical covered market hall with small stands and fresh produce, where the locals still shop for their everyday needs. Just around the corner, long queues form in front of Esther and Susana’s simple stall. At their must-visit destination for insiders, they prepare typical home-cooked Spanish meals based on family recipes, arousing memories of childhood and lunch at home for numerous Madrilenians. Your taste buds, too, will be delighted by this Spanish comfort food.
- At the other stops, you’ll reverently sip a cava inside a culinary cathedral, nibble fresh gambas al abuelo – grandpa-style prawns, enjoy the full flavours of an original cocido madrileño stew at a century-old tavern overlooked by a matador’s trophy bull’s head, taste amazing local wines at Vincentes Deli, where aristocrats and bohemians once shopped in the Literary Quarter, relive a childhood dream by picking flowery sweets, and much, much more.