The main characteristic of the gastronomy of Salamanca is its wonderful simplicity. Here, far more important than presentation are the quality and strong flavours of the products of the bright countryside (Ham, chorizo…) and the picturesque orchards, filled with cherries, strawberries, peaches, figs and grapes.
The strong flavours of such meats like lomo, chorizo or Ham have been the inspiration for many of the typical dishes of Salamanca: hornazo – a lomo, meat and egg pie-; chanfaina – a popular rice dish with lamb and chicken giblets, blood pudding and chorizo-; roast suckling pig, and farinato, made up of pork fat, bread, oil and flour. Farinato is eaten raw, or cooked and served with a couple of fried eggs.
And let’s not forget the vegetables of the province of Salamanca, notably the La Armuña lentils, which are particularly popular due to their low fat and high fibre content, and the pedrosillano chickpeas with their unbeatable appearance and creamy texture. As you explore the city, you will more than likely come across sacs containing the yellow and brown mix of these vegetables, with the odd dot of red or green. This visual feast is well worth sampling – even if it’s just a spoonful.
Worth a chapter on their own are the pureed potatoes (patatas meneás or patatas revolconas) which have gone from being nothing more than something to fill you up to an exquisite dish that is offered in all of the best restaurants. This potato is the base of a casserole, which is served with fried bacon and pancetta, and garnished with both sweet and spicy paprika, salt, onion, olive oil and laurel (or “aurel” as it is known in many parts of the region).
As well as the many butchers shops and delicatessens, Salamanca also contains a great amount of confiterías (sweet shops). The abundance of such shops is understandable when you take into account the huge variety of confectionary that is produced all over the province of Salamanca: the obleas (wafers) and turrón (nougat-candy) of La Alberca, the perronillas (a type of biscuit) – made from flour, butter, eggs, lemon, cinemon, sugar and pine-nuts – or the chochos, which are never-ending white sweets, coated in syrup, and only advisable for the very sweet-toothed.
If you want to sample the wine of the region, you have some options: the Juan García and Malvasía de Arribes del Duero varieties; and the rufete variety, or the Tiriñuelo wine from the Sierra de Salamanca.