Just as the sea is a deciding factor in the gastronomy along Spain's coasts, Salamanca's landscape plays a major role in the local food.; located in the interior of Spain in the heart of "old Castilla," Salamanca's food and drink is typical of Spain's vast countryside. From expanses of pastures to mountainous highlands, the province of Salamanca features an extremely diverse landscape which yields, naturally, a great variety of products. In fact, with everything right within the province, Salamanca is practically self-sufficient!
The basis of Salamanca's gastronomy is essentially meat and agriculture... and both are of excellent quality. The dry, cool air of the region's highlands provide Salamanca with fantastic cheeses- the most popular is called "hinojosa de duero"-and top-notch cured meats- chorizo (spiced sausage), salchichón (spiced salamai-like sausage), lomo ibérico (pork loin), and Spain's beloved jamón (ham) are a few of the specialties. Also found in the mountains is a wide range of fruits and vegetables- cherries, figs, strawberries, lentils, chickpeas, beans... just to name a few!
Meanwhile, the pastures are filled with cows grazing pigs whose lives of feeding on acorns give the ham and pork products of Salamanca- Spain's most important swine-breeding region- a special taste. From the cattle, a special breed called "morucha," comes the similarly named "morucha" beef which is dark and savory with a special taste only found in this type of meat. Salamanca is also a big gaming region- for this reason, expect to find things like hare, partridge, and pheasant on restaurant menus.
Combining simple ingredients found in the Salamanca province in both traditional and inventive ways has yielded delicious recipes and mouthwatering dishes- many, if not most, somehow incorporating the region's excellent pork. You're likely to find a wide array of meat stews perfect for chilly winters as well as roasted anything- roasted suckling pig, roasted lamb, roasted veal, and even roasted goat are popular.
Typical Salamanca Food Dishes:
Hornazo: salty, oven-baked pastry stuffed with ham, sausage, bacon, cooked egg, and sometimes even chicken.
Cochinillo al fuego: roasted suckling pig.
Farinato: white sausage meat made with breadcrumbs, seasoning, lard, and usually served with fried egg.
Chanfaina salmantina: dish made with rice, different swine cuts, giblet, lamb, sweet bread, and pieces of "chorizo" (spiced sausage)
A wonderful way to enjoy the atmosphere of the Plaza Mayor or to accompany a spread of tapas is with a nice glass of wine in your hand. Wine coinnoisseurs will delight in the wide range of wines presented on any restaurants wine list- from hearty reds to fruity whites and everything in between, Spain's wines are known for their savory quality. In Salamanca, the two most prominant areas from which the region's wines are produced are Ribera del Duero and the Sierra de Salamanca- be sure to try them out!
When the Spanish monarchy renounced the country's formerly populous Islamic and Jewish populations centuries ago, they sure didn't do the same for the wide range of sweets hailing from those two cultures. While Moorish rule in Salamanca was short-lived in comparison to, say, in Granada, it did leave behind a few confectionary secrets. Many- if not most- Spanish desserts boast ingredients like almonds and honey, whose integration into Spanish recipes are almost entirely thanks to the Moors. In Salamanca, the list of sweets is practically endless, but amongst those that stand out are "amarguillos" (almond cookies), "mazapan" (marzipan), "bollo maimón" (similar to sponge cake), and "chochos" (made with anisette).