Probably one of the most common questions people ask me is about food. Friends, family, heck even tourists I meet while walking in the streets commonly ask me the same question “So what food is Toledo known for?”
Toledo was the 2016 Spanish Capital of Gastronomy, and for good reason. It boasts several Michelin starred restaurants, as well as local bars and family run restaurants where you can try traditional dishes such as venado con setas (venison with mushrooms) and perdiz roja estofoda (partridge stew), and other delightful stews such as carcamusas Toledana. Now, let’s take look at some other traditional foods of Toledo Spain.
Manchego Cheese is an aged sheep’s milk cheese that has been aged from 60 days to two years.
An authentic Manchego cheese is a cheese that is only produced in the La Mancha region of Spain.
It is produced from the milk of the manchega sheep.
What are the different varieties of authentic Manchego cheese?
Manchego has a variety of different flavors depending on its age.
There are four versions of maturity sold
Fresco (fresh) – Fresco is not a true queso manchego because it has only been aged for 2 weeks. It is usually only produced in small quantities, and you will rarely find it outside of Spain. So while you are in Toledo, be sure to try this rich and mild-tasting cheese.
Semicurado is a semi-firm semi-cured cheese aged for three weeks to 3–4 months, somewhat milder than curado.
Curado is a semi-firm cured cheese aged for three to six months with a caramel and nutty flavor.
Viejo, aged for one to two years, is firm with a sharper flavor the longer it is aged; it has a rich deep pepperiness to it. It grates well, but can also be eaten on its own or as tapas.
For a typical rustic Toledo meal, grab yourself a crunchy baguette, several slices jamón, some manchego cheese and find a nice spot to enjoy your meal. Your picnic location is whatever suits your tastes.
If you like to people watch, have a seat at Plaza de Zocodover, enjoy your meal and watch the world go by. If you prefer a more serene and peaceful picnic, take your meal and escape to Toledo’s nature trail.
If you like to cook you might already be familiar with saffron. Saffron is the spice that gives paella it’s delicious taste and its distinct yellow color.
The saffron grown in Toledo’s Castilla la Mancha region is regarded as the best in the world. And it is also one of the most expensive spices in the world.
Because of this fraud is pretty common.
If you really want a true authentic Spanish saffron, grown here in the Castilla la Mancha region, you need to make sure that the saffron has a certificate sticker on it that states Denominación de Origen Protegida (DOP) Azafran de la Mancha.
Carcamusas Toledona is a hearty stew that originated right here in Toledo. This dish, according to one of the many stories told about Toledo, comes from a bar located in the Plaza de la Magdalena, the Bar Restaurante Ludeña.
It is said that the owner of this bar, many years ago, who offered this dish to the customers in his bar. The bar was often patronized by older men (carcas) with their younger women (musas). The story says that the bar owner joined the two words together carca+musas to come up with the name Caramusas.
The ingredients of Carcamusas include slow-cooked pork, chorizo, and peas stewed with tomatoes and bay leaves.
It is typically served n a small clay dish called a cazuela roja and is eaten with chunks of crusty bread.
Duelos y Quebrantos
Duelos y Quebrantos, a traditional dish from the La Mancha region, is known internationally for references to it in the book of Don Quixote de la Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes.
It is a delicacy prepared with simple ingredients, scrambled eggs with chorizo, ham, and bacon.
Just as Don Quixote would have enjoyed on the plains of La Mancha!
Ciervo en salsa
Pieces of venison are slowly cooked with red wine and vegetables and flavored with rosemary and thyme.