Toledo and Gastronomy
The richness of cuisine from Toledo is especially based around hunting and slaughtering.
There are several partridge stews, pickled or in stock, the first which allows it to be consumed cold, and the second or "a la toledana", is slowly cooked using an onion, garlic and bay leaf base; Another very well-known dish in the city is the popular carcamusa (braised pork and potato stew in tomato sauce), and outstanding for its variety of combinations is rabbit; in garlic sauce, chasseurs, coley, "tojunto" (stewed) or with rice.
There are several dishes that you can begin a meal with: garlic soups or gazpacho, an imaginative cold soup - water, olive oil, vinegar, tomatoes and cucumber - from the country and mainly associated with hot spring and summer days.
Remember that close to La Mancha, you can find good land for fine wine broths and prestigious cheeses that you can also savour here.
Among desserts and sweets, the king, without any doubt whatsoever, is the renowned marzipan of Toledo.
Stewed partridge: A star of dishes from Toledo, this is a combination of delicacy and simplicity. The touch of the chef, the amount of vinegar, the herbs and the animal itself.are decisive elements. When they turn out excellent is when they are less than one year old, what is then called ¨perdigones¨. Perdigones are those from partridge farms, such as in Los Quintos de Mora, close to the Yébenes, one of the best breeding places in Spain. Also called perdigones are the black particles in stew when the animal is not from a farm but rather has been shot, and which can be mistaken for pepper granules and ruin the dentures of careless people.
Garlic soups (Castilian): Broth made in a clay bowl based on "ñoras" (small peppers), garlic, oil, paprika and ham. Bread and eggs are added.
Cochifrito: Generally lamb or young goat, also occasionally pork, which after half-stewing is fried in oil, garlic, vinegar and spices.
Stew of "tres vuelcos": soup, chickpeas and meat, accompanied by vegetables, tomato sauce and pickles.
Olla podrida: A variant of the above but with more meat.
Caldereta: Lamb in small tender chunks cooked on a low heat in a clay recipient with onions, garlic, tomatoes, peppers, black pepper and white wine.
Deer with wild mushrooms or pears: The deer is fried in a frying pan with melted butter and flambéed with brandy. The wild mushrooms are added at the end with red wine to cook through.
Carcamusas: Non-comminute stewing steak or pork, with tomatoes and peas.
Partridge pate: Minced, kneaded pork and steak with eggs, onions, and spices, baked in the oven, covered by slices of bacon and bay leaves.
Migas: This is a simple dish, usual among shepherds, that consists of frying chorizo sausages, garlic, and bacon in a deep frying pan, to which we add brown bread until reaching a loose, golden mixture.
Arroz a la toledana: A casserole of rice with chicken, conger eel, squid and wild mushrooms.
Gachas: A dough made of vetch flour, diluted with water, which is fried lightly in chorizo and bacon fat, which have been fried lightly beforehand.
Cream of crab: Served in the copper bowls from Venta de Aires this cream reaches a sublime level.
Tortilla a la magra or tortilla montada: Omelette with pork loins.
Trout a la toledana: This is prepared with vinegar, oil, garlic and spices.
Picadillos: Fried loin of pork.
Cod Tiznao: With roast potatoes, cod, onion, garlic and red peppers. After roasting, it is chopped up in a pan and is mixed with raw tomato and cayenne pepper.
Marzipan is the most well known sweet from Toledo, both inside and outside of the city.
Marzipan from Toledo is the fine, compact dough resulting from the mixture or kneading of raw almonds, peeled and ground, with sugar of different kinds, which is used as a base for a collection of traditional Toledo sweets.
Its appearance is obtained through a process of whipping and manual or mechanical moulding the marzipan dough, followed by baking or cooking, until obtaining the required appearance in each case.
Sometimes the dough will contain a filling or will be presented covered with other confectionery products.
The traditional presentations of marzipan from Toledo are as follows:
Anguilas (Eels): Marzipan from Toledo moulded in the form of eels and baked in the oven. The marzipan is filled with different confectionery products (yolk, sweet potato, candied fruit and/or "angel hair" (long, sweet strands of vermicelli) and decorated on the outside with whipped egg white, candied fruit and other confectionery products.
Marquesas: Marzipan from Toledo whipped with egg and rich flour in starch until obtaining a whipped dough that is poured onto a paper container or box and then is baked or cooked. The content of the starch must not be over 8.5% of the dry extract.
Dough for almond soup: Marzipan from Toledo moulded in the shape of a bar, which is used in meted form for the preparation of the typical dish "almond soup". Empiñonadas: Marzipan from Toledo, possibly mixed with egg white, moulded, covered with peeled pine nuts and baked.
Empiñonadas: Marzipan from Toledo, possibly mixed with egg white, moulded, covered with peeled pine nuts and baked.
Delicias: Marzipan from Toledo moulded in the traditional "delicia" shape, filled with a preparation of candied yolk, coated or covered with "pasta de delicia" (prepared from marzipan mixed with eggs) and baked.
Covered marzipan: Marzipan from Toledo covered partially or totally with sugars, a chocolate coating or confectionery products and baked.
Marzipan with filling: Marzipan from Toledo filled with different confectionery products and baked.
Pasteles yema: Marzipan from Toledo moulded and filled with a candied yolk product and baked.
Figuritas: Marzipan from Toledo moulded into different figurative shapes and baked to obtain their characteristic appearance.
Pasteles gloria: Marzipan from Toledo moulded and filled with a candied sweet potato product and baked.
Oil, wine and cheese
The Tajo valley or the Montes de Toledo (Mountains of Toledo), are some districts of Castile-La Mancha where olives play an indisputably strong role. Oil is the fundamental base of the dishes within the traditional cuisine of the city of Toledo.
Montes de Toledo:
A guarantee of origin. Since 1998 the name Oil from the Montes de Toledo, a duly regulated name that guarantees the origin and the quality of this product, taken from an extensive district that shares the dividing mountain ranges of the provinces of Toledo and Ciudad Real, with a cultivated area that almost reaches 100,000 hectares.
The characteristic fruit is the Cornicabra variety of olive, with a long body, somewhat curved, in the form of a horn with a variety of tones that range from light green to black. The oil obtained is of a yellowy-green hue with a strong fruity taste.
Castile-La Mancha dedicates nearly 700,000 hectares to the cultivation from vineyards, almost half of the area that Spain has dedicated to this thousand year old product, bringing together several districts under its own recognised guarantee of origin. In the different restaurants in Toledo you will have the chance to sample them, some catering establishments even have their own vintages from the outskirts of the city, as is the case with Los Cigarrales.
Also, some of them sep their best wine collections in their own wineries in cellars, vaults and caves beneath the narrow streets of the Toledo Historic Quarter. If you get the chance to see them, do not hesitate.
Within the imperial city you can also sample one of the best known cheeses in the world: Manchego cheese: Cheese called Manchego cheese is that which is prepared in the natural district of La Mancha, from the milk of Manchego sheep with a maturity period of at least sixty days. It is made from pasteurised sheep’s milk and Artisan Manchego cheese from un-pasteurised sheep’s milk, from dairies registered in the Guarantee of Origin.
Manchego cheese is the product of a hard, extreme climate, which suits the growth of country vegetation, food from a strange, ancestral race of sheep submitted to a very strict morphological and health check. These characteristics give the result of a cheese that is unique. imitating so many ancient factors at the same time beyond the borders of La Mancha.
The wine is part of the culture and cuisine of Castilla-La Mancha and is in a concrete form in Toledo, a city which offers many restaurants, wineries and local tastings, some of the best wines in the region, in addition to exquisite samples other national and international names, thus making the city is an importante place for the enjoyment of good wine and practice of wine-tourism.
Visitors will see that many companies offer tastings and presentations like simple tastings or authentic flavour festivals around the wine.
In organized tours, which include guided visits to vineyards and product samples, or in more adventurous itineraries you will get the pleasure to know a typical local small and charming places that make the wine tasting, an art form.
The wine can be served either for a "tapas" or even for an important business lunch.
A fine wine can be served either for a "tapas" or even for an important business lunch.
Among the wines of La Mancha are also recognized some names and prestigious wineries, which each year report an explicit recognition worldwide around to this designation.
The routes are also applicable to the wine culture. You can go to several wineries looking for cultural events around a glass of wine. Don Quixote, Celestina, Lazarillo and many others, wil be waiting in farmhouses, cigarrales in a theme visits that give a touch of literature and history, with aromatic "verses", in our traveling.