A Journey You Can Eat: Colombres and el Homenaje a los Indianos

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Ah, the life of a pilgrim!

Days are going by and Ana and I are continuing on our gastronomic route to Santiago. In the previous chapters, we told you how we enjoyed all the good work from Cántabros. Well, we left Comillas with the intention of arriving at a small village called Serdio.

However, as soon as we started the stage we came across a regular vacationer who informed us that, further down the route, in a town called Colombres, there would be a festival called el Homenaje a los Indianos. Indiano was the name given to those brave people who left Spain for the Americas and returned with riches and renamed the town. The festival is held in their remembrance. In our heads (or better, our stomachs), we took what he told us and quickly translated it into thoughts of Latin American food. So our destiny changed quickly.

We should say that it was a difficult stage, especially the final climb to Colombres, but now you’ll see that it was worth the pain. Once we showered and got rid of our backpacks, we ran like animals towards the main plaza where they cook all the “sarao.”

The first thing to do was to get a drink. It was then when we saw a small stand selling single bottles of beer. There we discovered a craft beer made in Asturias called Hechicera, made by Alkimia, an ambitious project in the new craft beer movement. The beer, made from malted barley and hops with a lot of personality, begs to be drunk with food, but since we’re brave we enjoyed it by itself.

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To start, as is customary, and to celebrate our arrival in Asturias we got a “botellina” of natural cider that would accompany us during the whole meal.

After a taking a first trip around the stands and contemplating the variety of food, we decided to try “tres platillos”, as they say in Latin America. The first of these was a Torto with a fried egg and picadillo. Torto? What is a Torto? A Torto is a fried corn cake that can be topped with many things. I’m imagining the faces of the most health conscious pilgrims…yes, it’s a lot of calories but it’s succulent and delicious. Many Asturians think that the Torto is completely Asturian, but remember that corn is a grain from the Americas just like paprika that seasons the picadillo. It’s a dish that demonstrates the Indian legacy in Asturian cooking.

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After finishing the Torto, and between “culín” after “culín” of cider, we went to a stand run by two young, kind Mexicans where we ordered fried tacos with cochinita, beans, and spicy salsa made from chilies and cilantro that made our cheeks red. It was a bite that transported us to Mexico, leaving behind stereotypes of fajitas and guacamole.

To finish the job, we went to the central stand run by some Argentinians where Argentinian barbecue and chimichurri out fly out left and right from a huge grill that dominates the plaza. A serving of ribs covered in this delicious chimichurri sauce that is as typically Argentinian as mate, ended our trip to Latin American in Colombres.

You didn’t think we would end without something sweet did you? Right before we arrived in Colombres, we went through Unquera, a border town between Cantabria and Asturias, whose excellent dessert is “corbatas” and, although we didn’t make a stop there, we gathered some up to eat in Colombres. Corbatas are a puffy pastry topped with a crust made from sugar and almonds. They are delicious paired with a morning coffee or as a dessert. Without a doubt, they are the pride of Unquera.

juan-un-camino-para-comerselo

As you can see, it’s not just our legs that are in shape, but our stomachs too.

Until next time and buen Camino!

Photographies: Ana Fernández

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Juan Cabanzón

Apasionado del Camino de Santiago y de la cocina, estudié en la Basque Culinary Center donde desarrollé "mi pequeña obsesión” por la búsqueda de los mejores productos y las personas que están tras ellos. Ahora uno dos de mis pasiones para hacer llegar otro manera de ver el Camino a los demás.

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