Traveling the world, learning languages, and immersing myself in new cultures.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

15 Interesting Foods This American Has Had While Eating in Navarra

My first two weeks here I could tell I was gaining weight. I couldn't help it since I had to try every new food that I saw and everyone around me was enabling this behavior. Now, I have finally realized that I will be here for a year and I can take my time trying all the new foods. So, until I go out and try more new foods, I will share the 15 most interesting foods I've tried while living in Navarra.

1. PintxosSo this is a pretty broad category of foods that many below fall into, but pintxos is the word used in Navarra and Pais Vasco for tapas which are small dishes, usually served at a bar. There are so many kinds and very few that I haven't liked. I had the opportunity to enjoy the Semana del Pincho de Navarra.


2. Chorizos a la sidraTake some chorizo and cook them in cider, then eat it with bread, and you have a tasty meal.

Chorizos a la sidra

3. Cardo - This is a large celery-looking vegetable that tastes quite delicious. It's little brother, borraja, is also from the celery family and also good in soups and stews.


4. Tinto de veranoSo, anyone who has ever been to Spain has had sangria, but if you find yourself in the south of Spain, you will likely have an opportunity to try tinto de verano, chilled red wine mixed with soda water. Grab a glass and relax on the beach or somewhere in the sun.

Tinto de verano

5. Gulas (baby eels)Little white eels with a white fish taste, sprinkled with olive oil, and served quite deliciously atop a slice of bread. This food conjures up memories from the dinner in the movie Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (below).


6. Calamar en su tinta (squid cooked in its own ink) - Usually served with white rice, this dish is actually pretty good. The ink has a grainy taste, but doesn't overpower the taste of the calamari.
Calamar en su tinta

7. SepiaLike calamari, sepia (cuttlefish) are squid-like, and you eat them in their entirety. The ones I had I didn't have eyes or anything, but the tentacles tickled my lips as I ate them.


8. Conchinillo (roast suckling pig) - Take a baby pig that is still feeding on its mother's teet, roast it, and it is so tender that you can cut it with a dinner plate. I know this is kinda cheating, since I had this in Segovia, Spain, which is not in Navarra, but the Castilla y Leon region.


9. HornazoA delicious meat pie, cut into slices, just like a hot pocket, except it won't give you diarrhea (à la Jim Gaffigan). Another cheat for me, as I had this in Salamanca, which is also in the Castilla y Leon region.


10. RellenoRelleno is spanish for "stuffed" but in Navarra, there is a company that makes a giant rice and egg sausage with onions and spices, called relleno, that is quite popular here. 


11. Morcilla (pig blood and rice)I had this on a pintxo with a green pepper and jamon iberico on top of bread. Yum!


12. Roscón de Reyes -  A big, cream-filled, donut topped with fruit and cream. Yay for Three Kings' Day!

roscón de reyes

13. Patxarana liquor made from endrinas, or sloe (a fruit I never heard of until I tried this drink) off the blackthorn bush. It is a sweet liquor, and great for after dinner.


14. Hot ChocolateChocolate powder/syrup and milk or water, right? Wrong. Chocolate caliente is literally melted chocolate, served in a cup. Sugar rush, here I come!

Hot chocolate

15. IceThis is interesting because I have not seen this anywhere else in Europe. Here, people have it in their homes. It is normal here. 


What do you think?
This list is based on my experiences and I'm curious if you agree of disagree. For the non-Spanish who have visited Spain and/or Navarra, what experiences you've had? For the Spanish, how do you feel about these, or the alternatives, from other cultures? Thanks for reading!

For more on my life in Navarra, check out VEN con TMax.

(some of the images/videos used in this post are from other sources and not my own)

Location: Navarre, Spain


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