What to eat in Ribera del Duero: the best of traditional Castilian cuisine
The excellent wines produced in Ribera del Duero are paired best with the typical dishes of the region. If you are planning to visit this amazing region of Spain you will want to get the most out of your trip, this list will help you understand the local cuisine and discover all the amazing flavors Ribera has to offer.
If you want to experience Ribera and enjoy all the amazing food and wine you can handle, check out our section on Ribera del Duero.
Spain is divided into autonomous communities. Ribera del Duero is located in the community of Castilla León, slightly northwest of Madrid. This area of Spain is known for its red meats and charcuterie, but those aren’t all the tricks Castilian cuisine has up its sleeves.
Ribera del Duero literally means riverbank of the Duero. The Duero River is the third-longest river in Spain that runs from Porto in Portugal almost all the way to Soria, in the center of Spain. The cuisine is, therefore, is slightly different to the rest of Castilla y Leon and influenced by the River itself, and the microclimate it creates.
So, this being said, let’s go over the best of the best of local Ribera cuisine:
This is the most typical dish in the region, by far. Sheep are a huge part of the agriculture in Castilla Leon and have been for hundreds of years and they have spent that time perfecting everything to do with sheep. This dish, in particular, has been perfected over the centuries and its absolutely delicious and the perfect dance partner for Ribera wine.
Another product of the relationship of the region with sheep, and again an amazing pairing for Ribera wine. The cheeses from this region are so special in fact that, like the wine, they enjoy their own appellation. They are intensely aromatic and delicate tasting and the different agings provide a wide palette of flavors.
Ribera del Duero is prime mushroom territory: thistle mushrooms, colmenilla mushrooms, portobellos, milk caps, etc. Especially in fall you can find a wide variety of Delicious mushrooms and a wide array of flavors. You can find many mushrooms preserves in Ribera as well but there nothing like eating them freshly picked in soups, stews, omelets, grilled, fried, etc. You will find all sorts of preparations
Morcilla is one of the more well-known dishes from the region, and also one of the most polarizing. Morcilla is blood sausage, made with pigs blood, lard, spices, onion, and rice typically in Castilla León.
It's a very simple and rustic dish but incredibly tasty. The typical way of preparing morcilla in the region is either roasted or pan-fried with local bread, similar to Italian focaccia called torta de Aranda. It also Delicious in soups and stews.
Calducho is the stock resulting from preparing Morcilla and it is used to make soups and stews and it's packed with flavor. Its an incredibly simple dish and the best time to enjoy it is during the “matanza”.
Another very typical sausage that is made in the region are chorizos botagueños. You may already be familiar with chorizo, and although similar, this preparation is unique to the region and especially delicious. Again a wonderful pairing for bold Ribera wine.
Another dish that we can thank the Duero River for. Crawfish are rare to find in restaurants in Spain, and even in Ribera its more of a seasonal delicacy, but if you see it on a menu, it is well worth a try. The traditional preparation in Ribera is to saute them with olive oil, onion, garlic, and chili. Ribera del Duero produces white wines as well, just saying.
Another staple of Ribera cuisine and an absolute must. What makes them special are the sheep themselves, like most of the cooking in the region, the quality of the dish comes from the quality of the ingredients. The traditional way of preparing them in Ribera is grilled over grapevine coals which infuses the meat with a unique flavor and aroma.
Surprisingly, this was the traditional breakfast of the laborers that worked the vineyards in Ribera. The basic ingredients are olive oil, garlic (of course), bread and salt with an assortment of spices but most people dress it up with an egg.
It's a heavy, comforting and delicious meal that will get you ready for any trek or winery visits you might have scheduled.
Torta de Aranda
This is the bread we mentioned earlier when talking about Morcilla. It’s a heavily oiled flatbread similar to focaccia. It’s baked in round disks with an extra serving of olive oil and rock salt just before it goes in so the crust essentially fries in the oven. It raises slightly while baking and it ends up being crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside.
There are many other amazing foods and dishes to discover in Ribera del Duero but this is a good place to start. Make sure to explore and try anything that catches your eye always accompanied by a nice glass of Ribera Wine in hand.
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