Pimientos de Padrón

Long before G knew he was moving to Amsterdam, he wanted to “eat his way through northern Spain”.  Now I know why.  We just returned from our 12 day road trip and I am already having withdrawal despite the need for damage control and a much needed marathon day in the gym.  On our way back home, we  made a quick stop back in San Sebastian to pick up some Sidra.  Being a Sunday with nearly everything closed, we had our work cut out for us.  But our perseverance paid off not only with Sidra, but a fresh bag of pimientos de Padrón. What a fantastic birthday surprise for both of us.

We first saw the peppers on the menu in Santiago de Compostela and then repeatedly in A Coruña.  Rightly so as these peppers are the most famous produce of Padrón, a small town in Galicia.  We finally ordered them with our dinner our last night in A Coruña on Friday.  OH WOW!  We both agreed if that was all we had for dinner, we could easily go to bed happy.

Since produce has a short shelf life, our fix was fulfilled this evening as chef G made some fantastic pimientos de Padron.  Other than the peppers (which are a little tricky to find outside of Spain), you only need olive oil and salt…so easy!  We have half the bag left so it’s not hard to guess what will be on our dinner menu tomorrow night.  More to come in future posts about all the amazing food northern Spain has to offer.

Clean, dry, and ready to cook

Skillet is hot and I'm hungry

Chef G works his magic

Ribeiro vino pairs well

Yum! And immediate use of our new bowls.

Fruits of the labor

Not a morsel left

Our Camino via Spain

We have just completed our 9th day driving about Spain’s Northern Coast and it has been AMAZING!!!  The food, the drinks, the drive, the views, the beach, the cliffs, the mountains, the ocean, the sunsets, the festivals, the towns…it has been simultaneously refreshing, tiring, and filling. I can’t find enough words to describe it and, of course, have hundreds of photos which will tell a much better story.
Tonight is our last night in Spain and it is bittersweet.  We have loved every minute here, but also look forward to being home in our own beds.  The only drawback to our trip has been the lack of comfort with our hotel beds…and it has been oddly consistent despite our variety of large chain hotels, mid size hotels,  and quaint charming smaller ones.  We still have another +/-15 hours left of driving time before we are back in Amsterdam.  So far we have logged about  31 hours in the car, 2800+  kms, and no quarrels :).  Click here to see our route to date:  31 hours in the car.
I have so much more to post, but here is a quick peek at our trip so far:
Day 1 & 2:  San Sebastian, Basque Country

Pintxos, the Basques' take on tapas at La Cepa

Day 2:  Drive from San Sebastian to Oviedo with stop in Bilbao

Only one road in and out for this cliff side fishing village of Elantxobe

Guggenheim Museum - Bilbao by Frank Gehry

Day 3 & 4:  Oviedo, Asturias

Oviedo cooked up some great eats!

Day 5 & 6:  Santiago de Compostela, Galicia

Camino de Santiago, the 1000 year old pilgrimage to the shrine of St. James in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela

Pilgrims rejoice in Santiago after a completed journey

Others rest weary legs and feet

Day 6, 7, & 8: A Coruna, Galicia

Coastal views by our hotel in A Coruña


Squid fresh from the ocean

Beach time during the day

Happy tummies after razor clams, monkfish, and pimientos del padron

Day 9: Haro, La Rioja
Wine Country Spanish style

Vino tinto and sunset

Say Kaas…

Yea, I say Kaas every time I am at the market, ordering a sandwich, or just having a snack with crackers.  Cheese, please!  Growing up my dad loved cheese and we always had some in the house.  I loved edam and gouda, but had no idea they were actually names of towns in The Netherlands where the cheese originated.

Are you a cheese-head as well?  Not like a Green Bay Packer cheese head, but a Dutch cheese head!  In Dutch, “cheese-head” is also another word for the mold in which the cheese is made. Rumor has it that in the Middle Ages farmers in North Holland used these wooden molds as helmets and this is how the enemy could identify an army of `cheese-heads’ approaching.

Every Friday morning in Alkmaar (April through September) you can watch a demonstration of the traditional cheese market at Waagplein.  With a sunny day upon us, I took a drive with a few girlfriends and went to say kaas!  Click here to read more about Alkmaar’s kaas market and history.


Buyers selecting kaas

Cheese lady in wooden clogs

Hauling the cheese off to be weighed…

Then it is ready to be delivered…