Monthly Archives: August 2010

someone stole my haircut…

…guess there was a lot of money in this town… a church chock full of sinister saints in Muros, on the Costa de la Morte in Galicia:

please note all the sinners, burning merrily away under the Virgin’s skirt…

…and seriously, someone stole my hairstyle…

pazo extra…

I found many amazing objects around the pazo from the previous post, but this is one of my favourites. It’s a graduation photo of a member of the family.

It shows the class of ‘65-‘66 who studied history, from the humanities dept of the university of Santiago de Compostela, and I find the graphics AMAZING!!!!

I cleaned it up a bit in photoshop to get an idea of how it originally looked, but I think I like the original, mouldy-dead insect filled version better.


The countryside here is peppered with pazos, a type of traditional Galician manor house, usually in the countryside and usually belonging to the same wealthy local landowner for generations..though often the wealth has gone but the family and house remains.

Nowadays many are still lived in but are often semi decrepit due to infeasibly high running costs and very hard winters. I was lucky enough to be invited into one the other day…falling apart, still lived in, mouldy, dusty, beautiful and full of the ghosts and traces of a couple of centuries of family life…

Above is the lareira, a raised open fire flanked by benches, the typical set up in old houses here regardless of their status – my grandparents had an almost identical one in their much more modest affair. It was the place to stay warm in the winter and to cook – you can see the bread oven at the back…

Glimpse through the window of the horreo (maize store typical in this area – but more of that in future post…)

If you want to understand the very particular atmosphere and climate of this corner of Galicia and how these old pazos used to function socially and physically  in the day, read one of galicia’s most beloved authors, Emilia Pardo Bazan’s Pazos de Ulloa, its kind of melodramatic but i love it.

albariño wine genius…

This is Miro…and he is most definitely a wine genius…

He is a small production artisan wine producer in the province of Pontevedra in Galicia (north west Spain). He makes albariño wine, as did his father and grandfather before him.

My dad makes the round trip of some 250+ km every few months to buy his wine for his restaurant. When you go, of course you have to taste the produce…even if it is 10 in the morning!!!

I know this wine very well, but every time I come back here is an affirmation that it is truly the best white wine I have ever drunk (even after 5 years in Italy). It is produced in Galicia and Portugal and the characteristics of a good albariño is that it should be fruity, ever so slightly acidic and full-bodied. Miro’s particular albariño also has a distinctive yellow colour due to the much longer maceration process of the fruit, as opposed to a faster, more industrial process.

Miro also makes Agauardiente (quite literally means “burning water”, and is not dissimilar to grappa) from 2 big old copper stills, where grape skins are heated and the fumes that come off them are distilled into Agauardiente, the smell is intoxicating…

…and he also has two pet crows and a tame magpie that hop around the yard…

He reminds me a lot of some of the producers I have met over the years in Italy (see lost in pettinengo post/cheese genius…), It’s all about passion for your product, time and patience and you (the consumer) have to be in the right place at the right time…I feel very privileged to have had this experience…

other foody posts on this blog:

restaurant still lives

few flowered recipes

first forage of the season

nose to tail and farajullas


cocido gallego


returning to the matanza


chocolate con churros

pani puri sunday

cicchetti tea-break



further adventures in foraging

revelations in a milanese restaurant

braid burn

cooking the haul



more foodie questions

foodie questions

nose to tail,

(s)light relief,

pulpo a la gallega

the matanza

morcilla and dying arts

jamòn serrano


Just like every country seems to have a version of black pudding, the same seems to be the case with tripe…or callos as it is known in spanish

Here is a tapa of my mum’s “callos a la gallega”, a rich stew of chickpeas, spices, ham, chorizo sausage and yes tripe!…and it is absolutely delicious. For those a little squeamish of the idea of tripe, this is the way to ease yourself in gently. Will post a recipe in winter time…

Ps…very good washed down with some decent local beer…

oh, and watch out if you are ordering on a restaurant menu that it is callos a la gallega and not a la madrileño – a much more austere dish involving a LOT more tripe and a lot less other delicious ingredients…you have been warned…!