The Association The Most Beautiful Towns of Spain today has 104 members and aims to support and promote small municipalities.
The municipalities that are part of the Association The Most Beautiful Towns of Spain are unique places, full of tradition and where the elderly remember in detail the names of dozens of dishes that were cooked in Lent. Natural ingredients that are characterized by a way of elaboration, careful and not subjected to haste.
This popular knowledge is an important part of the authenticity and cultural heritage of these 104 localities that are part of the network, which dot the Spanish geography, each with its own style and identity. Its cuisine is therefore authentic and made with local ingredients. Something that reflects in each bite the particular history of each municipality.
Each of the 104 municipalities belonging to this network have known how to take care of and enrich the typical recipes and culinary customs that for centuries have been enjoyed during Lent and Holy Week. On these dates, when it is a tradition not to eat meat, there are three fundamental ingredients: hard-boiled egg, bread and cod. In short, they propose a return to traditional gastronomy, with those flavors that remind us of childhood and weekends in the family town.
Traditionally Easter in our towns has been austere both in the preparation of food and in the ingredients used, where fish accompanied by all kinds of vegetables and legumes have made up the main dishes, designed to avoid the desire for meat consumption. In turn, sweets have become the protagonist of our tables.
Today the hotel and restaurant services in all the towns of the network bring visitors their best typical dishes, each with its own personality, but which are ultimately the great gastronomic treasures, which can only be tasted in all their authenticity in our beautiful villages.
Vigil soup in Chinchón (Madrid)
Chinchón maintains throughout the year a high level of reservations in its hotels and restaurants, with a heritage and a unique gastronomic offer. Many visitors come to enjoy traditional Castilian cuisine where lamb, suckling pig, kid in a wood-fired oven, stews and pepitorias with game and free-range meats are the stars, but during these festivities they give way to soups and stews enriched with vega vegetables.
The vigil stew is one of the most typical dishes of Holy Week in Chinchón. In the houses of this Madrid municipality, it continues to be cooked in clay pots and it has been like that since the Middle Ages. This hearty stew, where cod becomes the protagonist, is currently highly valued for its great nutritional value, thanks to its chickpeas, vegetables, and a low-fat fish such as cod. A delight that can be accompanied with the varied pastries of the area at this time, such as hornazo or torrijas.
The wealth of the lands of Sajazarra, the luxury of Holy Week (La Rioja)
The spectacular Castle-Palace of Sajazarra, in Rioja lands, takes visitors six centuries into the past and a visit with time allows them to enjoy its heritage and its gastronomic wealth, thanks to the constant care of its agriculture. Not surprisingly, it continues to be its main economic activity.
Sajazarra is ideal to discover another Rioja this Easter, getting closer through wine to the history, to the culture that this beautiful municipality treasures, surrounded by the Sierra de Cantabria, the Obarenes mountains and the Peñas Gembres, where the rich variety of its garden allows the creation of consistent dishes at this time, highlighting stews, stews and cod a la riojana.
Las Torrijas de Atienza, union of cultures and traditions (Guadalajara)
Located in the North of Guadalajara, Atienza was one of the most important towns in the kingdom of Castile, which contributed to its development both in terms of defensive fortifications and in the development of its urban area. Gastronomy also grew within its walls and turned its torrijas into protagonists in these festivals.
Today thanks to the Miel de la Alcarria (DO), this traditional dessert made with bread, milk and cinnamon, brings visitors closer to the natural and authentic flavor of this land and is a good example of how it is cooked, even with a cheap element. and affordable as the remains of bread allowed to enjoy a delicious sweet: popular tradition tells us that torrijas represent the body and blood of Christ.
Easter stew in Frigiliana (Málaga)
Frigiliana is one of the most beautiful and authentic white villages that adorn the territory of the province of Malaga. This beautiful municipality of whitewashed houses that grow along narrow and winding streets, preserves in every corner the essence of the coexistence of three cultures for centuries, where olive trees, almond trees and vineyards, together with fresh vegetables from their orchards, have located to Frigiliana in the gastronomic center of the Axarquía.
Dishes as exquisite and peculiar as stews stand out at Easter, with a multitude of local variants that differentiate them from those of the rest of the region. In this way, the cabbage, fennel or Easter -the last one made from cod-, together with the egg and flour tortillas soaked in cane honey, is considered the typical vigil menu typical of the celebration. religious to which it owes its name.
Cod Tacos in Ayllón (Segovia)
Very close to the city of Madrid, the medieval town of Ayllón in the province of Segovia, accumulates centuries of history in each of its corners and from its Celtiberian origins to the Arab populations, there are many gastronomic customs that have been mixed to create unique dishes.
Gone is the long Thursday, which is how they announce the start of the carnival, where residents and visitors of Ayllón, have a snack-dinner in the wineries located on the hill of La Martina, and have also left the lamb behind for a few days Roasted in the Segovian style, in its centuries-old wood-fired ovens. Now at Easter, residents and visitors are obliged to taste the cakes, torrijas or lemonade, after a substantial meal of cod tacos, coated in flour and fried in oil.
Beans in oil in Aínsa (Huesca)
The small medieval town of Aínsa, with more than a thousand years of history, is for many the capital of the Pyrenees of Huesca, where its old town, declared a Historic-Artistic Site, houses an enormous heritage with a medieval flavor, in which the wall stands out, the castle, the old cobbled streets and its Plaza Mayor, all within one of the best preserved natural heritages in the Pyrenees.
Gastronomy and Easter are a difficult tandem to beat in Aínsa. This beautiful town has known how to take care of a gastronomy for generations that is based on the quality of local products, its renowned spoon dishes and traditional pastries. During Holy Week, dishes such as rice with cod, or beans in oil, are not lacking in any home.
Among the pastries, the walnut pastilles with honey and sugar stand out above all. They are also made from pumpkin or almond. Nor should we forget the crepillos, similar to fritters, which inside have borage or spinach leaves, and which are accompanied with mead or mustard.
Cod with potatoes in Miranda del Castañar (Salamanca)
This beautiful town has always taken care of the gastronomy of Lent, composed of dishes and recipes that are consumed specifically during these dates due to the restrictions traditionally imposed by the austerity of the liturgical celebration that determines these festivals, where the dishes of "Potaje de Lent ”and“ Cod with potatoes ”, and in the case of pastries, torrijas.
Other typical Lenten sweets are fried milk, pestiños, fritters, rice pudding, wafers and fried wafers or donuts. These are simple but exquisite sweets, which were made in Lent, a time characterized by fasting and abstinence, so the ingredients were simple and humble.
Repapalos de leche with cinnamon cookie in Guadalupe (Extremadura)
In Guadeloupe, the Lenten cuisine is a sober gastronomy of pastoral origin where the products of the garden, legumes and fish are the protagonists, without forgetting the delicious sweets and desserts that provide the necessary energy to face the day.
Chef Pedro Galán Rebollo, Guadalupe's adoptive son for more than 53 years, collects in his cookbook "From Spoon, Knife and Fork", lifelong recipes with avant-garde touches, such as "vigil stew" or " Repapalos de leche with cinnamon biscuit ”a dessert that can never be missed at Easter, where bread, eggs, cinnamon, milk, sugar and a dash of anise are some of its main ingredients.