Duncan: Food and Drink on the Camino

Duncan Camino 225

The terrain changed very significantly during my nearly 600 mile walk. During the first 150  miles, the countryside was lush and verdant. An ideal location for vineyards to flourish in. It seemed like we were continually walking through vineyards all the way through the provinces of Navarre and Rioja. Every evening meal was accompanied by very full bodied red wine, which took a bit of getting used to, as I don’t tend to drink red wine in the UK. It was only when we reached Galicia that the colour turned to white, and we were able to enjoy very fine wines produced from the Godello grape. I am not a fan of beer, but many of the pilgrims enjoyed drinking a refreshing cerveza, especially when the temperatures were hot on the Camino. I

I had been really looking forward to visiting the Bodega on the outskirts of Estrella which provides a tap with free wine for all the passing pilgrims! Unfortunately, we were passing the Bodega at 10.30am which is a bit early for a glass of red wine. I had a little plastic bottle which I filled for a future sampling. Unfortunately, I discovered that the bottle had previously contained shampoo and had not been properly washed out, so  I never did get a taste of the Estrella wine.A highlight for me each morning was a large glass of freshly squeezed orange. There is an abundance of oranges in Spain, so Zumo de Naranja Natural is not the luxury drink it is in the UK.

Breakfast for me generally consisted of fresh orange, a cafe con leche ( Latte) and some toast. Lunch was often a bocadillo (sandwich) with Serrano ham ( cured) and some cheese. I also quite enjoyed an occasional Potato Tortilla which was basically a thick omelette with potato and onions.

Most restaurants and albergues offered a three course pilgrims meal, including wine and bread at a very reasonable cost each night. One of the striking things about the main course( second course/ secundo) was that you don’t get any vegetables served on your plate. It would generally be chicken, fish, pork or beef with potato. I don’t think being a vegetarian or vegan is that easy on the Camino in terms of menu choice. I began to start regularly ordering a mixed salad as a starter ( primero) to keep my vegetable intake up.

Creamed rice which was a childhood favourite for me, was regularly offered as a sweet( postres). You can’t beat creamed rice with a bit of cinnamon drizzled over it! Another favourite for me towards the end of the trip was Santiago (almond) cake.

The prize for the top pudding of the trip goes to a cafe in O Cebreiro which served a fromage fraise ( like) cheese cake dripping with honey. Pure luxury and indulgence!  Here’s an article on Spanish deserts.

For me the highlight of the trip in terms of food was the final 10 days in Galicia which is famous for its fish and sea food. Mussels and prawns in a fiery chilli sauce were particularly tasty as were the scallops and langoustine prawns. I also enjoyed hake which is a popular dish on Galician menus. The most popular dish in Galicia is octopus (Pulpo) but I have to confess that just looking at it was enough for me!

Walking the Camino is a memorable gastronomic experience, but even better than the food was the experience of sharing friendship and conversation with fellow pilgrims around tables day by day. After recounting all these calories that I have consumed in food and wine, I stepped on the scales with some measure of trepidation. Might it be possible to walk 600 miles and actually put on weight?! I was encouraged to discover that the long walk had been good for my waistline. After 34 days on the Camino, I lost nearly a stone in weight!

Duncan Camino 231

Duncan Camino 230

Duncan Camino 229

Duncan Camino 228

Duncan Camino 227

Duncan Camino 226

Duncan Camino 224

Duncan Camino 223

Duncan Camino 222

Duncan Camino 232



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