To speak of A Coruña is to refer to its Atlantic coast full of fish and shellfish, traditional pastries, exquisite stews that are widely distributed, and, of course, one of the most popular dishes in Galician cuisine: the Galician empanada
The history, idiosyncrasies and traditions of A Coruña are marked by St. James Way, a route that also marks its gastronomy and culinary art because, in addition to being a route of faith, it became an active route of knowledge and wisdom that profoundly embodied the diet of the region.
The gastronomic popularity of A Coruña reached its highest levels at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century when the culinary populariser Manuel María Puga y Parga, better known by the pseudonym “Picadillo”, periodically published the most important and popular recipes of Coruña cuisine.
Gastronomic essence of A Coruña
The essential ingredients of Coruña's cuisine can be summed up in a compendium of breads, wines, meats and potatoes.
Also to be considered is the Atlantic route, which, in addition to providing a huge amount of fish and shellfish, became an active communicating vessel constantly feeding and influencing the gastronomy of A Coruña.
In fact, many of these ingredients come from the Rías Altas, one of the most active Galician coasts. It also has an important dairy industry that produces excellent cheeses such as Arzúa-Ulloa and tetilla.
The meat is mostly bovine and is produced from active inland livestock thanks to excellent autochthonous specimens such as Galician beef. Another very important meat industry is pork, from which excellent pork shoulder and sausages are extracted.
Thanks to this meat production, tasty and very popular dishes are prepared. Standouts are the aforementioned Galician empanada and the raxo empanada stuffed with pork loin, as well as excellent cured and smoked hams.
Of all Galician fish, the most characteristic is turbot, also known as sea pheasant. However, hake, clams, spider crabs, shrimp, Norway lobster, velvet crabs, scallops, barnacles and cockles are also extracted.
All of them are very important in the preparation of the delicious dishes that are usually eaten between autumn and winter, such as hake stew, seafood casserole, lobster stew and natural scallops, which are cooked with sea water.
Worth noting within the select seafood menu is the presence of octopus, which is used in many ways in countless delicious and very popular dishes. An example is Mugardesa-style octopus, which is cooked in a similar way to Galician-style octopus.
Other very important fish are cuttlefish, which are prepared with paprika, and especially sardines, with which a whole range of dishes are prepared, such as sardine empanadas, sardines with potatoes cooked in their skins, and laundered sardines, which are served roasted and clean.
A Coruña vegetables
Of all the vegetables, the most widely employed is the Padrón pepper, a variety of native pepper used in many dishes. It is usually eaten salted and roasted. Also grown are corn, oats and potatoes, with which the popular Galician broth and “afreitas”, made with oatmeal, are cooked.
Earth nectar and sweet confectionery
A Coruña also stands out for its wine production, with some award-winning wines that have their own denomination of origin. In addition to wine, beer is processed in A Coruña, with Estrella de Galicia being the most important and international brand.
Another way in which A Coruña's gastronomy stands out is its magnificent pastries, including exquisite sweets and cakes such as Santiago cake, Pontedeume cake, the cream “Filloas” and especially the popular cheesecake.