The culinary art of Zaragoza is strongly influenced by La Mancha and Navarre. This means that in many of its elaborations, the denomination “a la baturra” or “a la aragonesa” appears, to identify the origin of the dish.
A story of cereals and meat
Throughout the centuries, Zaragoza stood out for its enormous cereal fields, which enabled the vast and important production of bakery and by-products, such as its famous “migas”, which can be combined with beans, eggs, blood sausage, chorizo mince, kidneys, lamb and tomato.
A second aspect to highlight is the important livestock industry from which Zaragoza benefits. Of particular note is lamb, which made it possible to cement a culinary tradition of enormous importance, transcending the limits of the province.
Zaragoza was so important that in 1758 the friar Juan de Altamiras published "New Art of Cooking", a recipe book that described in detail the most important preparations of Aragonese cuisine.
The publication of this recipe book generated enormous interest among the most important chefs in Europe. Thereby, it increased the fame of Zaragoza as a city of enormous gastronomic importance in Spain. In addition, Zaragoza was notably influenced by 18th-century French cuisine.
The livestock activity of lamb and cattle has translated into a series of exquisite preparations that are the basis of the protein diet of Zaragoza.
Lamb ribs “a la baturra”, “pepitoria de Mainar”, lamb “a la pastora”, lamb “salmorejos”, roast kid and brains with tomato are just some of the many dishes on the extensive Zaragoza menu.
Preparations with pork, along with sausages, are also of enormous importance. Examples are the exquisite Zaragoza-style pork loin and lean meats with tomato.
Poultry is also highly developed, with roasted chicken from Sádaba, Aragonese-style chicken breasts, “pepitoria” of chicken and “pochas” with quail being the most outstanding dishes.
Seafood is widely represented on Zaragoza’s table, especially cod, which is used in the preparation of exquisite stews with potatoes and garlic sauce. Other fish of great value are carp, barbel, eel and conger eel, with which the exotic dish of conger eel with eggs bilbilitana is made. Finally, sardines can be prepared in stews, pickled and salted.
Vegetables and fruits
The fertile fields of Zaragoza offer an unusual variety of fruits and vegetables. Standouts include peaches, olives, apples, potatoes, turnips, borage, rice and chard.
All these ingredients from farms and orchards make possible a large menu of popular and exquisite dishes such as rice in wine, vegetable stew, which is one of the most refined and famous creations, and cardoons with béchamel, a dish very popular during the December celebrations.
Olive production is not as high as in other regions, but that of Zaragoza is used to refine a high-quality olive oil used in the vast majority of its meat and fish preparations and stews.
Abundant and exquisite pastries
Thanks to the abundant and fruitful production of wheat throughout the province, Zaragoza’s confectionery includes a series of spectacular sweet and savoury desserts such as its famous “cocas”, “dobladillos” and “farinosos”, as well as other baked doughs.
Among the many other offerings are “adoquines” from Calatayud, cobblestone-shaped candies, “almojábanas” from Daroca, delicious scalded cakes, donuts from Sástago, sweet bread made in Borja, “fullatre” from Tauste, Maraschino cherries and almudévar “trenzas”.
Other very popular desserts from Zaragoza have a clear origin in La Mancha and Navarra. These include “baturros” biscuits from Alhama de Aragón, “migas” with chocolate from Navarra and double yolks from Sádaba.