Fundamentally based on the agricultural and livestock products provided by a province characterized by its geographical and climatic diversity.
The province of Ávila was the first to receive a specific designation for its fresh beef, which comes from the indigenous cattle breed Avileña Negra-Ibérica, one of the oldest in Europe. Genetic controls and careful feeding - based on the Carne de Ávila use of natural resources in a free-range farming system, as well as feeds authorized by the regulatory council - mean that this meat has a special guarantee of quality when it arrives in the butcher's shop window.
The area covered by the Indicación Geográfica Protegida (IGP) (Indication of Geographic Protection) of this meat coincides with the mountainous massifs of the centre of the Iberian Peninsula, principally, the sierras of Béjar, Gredos, Guadarrama, Somosierra, Urbión, Demanda and Cameros.
The characteristics of the meat are determined by the particular landscape and pastures, some of these pure pasturelands dominated by oaks, junipers and holm oaks. There are three types of meat, depending on the age of the animal: "ternera", "añojo" and "novillo" (calf, yearling and steer).
This meat can be bought in quality butchers' shops, supermarkets and restaurants. It can be distinguished from other meats by the label and the seals which guarantee the IGP.
Yemas de Avila
Yemas de Ávila o de Santa Teresa are a speciality that have added to the reputation of the city of Ávila. Arab in origin, there are many theories surrounding the appearance of this sweet, but these are always linked with the Santa Teresa.
This is a round sweet, with a yellow-orange colour, similar to an egg yolk. The sweets are coated with icing sugar, and due to their soft and creamy texture, they melt in the mouth, giving way to an intense full flavour of egg yolk. This is a very sweet product, although the sweetness is tempered slightly by lemon juice, another of the ingredients.
Today, some cake shops make Yemas, but 90% of them are sold in confectioners in Ávila. Outside the province, they are sold in specialised shops and some supermarkets.
Beans of Barco de Ávila
As an introduction to the gastronomic delights of Ávila, nothing better than allowing oneself to indulge in the custom which is so rooted in our land of "going for tapas" (Ávila en Tapas), and thus tasting a multitude of different flavours and textures, which will bring you closer to the culinary habits of Ávila.
As a starter for a good meal we propose a plate of mixed appetizers with products such as pork loin and "chorizo de olla" (cured pork sausage); we can then continue our journey through the gastronomy of Ávila with the famed beans of the Barco de Ávila, with an official guarantee of quality, or chickpeas from la Moraña, the origin and basis of the esteemed "cocido moragueño" (a local stew).
If we are looking for a lighter first course, vegetables offer many possibilities, for example green beans, stuffed onions, cabbage with garlic "arriero" or stuffed peppers. Another typical dish is "patatas revolconas", boiled and mashed potatoes, flavoured with paprika and small chunks of fried pork ("torreznillos").
Roast, fried, grilled or barbecued meats all make up a large part of Avilan cuisine. Avilan beef, from the "Ávileña" breed, and with an official guarantee of quality, offers us the chance to sample the famed "chuletón" or beef steak. But the menu also has room for roast suckling pig, roast kid, roast lamb and game.
If we prefer to include fish, the rivers Alberche and Tormes provide us with their wonderful trout, which can be fried, baked or marinaded, and will satisfy the most exquisite palate.
A good wine can accompany any menu we choose, and if we want a local one, Cebreros and El Tiemblo are two fine examples.
There is also a rich and varied selection of desserts, the most well-known of which are "yemas" (sweets made with sugar and egg yolks). But we should not forget "torrijas" (bread soaked in wine or milk, fried and sweetened), "amarguillos" (sweet made with bitter almonds), "huesitos" (marzipan sweets), "natillas" (made of egg yolks, milk and sugar), "empiñonados" (sweet biscuits with pine nuts) or a selection of tarts.