Monday, June 9, 2014

Eating PIG in Spain: Segovia

Eating like a local:
Regional food specialties

- Finding Wilbur

On our visit to Madrid we decided it'd be fun to take a daytrip to one of the little towns you can access from the train station. After a little bit of research it became a no-brainer as to where we would be headed. Segovia Spain was about a 45 minute train ride and is famed for its deep history, some amazing structures that still stand today as well as a famous dish they serve all over town.

The old Roman Aqueduct of Segovia 

The Alzacar Castle 

The Alzacar Castle which is said to be what inspired Walt Disney to make 'Beauty & the Beast' was our first stop. The palace was first documented in 1122 and has quite a rich history which visitors are allowed to experience.You can purchase one of those phones you hold up to your ear that will give you the entire castles history. It's got quite a rich background and plenty of old artifacts to look at. I'm pretty sure this was my favorite monument and or museum we visited on this trip. I'll share pics but it's really something you need to experience for yourself to fully appreciate.


Some views from around the inside and outside


More from Indoors

The Weaponry Room

Segovia Cathedral

After an hour or so of exploring the castle we headed over to the magnificent Segovia Cathedral which is another one of the towns three old time treasures. This massive monument was said to was built between 1525-1577 in a late Gothic style. You're allowed to see most of it and if you're there at the right time you can even take part in a Mass at one of the many chapels inside. Much like the castle this is a gorgeous monument thats best seen in-person.

The Outside

Some view's from the Inside

Cochinillo Asado

Ok enough sightseeing, you know the reason we visited Segovia wasn't for seeing these. Segovia is also the home Cochinillo Asado aka roast Suckling Pig and the purpose of our visit was to eat these. The town takes them so seriously that almost every sit-down restaurant serves it and there's many homages to the baby pigs around town.You can find the "certified" spots by looking for a common plaque found outside at all the famous spots.

Just a few of the Pig Statues seen around town 

Choosing a spot to eat the pig at can be tough for those of us viewing online. I'd seen alot about many of the spots but the one that was most consistent in reviews was the place I would end up asking out hotel concierge to make us a reservation for. Booking a time in advance is crucial for anyone looking to get the maximum experience. The pigs take hours to cook and your reservation will guarantee you're getting fresh cooked pig and not some leftovers from last night. Segovia is by no means an under the radar place so you're going to be visiting with plenty of other tourists.

I ended up choosing this place because I got sick of looking around and it seemed to fit the description of goodness perfectly. We got there a little bit before our scheduled time and enjoyed some drinks and snacks up front in the bar area which is where they'll send you while your table is being made. Cerveza for me and Vino De la Casa Roja for her and some fresh fried suckling pig pork cracklins on the house to go with them. Upon my first bite of the still warm rinds I knew it was on.

a peak inside, some cracklins served as a snack

Decided to get a salad and pretend there was some healthy eating going on too. It was excellent.

As you're supposed to do when making a reservation, tell them you'll be getting X amount of orders of the suckling pig. One pig feeds six people. Although there's no reason four hungry folks couldn't finish one. There are no sides served with it and some people may find the $25/Euro pricetag a tad too much but I doubt there's many who thought the same way after eating a plate of it. Jose Maria was a white tablecloth restaurant with some 1st rate service and it was only lunchtime on our visit so the place wasnt packed. When the pig is ready there's a big presentation upon it's arrival into the room.

Servers serving the Suckling Pig

Ready for Presentation

When they bring the portable slicing table to your table-side they'll pause for a moment and let you get some pictures as they know it's the reason you came into town, whether you want to admit it or not. The baby pig is so tender that they slice the portions with a plate. As they do so you'll hear a crack and thats the skin which is without a doubt the best piece of crispy anything I've ever had. Seen in the last pic of the four-set is a cup and that's the au jus they pour on top. I never did get a chance to ask what happens with the cheeks but I'm guessing the staff eats them. The meat is seasoned with salt and has that rare pure pig taste. There's no smoke, no seasoning, no sauce and no hormones or any of that other crap. We each got a back leg and there was even a hair or two still sticking out, I happily plucked it put and kept on eating. This was indeed one of the best meals we'd have on a trip that featured many. Sevilla is up next.

Segovia Suckling Pig

Some Tips for Visitors

If you're interested in going to Segovia I wouldn't hesitate to spend the night. The town is bigger than I thought it would be and also one of the most charming places I can remember visiting. If visiting from Madrid it's best to pre-buy a ticket however the prices online were much more than they were at the counter. the problem was we got there maybe 25 minutes before the 8:30a train was set to take off and it was sold out so we had to wait for the 9:45a instead. So it might be worth paying the extra especially if its peak tourist season, but if you can visit the station the day before you head there thats even better. The train drops you off in the middle of nowhere with nothing but mountains,green grass and cows insight so you'll have to take a bus (or pay more for a cab) into town. It's really easy and once you're there most everything you need is near.

Sights around town

See next time @chibbqking 

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