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Tips on how to eat like a local in La Mancha

If you have read about Don Quixote’s adventures wandering around La Mancha, you probably know something about the cuisine here already. For instance, it refers a lot to the excellent wines of this area. Not only that, but it also mentions a few of the traditional soups and stews that Don Quixote and his colleague Sancho scarfed every time they had the chance. As you know very well, the book is not about food, but being in this region will probably help you recollect these delicious recipes. Keep reading if you want to know more tips on how to eat like a local in La Mancha.

Windmills and castle of Consuegra in La Mancha
Windmills and castle of Consuegra in La Mancha

There’s something you should take into consideration when travelling around La Mancha: this wide land has traditionally been an excellent place to breed numerous flocks of sheep. For instance, they produce the milk which makes the excellent Queso Manchego. But also, being that this also home to hundreds of shepherds that used to take care of the sheep, most of the local cuisine comes from their traditions. It’s a humble kind of cuisine, not very complicated, but warming and delicious.

One good example would be Migas al Pastor (“Pastor” is the Spanish word for shepherd). It is just made with bread, meat and vegetables. Nothing too fancy, yet very tasty. Just make sure that you have some time for a siesta after eating it! 

La Mancha is also a great place to be if you want some good meat. The Perdiz en Escabeche (marinated partridge) could be the perfect option, as well as the Cordero Manchego (lamb). But if you don’t feel like having meat or you’re vegan, you can always try the Pisto Manchego (fried mixed vegetables with a tomato sauce). If you are here during the summer, you should ask for the famous Gazpacho Manchego and/or Moje, which combines tomatoes and peppers. 

As this region has no coastal area, fish is not one of the main ingredients in their dishes. However, there are a few options, like the Atascaburras that includes cod. By the way, Atascaburras means something like “to clog a donkey”. As you can imagine, you won’t leave this region hungry…

Main dishes:
Pisto Manchego or Moje. If you want to try something heavy, go for Atascaburras, which is a combination of eggs, oil and cod. Also, try Cordero Manchego. .
Something you should definitely try:
Migas, Gazpacho Manchego and some Queso Manchego as well.
Something to drink:
You will find very good wines with the Denominación de Origen (Certificate of Origin) around La Mancha.
Something sweet:
Try the excellent Miel de la Alcarria. Also, Miguelitos de la Roda and Hojuelas. In Toledo, Mazapan is quite popular.

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