Headed to Toledo for the day? Beyond its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage site, Toledo has a heap of great sweet and savoury bites to try. From intricate marzipan figures to hearty meat stews, Devour Spain gives the lowdown on what not to miss on a trip to Toledo.
Photo: Spanish Sabores.
Toledo is perhaps most famous for its marzipan. At Christmas time, shop windows fill up with elaborate almond paste figures including dragons and even a marzipan version of Toledo’s famous cathedral! With just almonds, sugar and eggs yolks, this sweet is really something special. Throughout the year, one of the most famous places to sample this delicacy is Confitería Santo Tome at Plaza de Zocodover, 7.
Saffron comes from the stamens of the crocus flower. Photo: Dominique Faget / AFP
The bright red color and intense earthy flavor of saffron are famous throughout the culinary world. Toledo produces some of the best saffron around and is protected with a Denominación de Origen status. With small batch production and strict quality control guidelines, saffron from Toledo has an especially bright colour, and is perfect for making vibrant paellas and other Spanish dishes. Look for saffron labeled “DO Castilla La Mancha” at specialty shops throughout the city.
Photo: Spanish Sabores.
With its rugged terrain and extreme seasons, Toledo has a rich history of using game meats to prepare hearty stews. Ciervo en salsa or venison stew is a classic dish served in restaurants and homes throughout the region. Pieces of venison are slowly cooked with red wine and vegetables and flavored with rosemary and thyme.
A restaurant specializing in Toledo's famous dish. Photo: Antonio Marín Segovia / Flickr
Another excellent example of Toledo’s caza or game meat tradition is Perdiz a la Toledana. The local red partridges are simmered with thinly sliced onions, white wine and whole heads of garlic. The individual birds are then served with potatoes.
Sheep’s Milk Cheeses
Photo: Juse-Maria Moreno Garcia / Flickr
Queso de ovejaor aged sheep’s milk cheese is another typical and delicious product from Toledo. Look for unpasteurized cheeses with an almost flaky interior. In 2014 The World Cheese Awards included the sheep’s milk Queso de Toledo from the family-run Lordi Company, as one of the 62 best cheeses in the world. For a rustic Toledo meal, put together a picnic with some sheep’s milk cheese, a bit of jamón, a crunchy baguette and find a nice spot to look out over the Tajo River!
Photo: Maurizio Manetti / Flickr
Before leaving Toledo, try a tapa of carcamusas for a warming, meaty bite! Made with slow cooked pork, peas, tomatoes and white wine, it’s perfect for a winter day. The stew is traditionally served in a small clay dish called a cazuela and is eaten with chunks of crusty bread. Try it like a local Toledano, standing up at the bar with a glass of red wine. A classic place to try carcamusas is at Bar Ludeña, Plaza Magdalena, 10.
Devour Spain was founded by Spanish food lovers as a way to connect hungry travellers with the local, family run businesses that make amazing food. Offering fun and delicious food tours and tapas tours in Barcelona, Madrid and Seville. Follow them on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter for Spanish food news, tips and recipes.