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23 septiembre 2022

Taste Aragon through its gastronomy: 10 typical products and dishes of the area

The gastronomy of Aragon offers a wide variety and richness of typical products of the area that have quality seals and multiple Designation of Origin. Discover some of the flagship products and dishes of the provinces of Huesca, Zaragoza and Teruel.

The gastronomy of Aragon is one of the richest and most varied in Spain. The traditional Aragonese recipe book boasts some spoon dishes such as rice with chard and clams or chicken chilindrón of Zaragoza. Also products such as Teruel PDO ham, Graus sausage and chiretas in Huesca. From Go Aragón, we present 10 dishes and products characteristic of areas of Aragon to taste and be captivated by the typical food of the land.

Longaniza de Graus in the Guinness Book of Records

This quality delicacy is part of the rich and varied gastronomy of Aragon, more specifically of Alto Aragon. Graus, the town in the Ribagorza region, stands out inside and outside the Aragonese borders for this tasty sausage sealed with the Aragon Food Quality Mark. Made with lean pork and bacon, jowl and bacon, this sausage is accompanied by seasonings and spices such as common salt, oregano, nutmeg, aniseed and other natural spices. The secret of each longaniza manufacturer lies in the precise combination of these ingredients in order to offer diners a unique product.

In addition, one of the most important dates in the calendar of Alto Aragon is the Day of the Longaniza de Graus, a celebration in which every summer the largest longaniza in the world is elaborated. The Association of Graus Longaniza de Graus manufacturers elaborates a sausage of almost 1,000 meters, roasted over the embers of a 25 square meter grill handled by a crane. Since 1997, it has been listed in the Guinness Book of Records for being the largest longaniza sausage in the world. In turn, this celebration was declared a Festival of Tourist Interest in Aragon in 2013.

Chiretas of Barbastro

Following the line of the gastronomy of Alto Aragón, the chiretas of Somontano de Barbastro stand out. Chiretas, whose meaning in Aragonese is “turned skin”, is a boiled dish consisting of lamb tripe sewn and stuffed with rice, chopped bacon or bacon ham, parsley, garlic, a little cinnamon, salt and white pepper. The casing is cleaned in white vinegar and rinsed very well before filling. The casing is stuffed and boiled in the broth. Once stuffed it is examined so that there are no air pockets. And so it is served hot either as a main dish or as tapas, sliced with a mixture of egg and flour and fried with a golden smell.

This dish within the reach of any economy brings families together on special dates such as Christmas or festivities such as Easter and other patron saint festivals. The BrasayBirra restaurant in Pozán de Vero (Huesca), which brews its own craft beer, includes Asian products in its menu. As a result, they have devised a Japanese ramen of chiretas in the purest Somontano style. The Merendero Garcés restaurant in Laspuña (Huesca) or Casa Rubén (Huesca), where they have innovated a sushi nigri based on the traditional ingredients of the recipe, are other places where you can taste this typical dish from Alto Aragon.

Migas aragonesas, the recipe of shepherd tradition

The rich gastronomy of Aragon also includes good migas. A humble dish whose Arab origin dates back to the shepherds, who used bread and bacon to cook them. Over the years, this recipe has become popular in the traditional Spanish recipe book until today, when there are eight different types of migas: manchegas or ruleras, Andalusian, gachasmigas (Region of Murcia), Almeria, Extremadura, alentajana (Portugal), turriyones (Zamora) and Aragonese.

Aragonese casseroles are presented in an earthenware dish, accompanied by sausage, grapes and eggs. In the Aragonese Pyrenees, the Borda Chiquín in Ansó (Huesca) is the place par excellence to taste this dish with spectacular views. Another essential place in the area is the Borda Bisaltico on the outskirts of Hecho (Huesca), an ideal place to try the homemade migas that also has a hostel, apartments and camping.

Rice with borage and clams

Chef Miguel Angel Revuelto came up with the perfect recipe combining rice, borage and clams at the Gayarre restaurant in Zaragoza. The invention of this recipe was an immediate success a little more than 30 years ago, so it has become a deeply rooted part of Aragonese gastronomy. Ideal for autumn and winter, this spoon dish will surprise you and will make you refute that unjustified sambenito of “staying in “water of borage”.

Borage remains one of the star products of the garden and a hallmark of Aragon. This digestive vegetable is composed of diuretic, sudorific and toning properties, as well as a protective effect against stomach cancer. From Go Aragón, we suggest other places to taste this borage dish such as Aragonia (Hotel Palafox) and the shop-restaurant Montal, Palomeque and El Chalet, all of them in Zaragoza city.

Hanks, the protagonists of the tapas

Very similar to the zarajos of Cuenca or the embuchados of La Rioja, this typical dish of Aragón is made with the cleaned tripe of the calnasco. A delicious delicacy exclusive of the land whose preparation consists of rolling the tripe in a stalk of green garlic, as a skein, cooking it with onion and garlic and then frying it in very hot oil. The key to this recipe is that they are crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.

A must for tapas in Zaragoza for years, this maximum expression of casquería can be tasted in restaurants such as El Candelas. A dish that a priori can be a bit of a turn-off because of its ingredients, has an undeniable condition: everyone who tries it, repeats it. Other places to try this recipe in Zaragoza are Taberna el Dúo, El Duende Azul 4 or La Ternasca, the latter being the epicenter of tapas in the Tubo of Zaragoza.

Ternasco of Aragon

Ternasco de Aragón is par excellence the typical product of Aragón. Denomination of Origin (ratified in 1992) and also recognized with Protected Geographical Indication (PGI), this meat frequently cooked by Karlos Arguiñano can be enjoyed throughout the Aragonese territory. It is a lamb fed with mother’s milk and natural cereals, whose carcass weight ranges between 8 and 12.5 kg.

Apart from Ternasco de Aragón, there is an exclusive brand of top quality lamb in the community, raised in the foothills of the Aragonese Pyrenees in a relaxed environment: Agnei Ibérico, a brand developed by the Pastores Group. This excellent quality lamb has managed to sneak into haute cuisine, where chefs such as Dabid Muñoz have called it “the kobe of lambs”, and for some time now it has been included in their menus.

There are many places where you can taste this typical dish of Aragon. The award for Best Roast Veal of Aragon 2022 has gone to the Palomeque Restaurant. And the restaurants Urola (Zaragoza) , El Origen (Huesca) and Casa Agustín (Albalate del Arzobispo, Teruel), have been recognized with the “Best Roast Veal 2022” awards in the respective provinces of Zaragoza, Huesca and Teruel.

Fruits of Aragon, a unique sweet

For those with a sweet tooth, or as we would say in our land, lamineros, the fruits of Aragon are a delicacy of candied fruits dipped in dark chocolate. One of the flagship products of Aragon that maintains the freshness of the best fruits such as cherries, apricots, peaches, oranges, pears, apples, figs and plums with the flavor of chocolate. The tradition was born in the confectionery La Española in Zaragoza by the confectioner Julio Asín, who gave shape to the traditional fruit chocolates. As a result of this fact, its popularity spread.

Its sweetness, as well as its classic packaging are the image that travels beyond Aragonese borders. They are marketed under the supervision of the “C” mark of Quality of Aragon and must meet a series of requirements. For example, only certain fruits are allowed to be selected, the use of colorants or preservatives is not permitted and the chocolate coating must be at least 35% cocoa butter.

Trenza de Almúdevar, the delicacy imitated by Mercadona

It was in the early 80’s when the Tolosana pastry shop in Almúdevar (Huesca) began to prepare this recipe, now part of the gastronomy of Aragón, which is currently being copied by large supermarkets such as Mercadona. The fluffy puff pastry base, the crunchy nut filling and the brittle layer in the shape of a braid led the Government of Aragón to grant it the C’Alial quality guarantee mark in 1994.

Currently, the Tolosana has crossed valleys and collaborates with large companies. Its online presence throughout the Iberian Peninsula, as well as its 24-hour delivery service, make this sweet a must for celebrations with an Aragonese seal.

Chilindrón chicken, the recipe of the poet Julio Alejandro

Chicken is one of the most commonly raised animals in the province of Zaragoza and for this reason it is inexcusable not to include it in the traditional Aragonese recipe book. The key to this recipe lies in the sauce, because in Zaragoza the chilindrón represents the stew of its traditional cuisine. Made with vegetables grown in the region such as tomatoes, onions or peppers, the chilindrón chicken recipe is an original way of eating meat.

One of the best preserved recipes of chicken al chilindrón is the one left to us by the writer and poet Julio Alejandro, Luis Buñuel’s scriptwriter. In 1985 he published in Ediciones de El Día de Aragón his Breviario de los chilindrones, some verses that tried to build a map of Aragón under the pretext of Aragonese gastronomy.

The historic center of Zaragoza is an ideal place to undertake the Chilindrón Route. Some of the best places to taste this dish are the Asador San Miguel or the restaurant Más que pollo with takeaway option.

Teruel Ham, a classic Aragonese dish

Jamón de Teruel Denominación de Origen is one of the most representative products of Aragon’s gastronomy. It was the first ham in Spain to get PDO in 1983, and later, in 2014 it was included in the Paleta de Teruel. Cured for a minimum of 14 months, this meat derivative must have a bright red color and a smooth, juicy flavor.

Supervised under the Regulatory Council, this product must meet a series of requirements. To begin with, it must bear the distinctive Teruel Ham and its logo around the hoof to discern whether it is original or not. Some of the best places to try this flagship product of the province of Teruel are the Parador de Alcañiz (Alcañiz), La Barrica or Pura Cepa Vermú, the latter two in the capital city of Teruel.

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