The great food pantry of Asturias is increasingly attractive to the consumer. To the great variety of quality products that give fame to our cuisine, we must add the growing dedication to improve their culinary excellence, controlling and certifying the raw materials with guarantee seals. The official labeling of agri-food products is becoming increasingly common and with this it is tried to assure the gastronomic success in all the cases, because they are a special ingredient for many regional recipes and also a unique companion in the table. There is a good number of Asturian dishes that without these lose their reason for being.
Year after year, the Government of the Principality of Asturias is concerned to obtain European protection figures for a growing number of products. Protected Designations of Origin, or Protected Geographical Indications, guarantee the unique qualities of these foods and their sustainable production and compatible with the environment. The regulatory councils are the bodies responsible for protecting the production and marketing process in each case, providing added value and a personalized seal on the packaging.
In Asturias there are still many products that can carry a quality mark in the future, although a large part of our gastronomic emblems already have the same and serve as an outpost in the most demanding markets: The Cider of Asturias, the Gamonéu Cheese, Cabrales, Afuega'l Pitu, Casín and Beyos, the Faba Asturiana, the Chosco de Tineo, the Asturian Ternera, the Wine of the Land of Cangas and various products of Organic Agriculture such as fruits, nuts, honey or spelled flour.
The «Cabrales Cheese» it needs no introduction and is the pioneer in the Protected Designation of Origin, under which it is regulated from 1981. It has the weight of a popular and artisan culture behind it. It has become one of the signs of identity and the ambassador par excellence of the dairy products of Asturias in the rest of the world. Its role as leader among the Asturian cheeses obliges it to follow high quality standards and to comply with the requirements and regulations of its Regulatory Council.
The «Gamoneu Cheese»
, with Denomination of Origin from 2003, has its gastronomic cradle in the heart of the National Park of the Picos de Europa, in the councils of Cangas de Onís and Onís. It is a very demanded cheese, with unconditional palates inside and outside of Asturias. Its flavor has a slightly spicy, buttery and with a persistent hazelnut aftertaste. It has two traditional varieties: Gamoneu del Puerto, which is made from June to September in the pastoral brañas, and Gamoneu del Valle, which is produced all year round in the lower areas of these two councils.
The "Afuega'l pitu cheese", with Denomination of Origin from 2003, is the most pasty and astringent milk derivative as it passes through the throat. Not in vain his singular name derives from that circumstance. Its color can be white with a tendency to yellowish, or red orange if paprika is added. It is unmistakable due to its slightly acid taste, little or nothing salty, creamy and quite dry.
The "Casin Cheese", is one of the oldest in Spain and got the Protected Denomination of Origin in the 2006 year. Made in the incomparable setting of the Redes Natural Park, it contains cow's milk or a mixture of it with sheep's milk and goat's milk. The technique of kneading the curd is peculiar and unique, which is carried out several times but only once a week coinciding with the last waning moon. Its flavor is strong and persistent, spicy, slightly bitter at the end of the mouth.
The "Cheese of the Beyos", elaborated in the upper basin of the Sella River, is another of the relics of the Asturias dairy. Menudo and rough, its texture and color hide a jewel difficult to falsify. Its flavor is recondite and buttery. His artisanal practice has been transmitted from generation to generation.
"Asturian Faba", from 1990 there is a Regulatory Board that exercises the control and certification of this product, quintessential regional cuisine. An abundant and popular dish whose flavor is more authentic if the Granja Asturiana variety is used, whose grain, once cooked, is presented whole, with smooth skin, soft albumen, buttery on the palate and little or nothing granular and floury.
"Asturian Beef" is a denomination that incorporates two bovine races: Asturiana de los Valles and Asturiana de la Montaña. 2001 regulates its production under a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI), which has made meat from Asturias a national reference in a few years. It is a healthy product because it has low levels of cholesterol and uric acid. This meat is also rich in protein, low in fat, tasty and very juicy. Its excellent genetics is completed with a natural diet: breast milk and natural pastures.
The "Sidra de Asturias", reached its Protected Designation of Origin in 2002. Currently the production area covered includes the 78 municipalities of the Principality of Asturias. This star product, drink by antonomasia of the Asturian, can be found in the market in three modalities: natural cider, natural cider pouring and sparkling cider.
The "Wine of the Land of Cangas" It's the exception that confirms the rule. The Principality is not a wine community but has found in the region of Cangas de Narcea an excellent wine. Its tradition vinatera goes back to the Roman time and in the year 2001 The Ministry of Rural and Fishing recognized its denomination. It treats in all the cases of a light wine with touches to wood, good taste, certain acidity and whose graduation is balanced: 10,5 degrees of minimum for the red wine and 9,5 for the target.
The "Chosco de Tineo" It is the most unique sausage of Asturias; Cured and smoked in pork blind, the ingredients used in its preparation are at least 80% of head of loin and 15% minimum of tongue, salt, paprika and garlic. Its characteristic color is reddish. Its flavor is bittersweet with smoked soft.
The "Ecological Agriculture" is a production and processing system that seeks to obtain food of the highest nutritional quality, respecting the environment and without using chemical fertilizers, pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, or genetically modified organisms. The Council of Ecological Agricultural Production of the Principality of Asturias (COPAE), constituted in the year 1996, is the body in charge of controlling and certifying this type of food. Among them, the Protected Designation of Origin of "Escanda de Asturias". A cereal whose sowing, the flour, as well as its derived product: bread, is a fully Asturian process. La Escanda has a balanced content of fats, combined with a high combined fiber that helps control cholesterol. It is also a complete source of vitamin B.Text: © Ramón Molleda for desdeasturias.com