The Atlantic Ocean, the Miño River and the Cíes Islands. Good food and good albariño white wine. Galicia is a coastal region which is well-known for the seafood dishes, and especially for the shellfish.
But in Galicia there is a taste for diversity, and in inland areas you can also enjoy good food. Evidence of this is the Feria do Xamón, a food fair where you can taste xamón, the Spanish cured ham. Its secret has been based on the savoir faire of the people, but the truth is that the weather also helps. To produce a good ham it is important to rear pigs correctly and slaughtering the animal following the traditional method, which was carried out in the different villages not long ago, especially in inland areas. The climate allows the completion of the task, by curing the xamón and granting its preservation in the locals' own houses.
This process finishes with the xamón on the plate, and for this, slicing it correctly has been always essential and is certainly an art. In fact, this festival gathers professionals of the xamón slicing.
Although the xamón is a very well-known dish in Spain, this is the only Galician festival promoting this delicious food. In the past, the person in charge of raising the animal used to sell it to earn money for sustenance throughout the year.
This event, beginning on the 15th August and declared Festival of Tourist Interest in Galicia, is a perfect excuse to visit the town and taste the different dishes offered in the fair, such as cured or roasted xamón, cocido (Galician typical stew with xamón, potatoes and vegetables, usually cabbage), Spanish tortilla with xamón, and empanada (a kind of savoury pastry). In addition, your meal can be paired with the wine from the region of O Condado de Tea, under the Denomination of Origin Rías Baixas.
What to see and do
A good option after having lunch is to go for a walk along the route Camiño da Raíña and visit some of the pazos (manor houses) in the area, such as Pazo da Fraga, Pazo de Cucu-Ruxo (also known as Pazo de Ribeira e Salgado) or Pazo de Barreiro.
You can also stop ar the monastery of A Franqueira, no more than 30 minutes away by car, and discover the old refrigeration technique of the neveiros.
The Feira do Xamón, held in A Cañiza, which has become one of the most long-lasting food events, will celebrate this year its 52st anniversary.