The Spanish city of León has fought off stiff competition from the city of Cuenca and others to be crowned Gastronomic Capital of Spain 2018. The accolade is awarded by members of the Spanish Hospitality Federation (FEHR) and the Spanish Federation of Travel Journalists and Writers (FEPET), and aims to promote local gastronomy. Here are just a few reasons why the judges decided to name León as the winner.
Its variety of local dishes
León has a great variety of local dishes that particularly represent the city itself, as well as the the wider León province. Some of these include cecina (salted dried meat), Valderón cheese, botillo (meat-stuffed pork intestine), and tasty Bierzo roasted bell peppers. It also offers three Denominations of Origin, nine Protected Geographical Indications and six Marks of Guarantee in its regional foods.
The city’s slogan for the competition is ‘Manjar de Reyes’, which means ‘Food of Kings’, giving a nod to the city’s royal connection and history of the Catholic monarchs Fernando de Aragón and Isabel de Castilla. Some of its regional cuisine is certainly fit for royalty.
Its great number of bars and restaurants
León has one of the greatest number of bars in the city per inhabitant in the whole of Spain – one that equates to 5.03 bars per 1,000 inhabitants. The city also has 1,198 restaurants and one of the most affordable Michelin-starred restaurant in the country – Cocinandos.
Its free tapas offerings
León is one of the few cities left in Spain where many of the bars still offer a free tapa with your drink, so you can make the most of its variety of cuisine without breaking the bank.
Its Barrio Húmedo
León’s Barrio Húmedo roughly translates as the ‘Wet District’ because of the number of bars and restaurants in the area, and it offers some of the best and most atmospheric spots in the city. Take a look at our ‘Local’s Guide to León’s Barrio Húmedo‘ to find out where best to eat and drink in the area.
In its proposal for Gastronomic Capital of Spain 2018, the city proposed 155 foodie events spread throughout the year. León’s bid and its proposal also had the backing of famous Spanish chefs such as Juan Mari Arzak, Martín Berasategui and the Roca brothers.
León will take over from the current Gastronomic Capital of Spain – Huelva – on January 1, 2018.