meson de candido – segovia, spain

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Segovia’s ancient Roman aqueduct is spectacular. Stretching into the sky, masses of swallows swoop, dive and rise through its arches, as they have done for the last couple of thousand years.

Debatably, after the aqueduct, the next sight to see is the alcazar. On the far end of the town, the castle is rumoured to be Walt Disney’s inspiration for his eponymous castle.

But – the number one attraction (for us) is Segovia’s conchinillo suckling pig! Which is cut with a plate! Yes, with a plate!

 

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The aqueduct still carries water. Unfortunately, modern day pollution of the water is degrading the monument.

 

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Left: Segovia’s beautiful cathedral. Right: The Alcazar, apparently the inspiration for the Disney castle. What do you think?

Meson de Candido’s fabulous location next to the aqueduct, is a tourist favourite. But instead of being a tourist trap, is world famous for its stupendous cochinillo suckling pig.

The legendary suckling pig, is not, as I had hoped, cut with a plate every time someone orders a serving. (I guess the glutton in me was hoping to have a whole suckling pig all to ourselves. That’s a bit much isn’t it.)

Jjust as luck would have it, a little girl’s birthday was being celebrated and her family had ordered a whole pig, so we got to witness the famous plate cutting after all.

 

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Left: Photo opportunities with the delicious piggy. Right: The Highest Innkeeper of Castille strutting and saying his stuff.

It’s quite a ceremony – the piggy is wheeled out, the meson’s director – the Highest Innkeeper of Castille (no joke, that’s the title) – complete with medallion, begins to read from a book over the piglet. I don’t speak Spanish but it looked like he was saying a blessing (or an incantation, I have no idea) and this went on for a while.

It was austere – they take their food very seriously here.

 

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Plate cutting down to a fine art.

Suddenly he snatched a plate and BAM bam bam! Like soft butter, the piglet is cut in four quick movements, the snap of crispy crackling reverberating through the air. The plate is tossed high and falls, shattering on the ground.

With a flourish, the piglet is ready for serving. It’s a captivating spectacle to watch – the legacy and tradition of good food is amazing.

 

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We turn back to our generous plates of conchinillo. The crackling is thin and crisp, with swathes of gorgeous milk fed pork beneath. With such respect given to food here, it’s no surprise the trotter is served too. (Not sure about the head.)

The accumulated cooking juices were mopped up with strands of tender pork and the fabulous bread basket. Delicious.

It was a stand out meal on our holiday, because at its heart it was simple yet special. Underneath the shade of an ancient monument, in a building that has stood since 1786, eating suckling pig being cooked in the same way since 1905. It was very much like eating the history of Segovia.

 

 

Meson de Candido
Azoguejo 5, Segovia 40001 Espana
T: 921 425 911
W:
http://www.mesondecandido.es/ingles.html

 

 

* Segovia is an hour’s high speed train ride from Madrid. Perfect for a daytrip, the World Heritage town is best explored on foot and in about six hours, we saw just about everything. The town is not too touristy (compared to, from what I’ve heard, Toledo) yet there are plenty of visitors’ facilities. Despite that, you can still get lost in the back alleys and have quiet moments in Plaza Mayor. During the afternoon break, it’s blissfully silent.

 

 

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-M

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