In addition to the raw ingredients common in Asturian cooking, there is a wide range of what the food industry calls 'value-added products' common in Asturian cooking. Indeed, if you were to ask people what they knew about Asturian cooking or Asturian food, their answer would almost certainly involve one or more of these products. Cabrales cheese, sidra natural, and fabada make up the "holy trinity" of Asturian food in the popular imagination, and all of them are the outcome of the Asturian food products tradition.
In Asturias preserving food is a preoccupation, and one of the simplest ways to use a harvest is to transform it into a more stable version of itself. This primary processing is, to me, the defining aspect of Asturian cuisine.
More than anything else, the products of Asturian preserving define the cuisine of the region. Famous for it's cheeses, cider, sausages, and dried bean dishes, it is developing a reputation as well for its beers and wines.
Main Article: The 7 Different Types of Asturian Cheese
Cheese is probably my favorite thing about living in Asturias. The sheer number of cheeses available here is wonderful. There is no commonly accepted way to decide how many cheeses are produced here, and really, it doesn't matter so much. I use Julia Harbut's seven general types of cheese, and then just catalog all of the non-industrial expressions of them I come across. By far, this is my favorite part of this website.
Main Article: Sidra Natural
The defining taste of Asturias is, without any hyperbole, sidra natural. The growing of apples, turning them into a unique cider, bottling it, pouring it, drinking it, cooking with it, and talking about it are preoccupations that permeate Asturian culture. From prehistory to now, much of Asturian life has revolved around cider. Asturian culture (food and otherwise) continues to revolve around this famous beverage. From visits to llagares to tasting notes on individual ciders from Asturias, you can find it here.
Main Article: Craft Beer In Asturias
Craft beer in Asturias is growing steadily, as it is in the rest of Spain. From early days when craft beer was hard to find, to now, when the larger Asturian breweries can be found essentially everywhere, has been only a decade. It is not unusual now to go to the agricultural supply and feed store and be able to pick up a six pack of local beer on the way out. Sure, some craft beer bars are still achingly hip and keep the same hours as nightclubs (opening at 18:00 or later for instance), but in general, the process of local and craft beer becoming normal or preferred, is happening at a terrific pace in Asturias.
I am striving to document this explosion through interviews with brewers, profiles of breweries, and tasting notes on individual beers.
Sausages & Embutidos
Main Article: Asturian Sausages
Everyone in Spain, and more and more people outside the peninsula, know the two most famous Asturian sausages now. The smoked chorizo and morcilla are famous, and protected by DOPs. But there is a whole world of other local Asturian sausages – some easy to find, some very local and obscure.
Main Article: Asturian Wine
It wasn't so long ago that Asturias' claim to fame when it came to wine was in being the only region of Spain without a wine DOP. In 2008 that changed, and the valleys around Cangas received their own appellation: Denominación Origen Protegida Cangas. From there, the region has gone from strength to strength, and now counts 8 bodegas producing wines in the DOP.
Asturias also produces other food products of note. Among them are: