Toledo

Posted on Friday, October 23rd, 2009 at 12:50 am

Many people make Toledo a daytrip from Madrid; it’s an easy half-hour trip by train or bus.  I spent three days based in Toledo, including half-day trips to nearby Consuegra and Tembleque.  I really loved my time there; Toledo and the region of Castilla-La Mancha definitely deserve more than just a quick trip. 

Ciervo Estofado Judias con Perdiz (Beans with Partridge)

The food of Castilla-La Mancha, a land-locked region smack in the center Spain, is remarkably different from other regions.  As I toured the perimeter of Spain, there was always salt cod and calamari to be found.  Less so in Castilla-La Mancha.  When I arrived in Toledo, the menus suddenly featured perdiz (partridge), ciervo (venison), and conejo (rabbit).  This region of Spain has traditionally lived off its wild game.  The food is still hearty peasant fare, including wild game stews and plates of nourishing beans.  While Spanish food does not typically use a lot of sauces, I tasted a lot of gravy in Toledo.     

San Tome's Marzipan Torta de Mazapan
Prior to my trip, my impression of marzipan was that it was an overly sweet, gritty paste, strangely formed into cutesy fruit or barnyard animals.  I learned otherwise in Toledo.  This city is famous for its marzipan and Santo Tome is one of the best known producers.  The marzipan I found there was still very sweet, but it was also smooth and dense.  Initially, I was confused by a sugar-coated layer of sunflower yellow in the middle of my marzipan.  It turned out to be yema, candied egg yolk.  The yema contributed more texture than taste; the middle of the marzipan melted in my mouth.  The sugar that coated the yema added the most subtle crunch.
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