Segovia Tour and Food Trip: Ish Meets Spain

Everyone who knows me is well aware that Madrid is my favorite city in Spain. The city itself has a number of areas to explore. However, today we will go on a food trip to one of the neighboring towns.

Segovia is well known for the very well preserved and in fact, still functional Roman aqueduct that dominates the city center. This is a true blue medieval town. I don’t know about you, when but when I come to Europe, I don’t look for skyscrapers. The old world feel of the ancient cities of Europe are the big draw.

Segovia Aqueduct
Like the Pyramids and the Great Wall of China, it always fills me with such awe when I am in the presence of man-made structures built in centuries past. The longevity, stability, functionality and sheer genius of these structures never cease to amaze me. In times when little conveniences we take for granted like the telephone and incandescent bulbs were many centuries away from being invented, these people were able to build such magnificent structures.
Most of Segovia has been preserved and walking around the vast cobbled streets can really transport you to ancient times. The brick houses and medieval churches and bell towers make me want to unsheathe my sword and find where they are holding the jousting tournament!.
The mood is marred occasionally by the signs of Banco Santander or Caja Laboral and other financial institutions dotting the town. However, the lack of neon lights, gigantic billboards and skyscrapers still manage to keep the modernization in check and the town maintains its old world exotic charm. The town is quite small and I usually just take a side trip here from Madrid. After having explored it before, I come back here mostly for the food.
Yes, I’m talking about the world-famous Spanish cochinillo. Every corner of Segovia offers some kind of “original” or “best” version of the oven roasted suckling pig.
*Window Display
This is reminiscent of the Filipino “Lechon de Leche” except these piglets are smaller than what we are used to back home. They are oven roasted in Spain instead of over a fire pit. I know I keep saying I’m an animal rights activist but yes. I do have a hypocritical moment whenever I’m in Segovia. (Or every time I have tasty animals on the table)   Who could resist the juicy flesh that melts in your mouth and the crispy skin that isn’t as overwhelmingly greasy as our Lechon?
There won’t be any liver sauce served with this dish but it will be bathed in its own juices on your plate once your portion has been cut.
The ceremony of serving the cochinillo is as much a part of the experience as the food itself (albeit not as rewarding, I must say). The whole pig is brought in on its own table where the server promptly cuts it up with a porcelain dish. This shows how tender it is. He cuts through everything, baby piglet bones and all. When he is done, he throws the dish to the floor with a resounding crash and that’s the cue for everyone to dig in!
Segovia is famous for this so any of the restaurants serve high quality cochinillo. However, you would want to come early to escape the throng of Asian tourists coming in with their tour group. This isn’t difficult to do since Filipino mealtimes are generally earlier than the Spanish ones (2:00 pm lunch)After a satisfying and oh-so-sinful meal, remember to leave room for the best churros in town which can be found in Valor Chocolateria right by the aqueduct.
If this isn’t enough, a nice afternoon stroll through the main plaza will bring you to a small market where local people bring their freshly prepared treats which range from typical Spanish fare like cheeses and hams to all kinds of other treats like marshmallows, crepes and muffins.
They have barquillos which obviously originated from Spain but theirs are a lot thicker and bigger.
 Here’s a stall that sells sausages and er, cheese cones 🙂
The smell of freshly baked bread always makes me giddy with excitement!
They even sell their own version of freshly popped chicharon, which of course I could not resist. Yes, even after the cochinillo.
So, I started my meal with a suckling pig and ended it with chicharon. The 45 minute bus ride from Madrid was well worth it, heck that’s not even as long as Quezon City to Makati. Yes, I would say that a side/food trip to Segovia is always worth the extra calories. Indeed, my siblings and I did not only eat them but have become the three little pigs.