Join the Brindisa team on a trip to three outstanding Galician food suppliers. Located in the northwest of the Iberian peninsula, facing the Atlantic Ocean, the region represents the perfect blend of history, culture, and gastronomy.

| Fernando Santero

Long ago, Galicia was believed to be the end of the known world. If this were true, it would be hard to find a more idyllic setting. Located in the northwest of the Iberian peninsula, facing the Atlantic Ocean, Galicia possesses a characteristic Celtic climate that blankets the landscape in vibrant green. The region represents the perfect blend of history, culture, and gastronomy. In fact, it’s considered a “historical nationality”, a term used in Spain to refer to regions whose identity stands out notably from the rest of the country.

Galicia is a gastronomic heaven, not only for the Galicians but also for the hundreds of thousands who visit every year from all corners of the world. On a recent trip, we were fortunate enough to get to know Galicia through the eyes of three food producers who opened their homes to us, embodying the typical Galician hospitality. We'd like to invite you along on the journey with us.

First, we headed to the facilities of La Brújula, who describe themselves as "gourmet preservers", and whose products are endorsed by many giants of Spanish gastronomy. With an offering of more than 100 products from sardines to mussels, La Brújula preserves the treasures that the sea has to offer, one of the main sources of wealth for the Galician people.
Brindisa has been selling their sardines for years; a small-sized fish cooked to perfection to elevate this already-popular product on British shelves. But the key here is the quality of the ingredients: fresh sardines processed within hours of being caught, along with olive oil they produce themselves.
María, on the production line, has been working with them for 8 years, but she has been in the industry for much longer. As we talk for a few minutes, she effortlessly cleans a few dozen sardines and carefully places them in the washing trays. Her favourite product is the “Xeito” sardines, which are caught in a special way in the Rías Gallegas, reducing the stress on the fish. The time of day when they are caught is also key: La Brújula only uses sardines caught at dawn when they have empty stomachs, ensuring the purity of the flavour.

According to La Brújula, there is no better way to eat preserves than by using tweezers to place them directly into the mouth, ensuring that their flavour is fully enjoyed. Their sardines have a firm body with a fine and buttery texture that complements their delicate sea flavor. The texture of their mussels is silky and melting, and their anchovies are umami, without being excessively salty, almost like an Ibérico ham, while their squid is aromatic and tender.


With full stomachs, we head to Ourense, where we have an appointment with María, the owner of Posada, a company dedicated to one of Galicia’s most iconic products: chestnuts. With a modest but innovative product line, Posada works with the highest quality Galician chestnut trees, bearing a products that Brindisa has imported for decades. Posada's commitment to the quality of Galician products has attracted the attention of competitive markets such as Japan, where chestnuts are highly sought-after.
Ironically, María has just one chestnut tree at the entrance to her facilities in an industrial state in Ourense. Her "chestnut thermometer", as she calls it, is all she needs to know when and what to expect from the next chestnut harvest. We then visit the ancient forests where her suppliers collect the raw material from the native chestnut tree known as Castanea Sativa, which produces a sweet fruit. Its high content of long-chain carbohydrates and low fat percentage make it a unique and versatile nut with a wide range of possibilities as an ingredient, which can be used to make everything from chestnut paste to flour.

Next, we head to Santiago de Compostela, the final destination for pilgrims on the famous Camino de Santiago. Despite it being a Wednesday night, the city is full of life, and it’s easy to get lost in its streets brimming with history and tradition.

Carmela greets us with a warm welcome and enthusiastically launches into a conversation about how dear this project is to her. Just when we thought we had a handle on Galicia’s potential, we learn about the relative scarcity of Galician cheeses, despite the region producing nearly half of the milk consumed in Spain.

Firmly convinced of Galicia’s potential, Carmela left her career in Finance in 2016 to breathe life back into an old cheese dairy nestled amidst the forests and meadows of Teiraboa. These facilities once served as a workshop for Italian producers of a recipe akin to Parmesan, capitalizing on Galicia’s ideal conditions for crafting an Alpine-style cheese. The result is Galmesan ("Galicia's parmesan"), a cow’s milk cheese with a character all its own, boasting a robust and crumbly texture with intense toffee undertones.
And Galmesan hides a treasure. Venturing through their production room and the salt-curing area where the cheeses float in huge tubs for several days, we reach the maturation chamber. There, hundreds of colossal cheeses are meticulously stacked on seemingly endless wooden shelves. Carmela uncorks a Galician wine and offers us some shavings of this delicacy as she unfolds her vision of the future: she is now crafting 60 tons of cheese a year and it doesn’t show signs of slowing down. Armed with a unique product, Carmela feels supported by the acceptance her project has received and is confident in the tradition and craftsmanship of the Galician people.

A few kilometers from the dairy, in a vast meadow adjacent to a cornfield and overlooking the hills of the Galician forests, cows roam freely and are fed accordingly to ensure that the milk obtained is of the highest quality. With her project, Carmela has unlocked Galicia’s potential to create a sustainable industry in these fertile lands. As the dairy's milk supplier, Alejandro, caresses one of his cows just a few meters from us, we realise we don’t want to say goodbye to Galicia.

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