It’s a cliché, but many runners would admit to it: one good reason to run is that it makes us think we can eat any amount of food after with no remorse. Another good reason is that , although its effects on running are pretty much unconfirmed, drinking a post-race beer feels damn good. And to top it up, we runners are extremely social – especially when it comes to talking about past, present and future runs -, which means that you are bound to do the whole eating and beer drinking with a cheerful like-minded bunch. Is there anyone who still says they still lack motivation for running?
So, here is why running in Galicia is so convenient. You have an infinite amount of places serving traditional (they’d say casera meaning ‘homemade’) food at a more than reasonable price. Traditional Galician food is, if anything, simple and loaded in proteins (yes, vegetarians have a hard time here). Just what you need for your stiff post-race muscles.
And there goes the chronicle of our well deserved meal after completing the Coruña21, consisting of three absolute musts: caldo galego, churrasco and Estrella Galicia. Let’s take stock of them.
If you visit Galicia, especially if you do so in winter – or on a not so warm day, which can pretty much be anytime around the year – you must absolutely try el caldo. It’s practically the only kind of soup locals ingest, although they don’t call it soup. Which may be confusing – my cousin who made a trip to Galicia last summer returned to Hungary with the false impression that they don’t ever serve soup here. They call it caldo instead, which simply means ‘warm’. The main ingredients of caldo include cabbage, grelos (a type of vegetable, similar to spinach), white beans and potato with some meat such as pork, ham or bacon. The authentic taste kind of makes you imagine a tiny old lady boiling caldo on her stove in a stone house somewhere in rural Galicia.
Churrasco is barbecue meat. You are probably thinking, all right, so what’s so special about it? I couldn’t say, unless that I love it. I love how it is served only on weekends in certain places, how there are designated restaurants to eat churrasco, how on some occasions people just set up their grills on the street so all smells like smoke, and, especially, I love not having to prepare it myself but have it on my plate freshly made. In any case, for whatever reason, the phrase “let’s go and have churrasco” pronounced at Sunday lunchtime is bound to bring a big smile on the face of any friend. Churrasco is usually pork, beef or chicken. I like pork most: ribs, very yummy. On this very occasion, the post-Coruña21 lunch, there were nine of us, and we were served an incredibly big oval plate full of ribs and chips in Lambón Bar. It was impressive to see all that meat that was soon going to disappear to build in to all those calves and quads…
Last but not least, the Estrella Galicia. Estrella for friends – but not to be confused by impostors made in other parts of Spain, such as Catalan Estrella Damm. No no, we are talking about the authentic Galician beer, the nation’s pride. So much so that if you ask a Galician away from home what they miss most, the ambery drink would sure be in the top 5. In Galicia you don’t ask for a beer, you ask for an Estrella. Ever seen the confused look on the face of a Galician when asking for an Estrella in a local pub only to learn they don’t stock the brand? What’s more, seen a Galician going to Madrid and ending up having a meal and Estrella in a Galician themed restaurant? Seen a happy Galician traveling abroad only to find a sign in a pub saying that they serve Estrella? Or heard a Galician state brave and loud that any other beer – be it a fine Czech Pilsen – tastes like pee? My opinion? The beer sure has a real characteristic strong sour taste which makes it a fine drink to accompany a heavy churrasco meal or as a post-run treat. It sure isn’t the one beer I’d want to have large quantities of on a night out. But it’s bound to be our untrained non-Galician stomach protesting. In any case, the brewery does make a number of fine alternatives these days, only with a higher alcohol content, such as the 1906, the Red Vintage, or the newest addition the Dark Coupage.