Segovia, located around 100 kilometres northwest of Madrid in Spain, is home to one of the best preserved Roman Aqueducts in the world! Segovia and the aqueduct have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985. It’s an easy day trip from Madrid, or do what I did and come for a night. Segovia is amazing and the food is divine!
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The ancient Roman aqueduct is the Segovia’s main claim to fame (as well as roast suckling pig – but more on that later..). It was built in the first century AD, sometime between 98AD and 112AD – that makes it over 1,900 years old! And… it was in use until 1973! The aqueduct transports water from mountain springs and the river Rio Frio 17 kilometres away into the town.
There are over 167 arches and get this – the granite block are not mortared – there is some mortar on the top level which carried the water through the U shape channel. I am absolutely in awe of the structure, it’s so grand, its so ancient.
When it’s time for lunch, my YouTube obsession has brought me to El Bernadino,dating back to 1939, it is one of the oldest restaurants in Segovia . I’m here to have two of its most famous dishes – Judiones de la Granja con su matanzan – or Special white beans from “La Granja”, and, – Cochinillo asado en horno de leña con patata panadera – Roast suckling pig in wood burning oven with baked potato. The pig is supposed to be so tender, they carve it with a dinner plate!
Bread is quickly brought to the table without asking – however I am a little dismayed that there is a charge added to the bill. Oh well, it’s less than two Euro’s… The bread is soft and fluffy, but I am saving myself so I dare not eat it… yet.
My table is reset just for moi, a table for one. I feel a little silly at first being the only one in the restaurant and sitting by myself, however it’s not long until the restaurant fills up with tour groups. I order some water and white wine. It takes a little time to be served but there is a slight language barrier as my waitperson doesn’t speak English very well. All good though, this is to be expected and I have my google translate app 😉
For the first course, the I had to go for the Judiones de la Granja con su matanzan – or Special white beans from “La Granja”. The dish is served at the table from a large pot. The beans are surprisingly big.
There is a distinct paprika flavour but it’s not overwhelming. Each of the ingredients hold their own flavour. The beans, extremely large, are not my favourite source of protein but they are delicious and not grainy as large beans can be. But its the morsels of, chorizo, blood sausage and ham that bring out pops of flavour. Sadly, there is only large chunk of ham, which melts in my mouth, but I am fully sold on the blood sausage, it has a unique flavour that penetrates through the rest of the dish but not overpoweringly so. It almost acts as an alkaline to the acidity that come from the chorizo.
Sadly, as I am not in a group, I don’t get to watch the cutting of the whole pig with a plate. The suckling pigs are raised locally, generally weigh between 4.5-5 kilograms and milk fed for a maximum 21 days. Although I may have preferred the forequarter, I am presented with a hind. The skin is super crispy, yet without the mass of salt so often used for crackling. In fact, it is nothing but the pig and wood fire that used in this dish. The meat is very tender, a little fatty, which adds to the flavour. I am totally in love with the potato and onions which are the prefect balance to the rich fatty meat. I can only get half way through it, so I take the rest back to my hotel, along with the bread, which made a great supper that evening.
On the way back to the hotel, I stop at Restaurant Casares located on the Plaza Atilleria for wine and tapas. This tapas is a pork based sausage, onion and bread and quite delicious. The tapas is just brought out and served alongside the wine at no additional cost.
Simple yet delicious, I’m not sure how healthy this actually is but the fatty pork sausage is delightful.
Later, when having a wander around Segovia, I stop for a drink at the Cafeteria Los Sportales and order a glass of wine. This also comes with a tapas dish – smoked salmon on soft white bread. It’s a bargain at EUR2.80, so I end up having three 😉 I really enjoy the little view of the Aqueduct and this is great place for people watching. The service is really warm from the young waiter. After my three drinks and tapas, I leave the change as a tip, about EUR10, the waiter comes running after me as if I had left my change behind, when I tell him it is a tip he seems generally surprised and thankful! I think tipping is great if you have had friendly service!
What a wonderful place! I think I’m in love with Segovia, the history and the food. And the aqueduct looks even more grand at sunset.
The aqueduct is monumental, and the local specialty dishes divine. If you’re in this part of the world Segovia should not to be missed!
If you’re looking to visit Segovia, day tours are available from Madrid and easily booked here.
I stayed at the Hotel ELE Acueducto, located around 100 metres from the aqueduct. If you’re looking to stay in Segovia, book through Booking.com as I did here.
2 Comments Add yours
Wow! How amazing
My mouth was totally watering reading this post! So interesting that they cut the pork with a plate!!