Asturian gastronomic delight

It's my last Sunday in Galicia and rather than my usual Sunday routine of eggs & beans on fried bread, washed down with copious amounts of Nescafe while watching DVDs, I was invited out to lunch by Stephen, Kay, Neil and Rosa.

Our target was a recommendation of Neil and Rosa, 'Los Arándanos', what seemed like a long way up a winding, twisting road in the hills above Taramundi. The name of the restaurant means 'The Blueberries' (or 'The Cranberries' depending on how you translate it) and as well as a top class restaurant the couple who run it also sell preserves and other natural products from their large blueberry plantation on the hillside next to the restaurant.

Los Arándanos is a very different eating experience from the usual hearty Galician/Asturian fare and one which I'd very much recommend trying. The emphasis is on quality, taste and combinations rather than the usual measure of quantity but you'll definitely not leave feeling hungry.

You are welcomed from your circuitous journey by the hosts, a very nice couple who originated from Madrid, and thence on the main dining room dominated by a large wood burning fire that was doing an excellent job of taking the mid-December chill out of the air.

The welcoming log fire

We opted to share three starters and after a delicious complimentary Asturian twist on Welsh Rarebit we opted for; Asturian Cheese Croquettes; a warm mushroom and fruit salad; and pan fried sep mushrooms.

The cheesy starter...

...and the warm mushrooms and fruits

All were absolutely delicious and washed down with delicious white wine suggested by our hosts.

The main course for me was bacalao (cod) with onion marmalade and apple puree, garnished with a spicy fresh flower, and cooked to perfection fusing three strong flavours perfectly. My fellow diners ordered a couple of different pork dishes (one was pork cheeks), and one of the largest steaks you'll see this side of an Aberdeen Angus.

The cod with onion marmalade

Fresh home made deserts, coffees, liqueurs and chocolate truffles finished off what was simply a superb meal in sensational surroundings and with great company. The chef has developed dishes with the 'wow' factor both in presentation and taste and the service is exemplary.

The only problem is that this was the restaurants last day of trading until Easter, as they shut down for winter due to the likely bad weather and issues for people fulfilling their bookings. That means I won't be able to return with Amanda when we visit in January, it's a treat we'll have to save until the summer.

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