I wrote about the GoodlitBox hampers that offer a chance to taste the flavours and specialities of different parts of Spain.
We were extremely pleased with the first hamper that we received, offering some typical products from our own province, Alicante. Unfortunately, however, shortly after having received the hamper, we had to rush off to Belgium, where Elise's mother was very ill. Realising that we might not be back in time to be able to receive the next hamper, I got in touch with the GoodlitBox people and Juan Manuel agreed to hold the next box, and, should it be necessary, the following one, too, until our return to Spain.
As things turned out, we had to stay in Belgium five weeks, but when we were on our way back to Spain, I emailed Juan Manuel to let him know that he could send the two hampers that by that time were pending. They arrived today.
The July hamper (Alicante was actually the May hamper) contains products from Asturias, and a great selection it is, too. Have you ever seen someone pouring cider in the north of Spain? The bottle is held at full stretch, high in the air, while the glass is held as low as possible, in an almost balletic stance; the cider is then poured slowly, so that there is a great splashing and gathering of air in the base of the glass; only a relatively small amount of cider is poured. You can see the technique here. The hamper contains a bottle of traditional Asturian cider, made by Trabanco.
Resturante Eutimio enjoys a strong reputation, preparing traditional dishes since 1964. Some of their culinary skills are packaged, too, and that's the case with the pot of pastel de centollo y merluza del cantábrico (Cantabrian spider crab and hake paste) that is included in the hamper. I imagine it will put the old Shippam's salmon spread to shame…
I'm a great cheese lover, so I'm very pleased with the soft Casín cheese, El Viejo Mundo, a cheese made of the milk of Asturian cows.
The scorpion fish, or cabracho, is a rock fish typical of the Cantabrian Sea (the southern part of the Bay of Biscay). Cabracho paté is a traditional element of Asturian cooking, which is also used in Cantabria and the Basque Country.
The mixture of cider and cheese produces a strange yet delicious result. That, at least, is what the booklet that accompanies the Asturias hamper promises of its pot of crema de cabrales a la sidra (cabrales cheese with cider). Cabrales is a fatty blue cheese from a very small area of eastern Asturias. It gets very good reviews, so the combination of a first-class Asturian cheese with Asturian cider indeed sounds promising.
I might like cheese, but I am not a great lover of fish. However, tuna, salmon, shark, and a few others pass muster. Included in this list of acceptable fish is, without a doubt, bonito, a sort of small tuna. Good, then, that bonito forms part of the next item in the hamper, namely cebollas rellenas de bonito del norte (onions stuffed with northern bonito).
The final item representing Asturias is of a sweeter nature than the rest, namely casadiellas. These are fried pastries, filled with aniseed liqueur-flavoured nuts. Should go down a treat!
The next hamper is dedicated to Malaga and I shall describe it very soon.