Pilgrim Menus on the Camino de Santiago
Pilgrim menus along the Camino de Santiago are sure to satisfy – a three course menu with wine and bread – how can you go wrong? They were everywhere along the Camino de Santiago. Finding a pilgrim menu was also a great way to connect and meet new people as people sat together and got to know each other over dinner and wine!
The menus changed as you walked through different regions, but they were always consistent in format – a choice for first and second course, as well as a choice for dessert. While I found little choice for the strictest of vegetarians, food was abundant along the Camino.
In spite of the fact that there are so many people walking the Camino de Santiago, there were still food challenges – you are out of sync with your surroundings! The majority of pilgrims were up and out before 6:00 a.m., many of them walking to the next town for breakfast. Some days that was an hour or two away! In bed and lights out by 9:00 or 10:00 p.m., we are often two to three hours ahead of schedule for the rest of Spain. On more than one occasion, I went straight from dinner to bed – sometimes the lights were already out in the dorms when I left the dining room! I don’t know about you, but I found sleeping on a 3 course meal a challenge at times, especially when eating a hearty stew!
Many say that you should eat your big meal at lunch time, and in many towns, a pilgrim menu or menu of the day was in fact offered. I did this on a few occasions, but admittedly, found it hard to shed the big meal at the end of the day mentality that I had grown up with! A typical day on the Camino Trail looked something like this:
Breakfast: Wake and pack my backpack before heading out to find breakfast which typically consisted of toast with jam and tea. Some places offered a pilgrim breakfast (desayuno) which also included orange juice. Look out for the juicer machines – they were the best as the juice was fresh pressed to order!
Mid morning snack: My standard go-to snack was a hot chocolate (Cola Cao) and tortilla after a couple of hours of walking. On the walk into Leon, I stumbled across an amazing little shop – tortilla quickly forgotten – a myriad of fresh and local cookies and pastries were on order! Sometimes you just have to roll with the punches!!!
Lunch: To be honest – lunch time varied the greatest of all! For me, there was nothing typical here as I ate what I could en route, or waited until I had my bed, shower and washed clothing figured out….making lunch rather late in the day! I found vegetables to be in short supply, so when I could I would have a mixed salad (ensalada mixta) with tuna to satisfy my vegetable cravings!
Dinner: Almost always a pilgrim menu – for 10 Euro, you really can’t get better value for money! On days where I just couldn’t eat a three course meal, I would get a piece of fresh fruit for dessert and throw it in my pack for the next day! I loved the apples and couldn’t get enough of them!
In some of the bigger towns, to fill the void between lunch and dinner, tapas were on order…..tiny morsels of flavoursome goodness – I think the Spanish are onto something good here!
The pilgrim menu on the Camino de Santiago – how can you go wrong?