Modernised cooking The Autonomous Region of Aragon is a land of hearty dishes bursting with aroma and taste and which frequently contain meat, especially lamb. Ternasco with D.O. is very appreciated (the Spanish word "ternasco" comes from the word "tierno" - tender - and refers to the suckling lamb) and has been exported to other autonomous regions in Spain. Chicken is also very popular and years ago used to be eaten at festivals, giving rise to a very admired Aragonese dish: "pollo al chilindrón", a chicken stew (lamb can also be used) which is prepared with onions, tomatoes and red peppers. Also worth special mention are the wonderful sausages and salted meats, such as cured ham from Teruel, "arbiello" and "longaniza" sausages from Aragon. There is one product which can only be found in this region: "fardeles" from Calatayud and Daroca, which are made with pork liver and spices. Rabbit and hare stewed in their own blood ("civet"), partridge, deer, roe deer and wild boar are excellent examples of its game cooking.
Diversity of offer
But not all Aragonese cooking is based on meat. This region also prepares dishes using river ingredients. Trout, eel…even the frog can be used to make natural well-seasoned dishes. Bread is another basic component of this cuisine which adopts many forms and names depending on the region..
Fruit is often eaten at the end of a good meal, but there are also excellent and traditional local desserts. The chestnut is used in the preparation of many sweets. The almond is used to make "guirlache", made from toasted almond and lots of caramelised sugar. Fairy cakes are found throughout the region and often fruit is used to prepare a typical dessert, such as "frutas de Aragón" (sugar-candied fruits covered in chocolate). "Almojábanas" (cheese flavoured rolls), "tortas de alma" made with pumpkin, honey and sugar, "trenza de Almudévar" with nuts and raisins soaked in liqueur, and many other dishes make this region a paradise for the sweet-toothed traveller.
Wines and restaurants
The following Denominations of Origin exist in this region: Cariñena, Campo de Borja, Calatayud and Somontano. They also have a D.O. of cava which it shares with other Autonomous Regions. Aragon also prepares its own drinks, reminiscent of the home-made liqueurs of long ago. One of these drinks is the Colungo liqueur from Huesca. This full-bodied liqueur is made from morello cherries and cinnamon. Fruit liqueurs (wild berries, cherries) or nut ratafias are excellent digestives after a meal.
The restaurant called La Ontina in Zaragoza, which has been awarded with one sun by the CAMPSA Guide, has an excellent choice of seasonal dishes and good wine menu featuring local wines. Ontina, Carambola and Aragonia in Zaragoza together with Las Torres, Lillas Pastia, Venta del Sotón in Huesca, all awarded one sun by the CAMPSA Guide, and La Menta in Teruel, are musts for the traveller passing through Aragon.