How long have you been dreaming to hike in the Peaks of Europe, in Spain? It’s high time to do it now. Take a first step in discovering the new land, that keeps secrets of Celtic heritage. I promise that you will feel how old legends come back to life if you happen to take a stroll in the forest after the sunset. Some locals still believe in legends, aren´t they right in doing so?
Cider is not just alcohol made of apples. Cider is an art. It represents the joyful spirit of the Northern people. In order to train cider pouring, locals learn for years. They try to preserve this part of their culture, transmitting knowledge from generation to generation. Cider is an absolute must-try and a must-bring-home souvenir. There are stronger and lighter types of cider, older and younger, with a sweet or sour taste. Don´t forget to choose your bottle. As an addition, you can bring a figure of escanciador (escanciador comes from escanciar and means to pour cider).
2. Celtic Locket
If you are planning to include hiking in Europe´s peaks, don´t forget to choose the Celtic locket that is going to protect you from local mythical creatures. If you are planning a trip to Northern Spain and have not included a trip to Europe´s peaks, you should definitely do so! Jokes apart, but you have probably heard that Northern Spain has more to do with Celtic than with Iberian culture. Celtic locket can be a good reminder of the times, you spent wandering the green paths of Asturias.
3. Cheese Los Cabrales
The northern part of Spain has a distinctive culture and that includes food culture as well. Cheese Los Cabrales is a ripened goat cheese that will make a good fit with red vine. Cabrales is a blue cheese made by local artisans who follow the tradition and know their craft. It is available in different formats. You can buy a head of cheese, a melted cheese, a sauce or a set of different cabrales. Local farmers believe that the unique blend of goat and sheep milk endows the cheese with exquisite taste and strengthens the immune system of the ones who eat the cheese. Look at local people and decide yourself whether it is true or myth.
If you have ever watched Lord of the Rings or Hobbit, you are probably familiar with the feeling of getting immersed in an imaginative world of a fairy-tale with its little creatures and houses. In Asturias, you might not find the hobbits (only if you drink too much cider), but you will definitely see tiny houses that resemble the ones from the Middle Earth. These are the horreos, small buildings on puncheons that were used as barns in old times. Nowadays, all of them are enlisted as UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage. Nobody who owns an horreo can demolish it. Although, it is allowed to renovate horreos and some people do it in a really creative way. Some horreos are transformed to guesthouses. You can stay in one of them or bring home a figure of a dwarf house.
5. Cruz de la Victoria
Cruz de la Victoria is a heraldic symbol of Asturias. It is not just religious, but also a historical symbol and an object of Asturia´s pride. If we go back to the history of the 7th-century Iberia, Northern Spain was facing a military confrontation with Al-Álndaluz (that is, Muslim) kingdom. As it goes in the legend, don Pelayo himself, the head of Asturian troops and the first monarch of Asturias, elaborated the wooden cross that is the base of Victory cross, in the battle of Covadonga in 722. Even after the story was proved to be just a popular myth by scientific methods of dating, the cross is still a symbol of pride for Asturians. The North has never been conquered by Muslims and Asturians take great pride of valor, honor, and gallantry of their powerful and fearless ancestors. Victory Cross can be found on all the souvenir products. While the flag is the most popular, you can always find something more practical, like bracelets or lockets at the local fairs.
Most of the times if you try out any local dish, it is impossible to take it away as a souvenir. That is not the case of fabada. It is a bean stew made of white beans, the shoulder of pork, bacon, saffron, black pudding, chorizo and longaniza (a variety of Spanish sausage). If you tried fabada and liked it, here is the good news! You can buy a ready-made set of ingredients, bring it home and try to reproduce this culinary masterpiece.
7. Virgen de Covadonga
As you might have noticed already, Spain is a really Catholic country. What is more, the variety of devotional traditions varies from region to region. Each region is distinctive and Asturias is not an exception. Our Lady of Covadonga is a patron of Asturias. It is believed that the statue of her secretly hidden in the cave, favored Asturians to defeat Moorish Invasion. You can buy a figure of the Virgin of Covadonga if you want to make a gift to somebody who is a Catholic believer.
The typical Asturian sweets, casadielles are the type of empanadilla (fried pastry), stuffed with walnuts, sugar, and anis. You will not regret buying this sweet souvenir for you and your family.
Trisquel or triskelion is a motif that consists of triple rotating spirals. Asturias is a part of the Celtic world. If you are going to take a stroll across tiny Northern villages, you will easily come across this symbol. Local people still use in house decoration. If you are lucky enough to speak Spanish and happen to have a conversation with villagers, they will tell you that they still believe in sacred and properties of trisquel and use is as a protective element in the amulets and household utensils.
10. Figures of Local Mythical Creatures
Busgosu, cuélebre, diañu, domoe – all of them are prominent figures in the mythology of Asturias. Buying a figure of one of the mythological creatures is a good idea for a souvenir. Most of the figures are nicely done. They are elaborated from wood and it feels good to touch them. It can be a great souvenir for your little ones or for you if you are keen on learning about local folklore when you discover the new places.