Let us guide by taste and the authenticity of one of our most traditional products: cheese. At the buffet breakfast we start with a good variety: San Simon, Arzua-Ulloa, O Cebreiro and Tetilla are the four Galician origin certified varieties. We have lunch with good milk and organic yogurts from casa Grande de Xanceda. This route proposes and authentic and tasty tour along places of local and artisan production visiting farms and cheese factories that process cow milk, a total icon in Galicia. (Read more)
To understand culture in Galicia we must understand and try its gastronomy. One of the best ways of doing it is to take part in its typical “fiestas” (gastronomical festivals). Along the year we celebrate hundreds of them and one of the most solid ones is that of Arzua´s cheese (Queixo de Arzúa) taking place every first Sunday in March. It is celebrated from 1986 until today and it has become a major music festival in spring. Any time of year one can visit this village located 40km away from Santiago and visit the Cheese and Honey Dissemination Center and of course try these two typical regional products that form a highly popular blend.
In fact each cheese type is honored in its own festival and it is worth to profit from this experience if the dates coincide with our trip. In April it is celebrated at Vilalba the festival for San Simon da Costa Cheese, a good excuse to visit this village and taste the typical smoked cheese. The festival for Cebreiro Cheese is organized also in spring at Pedrafita. In winter between the months of November and December there is another event of this type to enjoy products such as cheese and turnip at Curtis. Other villages from the Galician geography also have their own festivals presenting this traditional milk product: As Pontes de García Rodriguez, Antas da Ulla, Friol, As Neves and A Capela.
But before visiting any of these small villages it is highly advisable to take a walk on the Plaza de Abastos to make an introduction to this huge variety of cheese selection from Galicia.
As soon as we go out of the hotel we face this bustling market place full of local products. But in the narrow streets of Santiago there are more places devoted to this product like the Cheese House, serving from the 20s at Rua Bautizados. It is also possible to visit cheese factories and farms, even some of them with activities suitable and planned for children. 30 minutes by car from Santiago we find the place of Boqueixon and its cheese factory Bo-Queixo that offers guided visits including tasting to know the elaboration process with traditional practices of two well known varieties with certified origin: Arzua-Ulloa and Tetilla. 20 minutes away from Santiago at Santiso-O Pino is located Casa Varela, another familiar cheese factory that offers visits.
If your plan includes children you can visit Casa Grande de Xanceda at Mesía (A Coruña) and discover the elaboration process at an ecological farm that produces milk, yogurts and cheese. It is necessary to book in advance and once there you can follow the whole process and visit its 380 cows, get to know the milking area, the cowshed, the yogurt workshop, the cheese cave, eco vegetable garden and eco zoo. The youngest ones can also play at the hay pack and tractors area and there is also product tasting.
Another option to attract family groups to the farm production is the Farm-School Fervenza do Toxa, at Silleda. It offers several activities of agrotourism and multi-adventure tourism. It is located at one hour car ride from Santiago. At the same distance you can reach another Galician village, Sobrado dos Monxes, a well known place because of its monastery. There you can find A Casa Do Queixo (The House of Cheese) an area with farm-school, workshop and cheese museum focused to family visits. They also organize hiking routes and workshops on how to elaborate cheese. Back to the hotel, any time of day you can enjoy the great variety of cheeses combined with homemade marmalades that we always have at guest´s disposal.