Valladolid (pronounced buy-a-doll-ith, stress on the last syllable) is the capital of its own province and one of the major towns in Leon, in the province of Castilla y Leon, and the twentieth largest urban area in Spain.
Very little of the ancient town remains but the Plaça Mayor (see next post) has the distinction of being the model for the squares of the same name in Madrid and Salamanca, and as such it represents a major contribution to Spanish urban planning.
In terms of gastronomy, Valladolid is to suckling lamb (lechazo) what nearby Segovia is to suckling pig (cochinillo). Lechazo de Castilla y Leon has it’s own IGP and producers must meet strict criteria in order to be able to use the name. Meat in general is very good here, although seafood plays a prominent part in the diet too. Mushrooms of various kinds are also a speciality, as well as sheep’s cheeses.
La Pedriza (B+), 10 Calle Colmenares Tel. 983 397 951. open on Sunday.
This is the lesser-known sister restaurant of El Figon de Recoletes, one of the best asadors in town, but it was closed that day and I was the only customer here on a Sunday evening! (Sunday lunch is when locals would be more likely to eat out). No good for people watching but it meant that I got good personal service from the kindly waiters here. This was good because I’d gone without lunch to prepare myself for a hefty meal here.
For the main event, a whole eighth of Lechazo Asado, which is more than enough for one. The lamb had been roasted in a special wood-fired clay oven, rather like a pizza oven, at the front of house and in a scorching hot earthenware dish with a cup of water poured over it. The result was three large beautifully cooked chunks of lamb, one with a solitary kidney still attached, swimming in salty oil and juices. An absolutely awesome meat experience (A).
Traditionally lamb is eaten just with a simple Ensalada, here made with top quality tomatoes, lettuce and onions (why aren’t our ‘Spanish’ onions as white and tasty as these?), which was great (A-) but served ready dressed and salted and swimming in the requisite pool of water (both pet hates of mine), as is usually the case in Spain, hence the minus.
I upsized with a large plate of tasty pale chips on the side (A).
And finally a slab of Tarta de Hojaldre de la Casa y Crema, or flaky puff pastry with vanilla cream (B), a shot of local firewater and a bowl of unnecessary sweet buns.
Total cost, €80.35, which is a lot, but you have to do these things sometimes.
Here is a link to a list of top asadors in Castilla y Leon.
I stayed at the Hotel Juan de Austria at 108 Paseo de Zorrilla. The rooms are modern, the staff helpful and the breakfast is pretty comprehensive but it’s a fair walk to town (2o mins). There’s a bar downstairs where you can sit outside on the wide pavement.