Published: April 8th 2012April 8th 2012
Meson de Candido
A must-savor experience especially for those pork lovers!
Just a week before, I was in Segovia
with some friends. We made it for late lunch here after a morning spent in Avila. That time, the sun was out and we made it through the day with light jackets. Snow in April?
Not this time. By the time we got off the AVE train from Madrid, it was raining and the field across the Segovia-Guiomar Train Station was fully blanketed with snow! Bus #11 was jampacked with train passengers eager to reach the heart of the historic city of Segovia some 7 kilometers away.
The bus stopped right before the 2,000 year old Roman aqueduct. We had the good sense to make reservations for late lunch at the Meson de Candido by the Azoguejo, now run by the fourth generation of the same family who made cochinillo a thriving industry in this part of Castile-Leon since 1786. Who is Candido?
A monument was built in his honor in Segovia in 1996. The monument shows Candido about to carve his cochinillo with the edge of a plate. It is this same ritual performed
The Inn By the Segovian Aqueduct
Now run by fourth generation of the Candido Family who made cochinillo synonymous with Segovian tourism.
before your order of cochinillo is served. The drama ends with A. Candido, the present Innkeeper and head of the 4th generation of the Candido family, throwing the same plate on the floor after the carving.
A most charming man, A. Candido was right there to welcome the guests, hand out pamphlets which contain recipes of stews and the famous baked piglet itself. I am not sure they wrote down their "real" recipe there. I have tried cochinillo in another Meson in Segovia and I dare say Candido's most definitely stands out in taste. (There are many such Mesons in the area around the aqueduct, all serving those baked piglets).
Candido, his son, and his grandsons will surely be around for many years to come. Segovia does him justice with that monument, considering how Segovia's tourism industry has integrated this gourmet experience as a must-savor adventure.
You will find many other mesons serving the same cochinillo. But no, it's NOT the same. I have tried cochinillo in 3 other restaurants (in Segovia, Avila and Madrid) and Candido's is simply the best. Besides, who would want to miss that ritual of Candido
a Monument to Candido
The city of Segovia does this man justice with this monument showing Candido about to carve his cochinillo with the edge of a plate.
carving the baked piglet with the edge of a plate, then dropping the same plate to break into pieces on the floor?
And how about the charm of this old man who gamely posed for photos with us? He even regaled us with stories of his visit to Manila and other parts of the country, his meeting with Señora Marcos, and such things? His son is just as charming. Torrijas, a Lenten Delicacy
It being the Lenten Season, we made sure we didn't miss out on the Torrijas. We're told this is a Lenten delicacy. Sure, we've tried it back in Madrid but we found the pastry shops in Segovia particularly interesting. So, why not?
It's like a cross between French toast and bread pudding. Either served with milk or some syrup. We tried both, along with some yemas. Goes well with coffee too. Hmmmm, not a bad day. Some Touristy Stuff
As I've been here just a week before, I joined the girls in visiting the Segovian Cathedral again. Tough luck for them, but Gregorio
Baked suckling pig. mine looks like the entire piglet sans the head!
Fernandez' Cristo Yacente can only be viewed from a distance... Behind the bars.
Then there's the Juderia or Jewish Quarters. I passed up on the Alcazar. No energy left to scale those stairs. Simply waited by the cafe with my cup of brew and those Torrijas. Segovia is a small pocket of history that's so easy to navigate in half a day. You appreciate its history the first time, then keep going back for its gastronomic delights. Can you blame me?
By the time we were back in the Estacion de Tren, all snow's melted. We were in the station early so we hopped on an earlier train departing for Madrid. Errr, not hopped on. We actually RACED to the last coach to get on the train for the half hour fast ride. Seated....we spent the next 10 minutes catching our breath. All that cochinillo, sangria and Torrijas must have energized us!
There are more photos below