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The Herbón pepper

Herbon, is designated as the most relevant in a gastronomic point of view within the parish of Padron. Therein, is where the famous Pementos de Herbon peppers are grown. Outsiders may identify other peppers and name them as Pementos de Padron peppers, in an extended commercial variety, but is actually only in Herbon where they continue to use techniques learned from their ancestors to grow these little delicacies that that do not go unnoticed in our palates.

The origin of the pepper in Galicia goes back to the seventeenth century and are linked to the seeds brought by Franciscan monks to the monastery of Herbon from the Mexican state of Tabasco. Thus, in these lands dried and ground pepper were commercialized in the late eighteenth century and became a vital source of income.

The Herbon Pepper is collected early when it is still immature, and keeping in mind its freshness when sold. Ancestral cultural techniques coupled with the climatic characteristics are the pillars that surround the production of this species, which ultimately gives them a special and differentiating characteristics. Therefore, the authentic peppers from the orchard are distinguished by their green color, which is slightly light and with a size that ranges from 3.5 to 5.5 cm in length and a maximum diameter of between 1.5 and 2 cm .

Surely more than one has opted for and has been intrigued to taste and test the popular galician phrase Uns pican e outros non, which means that some might be spicy and others may not. It is because of the surprise factor that each and everyone of these unique delicacies hides, that it is almost a necessity to experience them and try out the light spiciness that may be hiding within. Given that the peppers are based on a variety that is originally spicy, the skill othe farmers in the area, who over the years have been perfecting their selection techniques to discard those plants and fruit which spicy factor it too intense should be praised. In Padrón , more than 14 greenhouse acres exist today for the cultivation of pepper, not to mention about 20 more acres of cultivation which are grown outdoors. The total production is approximately 1.3. million kilos.

Grown both outdoors and in greenhouses, the real peppers from the Herbon orchard are only on the market from May to October. It is precisely in early May when the collection of the specimens grown in the greenhouses are collectedwhile the ones grown outdoors are done in late June. The peppers that are sold between May and August tend not to be spicy, it is late summer when they are full grown that it is the ideal moment to taste the spicy ones.

For lovers of traditional cuisine, the fried peppers are the perfect choice. Fried in plenty of olive oil, not too hot so it does not peel the skin, and preferably without a stem, they need to be fried slowly and constantly moved. Once removed and drained they are salted with coarse salt. However, these peppers lend themselves to the imagination of their chefs, giving a unique flavor to countless recipes, such as appetizers, side dishes using meat or fish, pies … etc..

As of July 1, 2009, the Order of the La Orden de la Consejería de Medio Rural recognized the peppers Pimiento de Padrón as Denominación de Origen Protegida, a protection of its origin rights. Thus, it adopted its Rules and appointed an Interim Regulatory Council.

More information : www.pementodeherbon.com

The Lamprey

No doubt its appearance does not do it justice compared to its taste. In fact, after the first impact of its aggressive face and its unattractive initial gelatin like feel , the lamprey is one of the richest delicacies obtained from the cold waters of the Ulla river.

Its flavor, for many is peculiar, it is unique, and it is in the spring when it is the ideal time for those that want to taste it. Tradition marks the time, there is a popular proverb that says you have to try it before cucada or in other words before the cuckoo bird invades the forest (lamprea cucada, lamprea mermada) ,it was followed by our ancestors, and of course it is also an influence in the traditional cuisine used.

Good specimens are caught in the river, during their rise to spawn. In our town , they are still caught in Herbon where they use the pesqueiras, which are fishing cages with doors that are placed in the middle of the river current where the animals must pass through in order to complete their life cycle. The cages have been used since Roman times, the romans were delighted by this primitive fish as well and would send this delicacy packed in jars of clay, to the capital of the Empire.

As it is the case with many other Galician products ,there is an array of rich recipes, there are multiple ways you can prepare and present these lampreys. However, there is one rule each dish must have in common, in order to succeed it its preparation its own blood and red wine must be used and in order to get the appropriate taste it must be carefully and throughly cleaned to remove the organs and the gall.

Of all of the varieties that you can taste in the extensive dishes available, the most typical of Padron is the pie. It is a centuries-old way, and it admired by culinary palates. Proof of this is that ,more than 800 years ago, the famous Archbishop Gelmírez ordered that the Lamprey pie be sculpted in the dining brackets of the Royal Palace, this is a powerful medieval prelate, in Santiago de Compostela. In the municipality, there are several catering establishments that successfully prepare this tasty fish that, since ancestral times,continue to be in the the waters of the Ulla.