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The Botillo: a typical product from the Northwest of Spain
04 August 2016 @ 12:39

       Talking about León again, I should like to recommend you to ask for Botillo –a very typical product, made in León, Galicia and Asturias--.

      The Botillo is a meat product, made with chopped pieces, obtained from cutting pork, seasoned and stuffed into the blind (Ciego) pig, which is then smoked and semi-cured.

The Blind (Ciego), almost to the right side and below

The Botillo

       The word “Botillo” comes from the Latin Botellus  --diminutive of "botulus", which means "Cold meat" --.

      This is a very old product, because in certain Roman culinary treaties they talk about it --although, of course, without adding paprika, since it was first discovered, in America, after adding pepper and being grown in the Bierzo--.

      The oldest medieval written references, that remain (in original documents) date from the XI-XII century, in which we talk about the obligation was to deliver a certain amount of "botellus", to the Monastery of San Pedro de Montes, by that they lived in its domains.—

      The only name, that is under the protected geographical indication and which is marketed as El Bierzo, is "botillo", but it is also popularly known, in some places, along with the name of "Pastor" --in certain areas of the Bierzo, La Cabrera and Valdeorras /Zamora), it is told the story about a well-known character (the Losada watchmaker), who was a shepherd, at La Cabrera, and one day, in his youth, after returning with sheeps, at bedtime, he heard how his masters said that, the next day, they were going to eat the shepherd and, believing that they referred to him, instead of to botillo  --since he did not know the name of "Pastor"--, then he escaped, what led him to cross multiple countries, where he subsequently made a fortune.

      The Botillo of El Bierzo is a meat product made from different pieces, obtained from cutting pork (rib, tail and little fleshless bones), chopped, seasoned with salt, paprika and garlic and other natural spices, stuffed into the blind of pig, smoked and halfcured. We can also add language palette, cheek and spine, whenever not exceed 20% . It is usually consumed cooked, wrapped in a cloth mesh or with nothing, but carefully avoiding breakage and getting water. It has a denomination of own origin.

      Seasoned with chorizo, ear and nose of pork, with a very tender cabbage, it results in a tasty and wholesome stew.

An stew with Botillo, chorizo and berza

      Also, sometimes, it being less common, they are added chickpeas as garnish.

      Botillo of El Bierzo has an organism, that regulates its quality and authenticates its origin, called Regulatory Council of the Protected Geographical Indication Botillo of the Bierzo. The  Androlla or androya is also typical of the Bierzo.


      In the municipality of Bembibre (in the Bierzo), since 1972, it is celebrated the National Festival of Exaltation of Botillo, during the month of February. It is a great meal, where more than 1,000 botillos, among the more than 1,200 attendees diners, are consumed. A flock of celebrities of arts, letters and politics go there, from all Spain. The Fiesta, which is declared of Regional Tourist Interest and interest in Castilla y Leon, becomes magnet for people, both inside and outside the province.

The famous spanish singer, Shaila Durcal, eating on the top of this table, in Bembibre.

      There are other festivals, celebrations and awards of the botillo, in which the Botillo is the protagonist, in several villages of El Bierzo, between which are the “Festival of the botillo” in Fabero, in Folgoso de Ribera, in Torre del Bierzo, in Boeza and the tastings organised by the Gastronomic Brotherhood Real Botillo del Bierzo, even outside of Spain.


      The last February, it was celebrated the 19th Festival del botillo, in Fabero.


       Well, I hope that you have liked to know about “the Botillo” and hope that you can go to El Bierzo, the next year or as soon as possible.

      Until my next post, kind regards,


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