A Delicias Taste

“Asturias is known the world over for its mountains, for its coal mines, for its fabada and its cider." -- writer Mario Vargas Llosa

The latter two were on hand for Miamians to sample this past Wednesday at the great Spanish cafe/market/bakeryDelicias de la España (4016 S 57th. Ave., Miami; 305-669-4485). It was the launch party for “A Taste Of Asturias,” a week-long celebration of the culinary specialties of this region of northern Spain. Products were brought in by eight Asturian importers, and food was cooked up. Fabada, a stew of white faba beans, chorizo, morcilla, bacon and pork shoulder, is the Spanish answer to cassoulet. Very tasty stuff, as were fabes with clams. Asturias also produces the renowned Cabrales, a sharp, complex blue cheese made from cow, sheep, and goat milk. Gamoneu is a firmer, smokier tri-milk cheese likewise worth trying. I sampled various ciders -- sparkling, sparkling red, and the traditional, which is dry and to be poured from the highest reach of whoever is doing the pouring. I have noted, both here and when visiting the region, that during such pourings quite a bit of cider ends up on the floor. I have likewise noted, both here etc., that at a certain point this cider really kicks in.

The emphasis on these Asturian specialties will continue through Sunday, but Delicias de España always has fabada on its menu, and is a must-stop all year round for amazingly good Asturian/Spanish cuisine. Meander in for breakfast and try eggs with Serrano ham and sausage and a steamy espresso -- delicias! So is just about anything at lunch or dinner, including seafood flown in directly from Spain twice a week that gets griddled golden brown and served with sizzled garlic, a squeeze of lemon, and some roasted potatoes on the side. Visit Delicias between meal periods and enjoy a merienda (afternoon snack) of coffee and pastries, or the delectable “chocolate con churros”. Check out the market afterwards and go home with a whole Serrano ham under your arm.

Seriously:If you’ve never been to Delicias, shut this computer off and go now. --Lee Klein

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Frank Houston