Tudela, the city of three cultures, birthplace of many illustrious individuals and famous for its excellent vegetables, has a lot to offer the tourist and gourmet.
Its location has made it a crossroads where Romans. Jews and Arabs have left their mark on the architecture, culture and cuisine, and its unique climate combined with the waters of the river Ebro that run by the islet of Mejana have favoured the development of a very special gastronomy in which excellent raw materials are an outstanding feature.
The quality of the vegetables of the Ribera de Navarra, and especially those of the huerta de Tudela is close to perfection, and both fresh and preserved produce have been much appreciated by markets (and by expert Spanish chefs) for many years. The richly deserved fame of the artichokes and lettuce hearts of Tudela, the asparagus of Navarre, all with their very own designation of origin, has extended to the “vegetables of Tudela” as a product in general.
The renown generated by the region’s vegetable produce has passed into the world of gastronomy, and has recently created a flow of tourists to the city of Tudela, attracted by an excellent cuisine based on local produce and traditional cooking methods using vegetables, making for an added attraction that complements the wide range of activities on offer for the tourist.
One result is that municipal bodies and local community associations have publicised and promoted the local products and culinary culture associated with Tudela and neighbouring villages with events related to particular products, the success of which can be seen in the steadily growing number of participants and visitors.
Besides being the birthplace of some of the best green produce in the world, Tudela also has a lot to offer a gastronomist in the wide range of dishes made from vegetables, such as delicious salads of chicory, red cardoon and endives. For a first course, we highly recommend a plate of menestra, or vegetable stew, made with artichokes, asparagus, beans and peas; or some delicious white beans with eels in the summer. Or why not try some delicious dishes made from the local meat of the region: lamb or veal, or snails in red pepper sauce. And for dessert, what better than a traditional mantecada (sponge cake) or almond blancmange.
Another aspect of this fine tradition in good food is the new cuisine of Navarre, the result of the hard work of a new generation of chefs that merges traditions with new techniques to create truly innovative dishes.