Ciudad Real boasts excellent country food known for it’s delicious simplicity. In fact the founder of the city, King Alfonso the Tenth, “The Wise One,” is credited with inventing one of Ciudad Real’s most coveted creations: the tapa.
Ciudad Real’s most well-known emmisary was the writer and adventurer Miguel de Cervantes, author of the epic masterpiece Don Quijote de La Mancha: Don Quijote is rife with references to “Manchega” cuisine and wine. On innumerable occasions he introduces and indeed explains the most well-known dishes of the region: partridge with beans, “grief and sorrow” – a mix of bacon, chorizo sausage, black pudding and eggs, “migas” – a traditional plate with bread crumbs, garlic, sausage, bacon and ham, “gachas” – a simple dish of grass pea flour, “galianos” – a traditional shepherd’s pie, and so on. A hunter’s paradise, Ciudad Real is an ideal home to diverse fauna from which to create delicious stews: partridge, woodpigeons, quail, turtledoves, rabbits, hares, deer and wild boar.
Ciudad Real has eight Designations of Origen and five Protected Geographical Sites covering a wide range of products including olive oil, saffron, manchego cheese, melon, eggplant, hot crossed buns, manchego lamb, and of course its excellent wine. But its pressed manchego sheep’s cheese is perhaps the region’s most famous product.
Events like the Festival of Cocina Alfonsi, Encuentro de Pasiones,with dishes and tapas de Vigilia, Dulces Santos, Delibo Vinum Wine-Tasting, The National Wine Fair (Fenavín) or the National Fair of Designations of Origen and other quality agricultural and farm products (España Original) are all excellent excuses to visit Ciudad Real and enjoy its food. Over the course of a week in October there’s a fair called “Tapearte Ciudad Real” that gets city bars to compete for the most original and elaborate tapas. Visitors to the city get to vote for the winner.