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Exploring Castilla y Leon Through Wine and Food #worldwinetravel

Castilla y Leon is a huge area in Spain and is the largest region of Spain. Our #WorldWineTravel group continues to explore Spain's wine offerings with a detailed look at this area. Some call it "Old Castile" in reference to the two kingdoms of Castilla and Leon, which were united in the year 1230. Castilla y Leon touches Portugal on the west, Madrid on the south, and La Rioja to the east. Due north is the Basque Country.  

We are exploring Spain all year, so here are the posts you may have missed:

January:  Our First Rioja
February: Chicken Empanadas and Azimut Cava

Learning about the food culture here was very interesting. In the past, soups and stews were the primary food focus, with a heavy emphasis on the garbanzo bean.  Bread baking was a communal affair, and some of the first beer breads were made here. Roasted meats such as suckling pig and suckling lamb are a primary dish.  These heavier meals are perfect for the colder climate in this area.  Beans are another popular food, particularly lentils and the garbanzo beans mentioned earlier.  Even though Castilla y Leon is not located near the sea, fish is popular, too.  Crayfish even have their own special festival! River fish such as trout are the most popular.

Ah, but the wines!  The wines from Castilla y Leon are delicious.  The DOs here are Caigales where the rose wine shines, Bierzo and Ribera (del Duero) are known for their hearty reds, Rueda's young white wines are lemony and crisp, and Toro, known for its fruit-forward wines.

For this exploration of food and wine in Castilla y Leon, I wanted to work with a white wine from Rueda and seafood, particularly crab cakes.  I used a tried and true crab cake recipe but created a Spanish-inspired sauce reminiscent of a romesco sauce.  Fishermen in Spain created this sauce to liven up the daily fish catch using the ingredients on hand. I did the same, even though my flavors are a bit different than the traditional romesco sauce.

The wine I chose for my crab cakes and romesco was the 2019 Marques de Caceres Verdejo.  The majority of the vineyards in Serrada are dedicated to the verdejo grape. The soil is gravelly, with sandy areas, and very typical of the region.  The grapes are harvested at night in cool temps in order to preserve the most flavor.  The wine is very elegant, with white fruits and citrus notes. It is intense at first, then crisp and lemony on the finish. It paired well with the spicy romesco sauce, cutting the heat with the cool wine and citrus.  

The #WorldWineTravel group is continuing its virtual exploration of Spain. This month the focus is on Castilla y León including Ribera del Duero, Rueda, and Toro. AdVINEtures is co-hosting this month’s conversation with Lynn from Savor the Harvest on Twitter this Saturday, March 27th. We’d love to have you join the conversation; the invitation with all the details can be found here.

Yield: 6 4" crab cakes
Author: Terri Steffes
Crab Cakes and Romesco-style Sauce

Crab Cakes and Romesco-style Sauce

Invoking a Spanish theme, these delicious, meaty crab cakes are a perfect pairing with the spicy romesco-style sauce.
Prep time: 20 MinCook time: 15 Mininactive time: 30 MinTotal time: 1 H & 4 M


Crab Cakes
  • 1 large egg
  • .25 c mayo
  • 2 t dijon mustard
  • 2 t Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 t Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 t fresh lemon juice
  •  pinch of salt
  • 1 lb lump crab meat
  • 2/3 c saltine cracker crumbs
  • 2 T melted butter
Romesco-style sauce
  • .75 c mayo
  • 2 T horseradish sauce
  • 1 jar roasted red peppers, drained
  • 1 clove peeled garlic
  • 1 T Old Bay seasoning
  • juice of 1/2 lemon


  1. Whisk together egg, mayo, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, Old Bay, lemon juice, and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Add crab meat, and then saltine crumbs.
  3. Fold gently as to not break up the crab meat.
  4. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.  
  5. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with silicone or grease it with butter.
  6. Using 1/2 c scoop, scoop the crab cake mixture onto the baking sheet.  Don't flatten, but use your hands to create a mound.  Brush each mound with melted butter.
  7. Bake for 14 minutes or until lightly browned on top.  Drizzle with fresh lemon juice
Romesco-style sauce
  1. Place all ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth.


Use the good refrigerated lump crab meat.

Baking these keeps the plump size of the crab cake.

We prefer saltine cracker crumbs, but the Keebler butter crackers are a good substitute.



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Here are some more posts about Castilla y Leon food and wine pairings.  Be sure to check them all out!
  • Co-host Lynn of Savor the Harvest introduces us to Unconventional in Castilla y Leon – Ismael Gozalo and MicroBio Wines.
  • Camilla of CulinaryAdventures with Camilla pairs Patatas a lo Pobre + Losada Bierzo 2017.
  • Steve of Children of the Grape explores Hemingway and the Plains of Spain.
  • Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm is explaining why Abadia Retuerta Seleccion Especial is indeed a Special Selection.
  • Terri at Our Good Life will be Exploring Castilla y Leon Through Wine and Food.
  • David at Cooking Chat is tempting us with his Steak Picado Recipe with Ribera del Duero Wine.
  • Jeff of Food Wine Click! reveals A Different Take on Castilla y Leon.
  • Martin of EnofylzWine Blog discusses Mesmerizing Mencia – The Star Grape of Bierzo; 2018 Raúl Pérez Ultreia St-Jacques.
  • Lisa The Wine Chef reveals Castilla y Leon, Home of Spain’s Best Kept Secret: Wine, Dine and Stay in an Luxe 12th Century Abbey Overlooking World-Class Vineyards.
  • Robin at Crushed Grape Chronicles shares Rueda and Verdejo just keep rolling with the #1 white wine in Spain!
  • Nicole at Somm's Table tells us about A Phenomenal Feat at Emilio Moro.
  • Linda at My Full Wine Glass discusses Rueda Verdejo – A crisp white alternative to Sauvignon Blanc.
  • Susannah at Avvinare is Exploring Rueda’s Signature Grape, Verdejo.
  • Lauren at The Swirling Dervish shares Dominio del Pidio Albillo: Tasting an Unusual Spanish White Wine in Miami.
  • Gwendolyn at Wine Predator posts Cristina Forner Leads Marques de Cacerés: Her Verdejo from Rueda with Barbacoa Tacos.
Be sure to join us next month when we share our findings on Rias Baixas hosted by Linda from My Full Wine Glass.  It's a virtual tour and it's gonna be so much fun!

Would you like to comment?

  1. It's a completely new to me wine region, so I'm learning a lot from everyone's post. And your crab cakes look amazing!

  2. When we first visited this region a few years ago, we went for the reds but Rueda's whites were such a wonderful discovery!

  3. What a great piece. I love all the history of the food of the region! Your photos are beautiful. I had a Rueda also and I can picture it going beautifully with your crab cakes and romantic sauce!

  4. Your dish and wine pairing remind me spring is on the way. Beans, beans and more beans are tasty, but sometimes you just have to lighten things up and go with inspiration!

  5. Delicious pairing! I don't eat crab but I would definitely make this recipe. substituting shrimp or a meaty fish instead. Would be so tasty with the Rueda wine.

  6. I loved reading about your food discoveries. Garbanzo beans, who knew?

  7. Crab cakes are one of my favorite foods. I bet a crisp, cool Verdejo would go perfectly with yours. Got to try this sauce next time!

  8. I loved your photos and your dish. I tried to get that wine but they had run out and I ended up with a different Verdejo. I am going to make that dish. Cheers to you!

  9. The crab cakes sound delicious and like a perfect match for the wine!

  10. I'm loving your dish and the pairing Terri! Cheers!


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