With coastline, mountains, and just a two-hour flight from London, you might call Asturias a triple threat. But it's not just the swoonsome Spanish landscapes that captivate visitors. Asturias’ true charm also lies in its gastronomy – an amalgamation of centuries-old culinary tradition and world-renowned produce, offering a food-focused getaway like no other.

Embraced by the Cantabrian Sea and punctuated by the lofty peaks of the Picos Europa, Asturias' cuisine is inextricably bound to its commanding, diverse landscapes. It’s one of the most successful regions in the world when it comes to protecting native cattle breeds and is abundant with Asturian Valley and Asturian Mountain cattle that graze in its lush meadows and fields. With wonderfully tender and succulent beef, these cows lend themselves to local dishes such as cachopo – an unctuous meat feast made from Cadera, Babilla, or Tapa veal filled that’s layered with serrano or Iberico ham, a few slices of Asturian cheese, coated in breadcrumbs and deep fried. It sticks to the ribs, some might say.

Local sea urchins from the Asturias coastline

Descending from the mountainous regions to the coast, you’ll find dozens of villages that still have strong fishing traditions. Depending on the time of the year, small and medium-sized boats head out from the shores, catching everything from sardines, hake, monkfish and sea bream to velvet swimming crab, lobster, urchins and barnacles. People wax lyrical about Asturias' oysters, and you’d be a fool to visit and not slurp on the infamous bivalves from the Eo estuary, which often feature on tasting menus in the area.

Travel to the east of Asturias, and you’ll find yourself in mountainous slopes that make for prime cheese-making territory. There are some 40 different cheeses in the region, including Asturias’ famous blue, Cabrales, aged in caves; Casín cheese, which is one of the oldest cheeses in Europe; Afuega'l Pitu, which can be found in red and white varieties; and Gamonéu, made from a combination of sheep's, cow’s and goat's milk with a smoky flavour.

One of the regions infamous caves, where cheese is aged

Aside from cheese making, Asturias is renowned for its long history of baking, which keeps the tradition of cooking in wood-fired ovens alive. Depending on where you are in the region, each town or village will have its own dessert made in local bakeries. Some highlights include frixuelos – a sweet crepe that’s traditionally sprinkled with sugar but now filled with hazelnut spread, jam or cream, casadielles – a fried dough filled with ground walnuts, star anise, sugar and rice pudding – found in every restaurant as the culmination of a good, hearty meal.

In terms of tipple, the arrival of spring marks the first pressing of cider in the region – a quintessentially Asturian drink served in sidrerías or cider bars. The best of these establishments hold the esteemed accolade of ‘Sidrerías de Asturias’ – meaning they serve cider with the protected designation of origin, staff are trained in pouring it, and their menus feature Asturian products first and foremost. Excitingly, Asturian cider is in its final stages of achieving Unesco status.

Asturias boasts many Michelin-starred restaurants, showcasing a commitment to sustainability

What truly sets Asturias apart is the authenticity of its culinary traditions, kept alive by its talented chefs, pastry chefs, hoteliers, and farmers. The region boasts many Michelin-starred restaurants, showcasing a commitment to sustainable, local, and seasonal menus. The region also cherishes its Guisanderas – protectors of traditional recipes. This diverse group of 40 women, from trained chefs to mother-daughter duos, keeps kitchen customs like pot-cooking and stew-making alive, adding a unique flavour to Asturias' culinary scene.

The Puerto de Vega harbour

Over 100 chefs, Guisanderas, and bakers are also Cocina de Paisaje (Culinary Landscape) ambassadors – figureheads of the region’s culinary culture and philosophy. Whether you’re a chef cooking in your Michelin-starred restaurant or a Guisandera helming your stove at home, each has dedicated many generations to the treasured cuisine of Asturias.

You can embark on a culinary adventure to Asturias from London, with nine flights running weekly. So why not hop on one of the planes with an empty stomach, ready to fill it with the bounty of Asturias’ Cocina de Paisaje?

For more information visit turismoasturias.es