Monday 15 April 2024

Discovering the chanfaina: the countrymen food that became a delicatessen in Ferrolterra

Its unique recipe has successfully withstood the passing of the centuries and the evolution of the gastronomic tastes of society


The region of Ferrolterra, in A Coruña, is knowed by its coastal landscapes and other natural sites. This variety of landscapes offers a diverse gastronomy whith singular products as the barnacles from Cedeira, the bread from Neda, the octopus from Mugardos, the crusted from Pontedeume, the turnip greens from Monfero or the chanfaina from San Sadurniño. Chanfaina is a sausage with a particular history: in the past it was made and eaten by countrymen, but today it is a local delicacy.


One of the best ways to capture the essence of a territory is through its gastronomybecause the ingredients of each dish, its preparation and forms of presentation tell us about the landscape and history of the places and its inhabitants. On a tour of Ferrolterra, going to San Sadurniño and trying its traditional chanfaina is an essential stop on our journey.

The origin of this sausage comes from the times of the lordships, when the farmers were forced to reserve the best parts of their pigs for their lord, so that they only could eat the entrails. Thus, taking advantage of parts of the animal such as the kidneys, the tongue, the heart or the liver, and adding other ingredients such as corn flour, spices and aromatic herbs, people made this sausage for their daily consumption.

Traditionally, chanfaina was made after the pig was slaughtered. The main ingredients are corn flour, pig’s blood and the different viscera

This peculiar recipe has successfully resisted the passing of the time and the evolution of the gastronomic tastes of society. Thus, starting from a humble origin, nowadays chanfaina has become a whole local delicatessen that is not only prepared in the kitchens of villages like San Sadurniño or Cerdido: it can also be tasted in some restaurants and in popular parties.

The chanfaina of San Sadurniño

The parishes of Igrexafeita and Bardaos, in San Sadurniño, are the places where chanfaina has the greatest fame within this municipality of A Coruña. According to the website “Fálame de San Sadurniño-a municipal project that collects testimonies about the past and present of this municipality- the name of the inhabitants of Igrexafeita is “foleiros” or “folechos”, a word that cames from fol (stomach in Galician language) that is used in the popular preparation.

Traditionally, chanfaina was made after the pig was slaughtered and consists of putting, inside the animal’s stomach, different ingredients: corn flour, pig’s blood and the different well-cut viscera. This mixture is marinated with garlic, oregano, hot pepper and salt and, once cooked, it is ready to eat. The possibility of eat it hot or cold will depend on the tastes of each person.

Nowadays, few people know how to cook this singular product

The Mesón Os Cazadores is one of the restaurants in San Sadurniño where you can taste the traditional dish, making a previous order. Its preparation requires a lot of time: the meat must be cut “very small and by hand,” says the owner of the meson, María José García.

Chanfaina is a dish still very unknown in many places but that, once it is tasted, its particular taste does not leave anyone indifferent: “Who likes it, likes it a lot”, she assures. Among the lovers of this dish, “there are those who prefer to eat it hot and accompanied with some cooked potatoes, but there are also the ones who like to eat cold chanfaina”, she adds.

Although the recipe has survived the passing of the centuries, María José García points out that “there are fewer and fewer” people who know how to make this product, a tradition that “we must take care”.

“Cooked cinema” in San Sadurniño

The deep relation between San Sadurniño and its chanfaina, that tasty scramble of different parts of the pig, has inspired other initiatives in the cultural field. Taking the same idea of combination and mixture, in 2014 born the Chanfaina´Lab project, an anual meeting of audiovisual creators that, since its first edition, works enhance this rural land.

In each edition, Chanfaina’Lab provides a different way of getting to know San Sadurniño, its heritage and its people: the social aspects, the transformations of the landscape, the history of places and the people are some of the contents of the short films made within this project. As happens with the traditional sausage, this audiovisual works collect the essence of San Sadurniño.


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