At El Geco Verde our food provides a counterpoint to the Spanish cuisine available locally.
Being Italian, Ilaria often prepares classic Italian dishes such as pizza, lasagne (with fresh pasta) and panna cotta. She also incorporates moroccan and middle eastern influences into many dishes; spicy chickpeas and yoghurt sauces, for example. Here and there we do find a place for our Spanish favourites such as tortilla and gazpacho of course!
Desserts are always eagerly awaited; our most popular puddings include chocolate mousse and crostata, a kind of jam tart which originally hails from Austria, the birthplace of Ilaria´s grandmother. Our free-range chickens weigh in with nine or ten eggs a day, so we also have plenty of ammunition for baking delicacies such as banana cake.
We have an organic kitchen garden and our homegrown organic parsnips (a vegetable almost unknown here in Spain) make great side dishes and soups. Lettuce, tomato and peppers cut just minutes before dinner from the allotment make for really crisp salads.
Kitchen herbs taken from our herb garden or growing wild nearby provide a range of fresh flavourings; especially important in Italian dishes such as bruschetta or focaccia.
We harvest almonds and olives every year; the former is very useful in a range of dishes or delicious toasted and served as “tapas” with cold beer. In return for our olives the local co-operative gives us oil for our kitchen, including the organic extra virgin variety.
Spain can be tricky for vegetarians. For this reason we will always provide a vegetarian alternative for our diners; we just require advance notice for this or for any other special dietary requirements you may have.
Our breakfast is simple and continental in style. We offer a range of cereals, juice, toast, butter, jam, and local honey (the house used to belong to the local beekeeper; it was full of beehives and straw bales when we first saw it). You might also like to try “tostadas con tomate” a firm favourite with our Spanish clients; grated, salted tomatoes on toast with lashings of olive oil drizzled over it. And we must not forget the ultra-important cup of coffee or tea (Being English, Des ensures the tea is up to standard for our British clients!) Please note we don´t serve meat, cheese or eggs for breakfast unless asked in advance. We are more than happy to prepare them for you in the style of your choice but we do make a small charge for these items.
We don´t tend to offer lunch, except by advance notice in certain circumstances (when guests arrive at lunchtime after a long journey, for example). We can however provide packed lunches if prior notice is given; sandwiches or “bocadillos” as they are called here are always popular, as is the classic pasta or potatoe salad. Our packed lunches vary in price from €8 to €12pp, depending on the ingredients. One notable exception to the “no lunches” rule is our cookery workshops. These sessions are only available in the mornings by prior arrangement; in this case participants generally prepare three courses which they can then eat for their lunch!
Every morning we decide on a three-course menu for our evening meal, depending on the availability of fresh ingredients. At breakfast we ask any guests who are not already signed up for half board to let us know if they would like to dine with us in the evening and at what time. This is a very efficient system which enables us to virtually eliminate waste and keep prices low. Talking of which, a three course meal here at El Geco Verde costs €16,50 a head (€11 for kids of 10 or younger). For a sampler of our many menu items click here (sample menus)
Spain is a wine lover´s paradise. Of course, everybody knows about the fantastic reds of the Rioja region, but Spain also produces some splendid white wines; the grassy, fruity Verdejo variety, for example, or a crisp clean Albariño from Galicia, the perfect accompaniment to any fish dish. We also offer reds from some of Spain´s other excellent wine growing regions such as the Ribera del Duero, Valdepeñas or La Mancha.
Last but definately not least we have some wonderful local wines, including some prize-winning and organic varieties. The village of Galera has a wine festival every summer; ask us for the dates if you´d like to go!
Though we are a very small hotel, we like to offer a reasonable range of wines, at least three red and three white, plus several varieties of Cava, the Spanish champagne, of course! Our wines range in price between €7 and €25 a bottle.
There are some wonderful little restaurants a short drive from the hotel, and we actively encourage our clients to try them. If Spanish/Andalucian cuisine is what interests you most there is no shortage of great places to dine. Many have charming or scenic locations and offer traditional dishes of the region, such as the local delicacy Cordero Segureño (mountain-reared lamb) or Potaje de La Semana Santa (an easter feast of fish dumplings in a flavoursome soup). We can make recommendations for you and we´ll even phone ahead to make reservations if necessary. Please note we do not receive any kind of commision or “kick backs” from bar and restaurant owners; we simply recommend places we think you will like!
Don´t forget that almost all bars offer that great hallmark of Andalucian hospitality “tapas” (free appetiser with any alcoholic drink) so it is always worth ordering a beer or a sherry etc. as soon as you sit down! The idea behind tapas is for the bar owner to tempt you into ordering a proper meal with a tasty little titbit, hence tapas is usually only offered in the hours prior to lunch and dinner. It is always at the bar owner´s discretion, so it´s considered a bit rude to ask for one! Every fresh drink should be accompanied by a different tapa. And remember, if you are really impressed by the tapas, order a meal!
The Spanish absolutely love pork. The age-old tradition of the annual matanza or pig-killing is still honoured in this as in many other rural regions. Every part of the pig is used, nothing goes to waste. Here we are blessed with dry, crisp mountain air and, as a result, the air-cured meat products of the region are highly prized. Embutidos are a speciality; the pig´s intestines are thoroughly cleaned out and stuffed with pork, oninons, peppers, chilli and a wide variety of secret ingredients. The result is a fantastic array of air-cured sausages; from the internationally famous chorizo to the less well known relleno, salchichon, butifarra or the exquisite morcilla (Spanish black pudding). Hams are also air-cured after being rubbed with salt and other magic ingredients to make Jamon Serrano, sliced from the bone as needed and seemingly a fixture behind every bar in the land. Our local butcher offers a great range of artesanal meat products and will even vacuum pack your selections to take home with you!
Rich salad (ham, cheese, lettuce, blue cheese, nuts)
Moorish fingers (puff pastry filled with chicken, sprinkled with sugar)
Dish of local cold meats and cheeses
Carrot and ginger soup
Spicy carrots and organic red split lentils soup
Spicy parsnip soup
Caprese (tomatoes, mozzarella and basil)
Hummus and raw vegetable dippers (carrot, cucumber, celery)
Gazpacho (cold tomato and cucumber soup)
Traditional chunky lentil and chorizo soup
Ham and Melon
Suppli (Italian riceballs filled with mozzarella)
Russian salad (potatoes, carrots, peas and mayonnaise)
Spinach and pumpking pie
Grilled aubergines with spicy chickpeas and Yoghurt sauce
Vegetable pasta bake
Aubergine lasagne (home made)
Beef lasagne (home made)
Ham and cheese crepes
Pasta with fresh tomatoes
Cous cous with pisto (spanish version of a ratatouille) and chicken
Home made burgers (beef and apple)
Curry chicken and apple soup
Egg tagliatelle with creamy prawn sauce or sundried tomatoes sauce
Hake with fresh tomatoes and capers
Hake baked in milk on a med of potatoes and tomatoes
Natilla (cream custard)
Arroz con leche (cold cinnamon milk and rice pudding)
Peaches in wine