The Original Cochinillo restaurants, Yes it’s where we got the plates technique, too
By: Katrina Cuaresma / Photos by: Maribel Avelis
Lechon, or roasted pig, has been a staple of any Filipino celebration for decades now. However, as the pandemic scaled-down everything-including gatherings-the demand for Lechon declined.
That is where the Cochinillo (roasted suckling pig) started to be a hit in the country. In December 2021, social media sellers flooded the internet with a variety of Cochinillo fit for smaller and more intimate gatherings for the holiday season. The claim to fame of Cochinillos is that they are so tender, that they can be cut with the edge of a plate.
But did you know that this now very popular dish in the country is one of the many influences of Spain on Filipino cuisine?
MESÓN DE CÁNDIDO
Just in front of the famous Aque- duct of Segovia, Spain is a his- torical restaurant called Mesón de Cándido or Candido’s Inn. Built in the 18th century to service merchants and travelers going through Segovia, the inn survived centuries of the city’s transformation. In 1931, Candido Lopez—whose life was devoted to catering particularly for celebrations and family festivities—took over the inn that popularized the tender and juicy roasted suckling pig, cochinillo
As part of his “chivalrous” hospitality, Candido started presenting the piglets he had cooked to his guests and proceeded to carve them with the edge of a plate. This ritual which is now well-known around the world served to promote the inn and made it famous worldwide.
The Candido family continues to run the inn, with the son still performing the tradition of roasted suckling pigs presenting Cochinillo to guests, carving it with the edge of the plate, and breaking the plate on the floor after it is fully carved.
Complementing Cochinillo, the main event of the dining experience is refreshing appetizers like a platter of Iberian cured ham, a warm salad of green asparagus, and the Segovian staple: la Granja beans with pork ear. As with most Spanish meals, the meat is best served with vino tinto, or red wine. Finishing off the Meson de Candido culinary experience was the light and tart Segovian Ponche cake the perfect cap after a flavorful Ccochinillo ride
During its visit to Spain, COOK Magazine met and shared a light chat with the Candido family who was delighted to learn about the Philippines’ affinity to the roasted suckling pig dish. In turn, the family gave a booklet signed by the older Candido himself and the recipe for their world-famous Cochinillo.
Want to recreate the original roasted suckling pig? This is the recipe, straight from Segovia, Spain.
INGREDIENTS AND QUANTITIES FOR ABOUT SIX QUESTS:
One piglet weighing about three or four kilograms, 100 grams of fresh lard, Four garlic cloves, and Laurel Twigs.
PREPARATION AND COOKING INSTRUCTIONS:
Cut the piglet open along the backbone, from the head to the tail, Season the piglet accordingly, Place the piglet in a clay pan, Add about 250 ml of water in the an, Put Laurel twigs in the toast of the oven and not touching the pan, Plae the pan in the preheated oven and cook at about 180C. The piglet must be placed inside the oven with its insides facing upwards, Bake for one hour, After an hour, take the pan out of the oven and turn the piglet upside down, with the skin facing upwards this time, Poke some holes on the piglet’s skin, then spread the lard over the skin with a baking brush, Add crushed garlic cloves.