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Diego López, winner of the Galician Chef of the Year award in 2014.

Diego López, winner of the Galician Chef of the Year award in 2014.

La Molinera 

We are in Lalín, Galicia, a town famous for its delicious dish called “cocido”.

It’s wonderful to find regular customers with their berets and their umbrellas, having a glass of wine and tapas. Two worlds, traditional and avant-garde, intersecting in the same space.

It’s wonderful to find regular customers with their berets and their umbrellas, having a glass of wine and tapas. Two worlds, traditional and avant-garde, intersecting in the same space.

Cacheira.

Cacheira.

Alfonso and Nila opened Molinera’s doors in 1985 and in a short time it became one of the essential restaurants for trying the Galician cocido galego, their main course, together with their excellent selection of fish and meat, another cardinal element of its gastronomic offer.

Top-quality products, dishes prepared with care, interesting winery, loyal clients, and family efforts have been the keys to the success of this traditional restaurant, which found its place on the Galician gastronomy map.

While the family business was growing, Diego, the founder’s son, discovered his vocation for cooking while studying at the Hotel Management School of Santiago de Compostela. Diego focused his career towards avant-garde cuisine by working in important restaurants such as Dos Cielos in Barcelona, ​​La Terraza del Casino in Madrid and Casa Solla in Poio, Pontevedra.

In 2010 Diego, being just 22 years old, joined the family business. There he found a clientele who remained faithful to the snack of the day and to the traditional menu offered by his parents. But he had trained in the avant-garde cuisine and he wanted to apply it. Was it necessary to choose between traditional cuisine and contemporary? For Diego, both were complementary and could coexist. So there were no radical changes in La Molinera - traditional cuisine and modern gastronomy live naturally.

“We have a pig farm that works exclusively for us, and we also buy pigs from private farms. That’s why we are unique”

The restaurant still keeps its usual menu, with cocido as the main dish of the season, and an accurate selection of fish and beef from the area, like their fabulous chuletón de vaca vella: beef that follows a controlled maturation process that can continue from thirty to sixty days, or even more. When it's hunting season, becadas (woodcock) can also be found on the menu. A gastronomic offer that reflects Diego's culinary personality.

The furniture and decoration of La Molinera have not changed that much since they opened, back in the 80s. The entrance, towards a large room, has several tables and a service bar. The dining room is a great space that summarizes the meaning of a classic traditional Galician restaurant: a charming and welcoming service, tables occupied by regular customers, business lunches and the occasional tourists tasting their famous stew.

La Molinera´s cocido is served in four passages: first the soup, followed by a pot with potatoes, chickpeas, turnip greens, onion, chorizo and pork meat. After that, the cacheira (salted pork head) is chopped in front of the guests and served together with another meat cut called “lacón”. Last but not least, the rest of the meat selection will arrive at the table, completing the whole pork: backbone, tail, bacon, snout, ear, tongue, feet, brisket and pancetta salted rib - and a bit of chicken.

It might sound like a very complete meal, but it would not be perfect without a proper closing: a dessert of Galician cheese with membrillo (quince paste), filloas with honey, iced rosquillas and cañitas de crema (pastries filled with cream).

Caldeirada (octopus stew with among others, citrus). “I came up with the idea of ​​making a contemporary Galician cuisine in which the traditional dishes of the house kept the protagonism”.

Caldeirada (octopus stew with among others, citrus). “I came up with the idea of ​​making a contemporary Galician cuisine in which the traditional dishes of the house kept the protagonism”.

Soup, the starter of cocido.

Soup, the starter of cocido.

Turnip greens.

Turnip greens.

“We have a pig farm extensively managed that works exclusively for us. We also buy pigs from private farms and that’s why we are unique”.

“We have a pig farm extensively managed that works exclusively for us. We also buy pigs from private farms and that’s why we are unique”.

Potatoes, chorizo and chickpeas.

Potatoes, chorizo and chickpeas.

Galician cheese with quince paste.

Galician cheese with quince paste.

The spectacular chuletón de vaca vella.

The spectacular chuletón de vaca vella.

Ana, Diego´s sister, also works in the family restaurant.

Ana, Diego´s sister, also works in the family restaurant.

Albacore tuna, piparras (chilli) and Herbón peppers. “My cooking style is a consequence of what I’ve learned during all these years”.

Albacore tuna, piparras (chilli) and Herbón peppers. “My cooking style is a consequence of what I’ve learned during all these years”.

Razor clams and beef tendons. Diego López leads vanguardist and traditional cuisine by combining his technical training with practice and innovation.

Razor clams and beef tendons. Diego López leads vanguardist and traditional cuisine by combining his technical training with practice and innovation.

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