Wine is a key part in Mediterranean diet and La Mancha. Wine consumption dates back from centuries in La Mancha. The influence of wine in La Mancha culture is so important that it has a privileged position in the most famous novel from Spain: Don Quixote.
Don Quixote, the book, is full of food references that get readers closer to the lifestyle at that time. It is one of the books that contains more references to food or dishes of the Renaissance.
The cuisine in La Mancha has had an evolution along the History, but many recipes and products are very similar to today´s specialties. It is a sober cuisine, simple but well- done. Pestinos, migas, marzipan, toast with olive oils are some examples of the local cuisine inherited from Romans and Arabs.
It is impossible to talk about Spanish cuisine without mentioning wine, the most important drink in Castilla- La Mancha, which is the largest vineyard in Europe with well- known appellations like La Mancha and Valdepenas.
In the book Don Quixote, wine is mentioned 43 times, in particular from a concrete origin: Ciudad Real province. Wine is mentioned in different uses: as a drink, as a pleasure, as a cure remedy….
Don Quixote and his loyal Sancho Panza are fans of wine, and they enjoy it during their trip through La Mancha. Wine is mentioned already in their first trip.
After a long horse- ride journey, dreaming of great adventures to be written in a book, Don Quixote and Sancho Panza arrive in a small house. In his mind, Don Quixote thinks of this house as a magnificent castle. The owner offers them a very poor dinner of some cod and wine. Don Quixote did not want to take off his helmet, so in order to drink the wine; he made a cane to suck the wine.
This is one of the first mentions to wine and one of the very few times that Don Quixote drinks wine, because as the knight´s code, knights could not drink wines so they did not “get into trouble”.