Entradas populares

Wednesday, April 6, 2016


Los Maragatos de gala en Astorga (León)
(Margatos in full uniform in Astorga (Leon)
Photo from: 11299883
natives of the Maragateria. The origin of the maragatos has been an issue of debate over the centuries. There seems to be a theory for all tastes. Fray Martín Sarmiento (18th C), in his manuscript "Astorga: descripción de la Maragatería", stated that the term is derived from Mauritanians who immigrated to Spain at the time of the Carthaginians, prior to Roman conquests. They intermarried with the Goths and their children became Mauro Goths or maragatos.

Cocido Maragato
(Maragato Stew [They are famed for their cooking])

Photo from: Joan Grífols
George Borrow states it is possible they were “Moorish Goths” and relates that when the Moors invaded Spain, the Maragatos sided with them and adopted their dress, customs and religion.

Reinhart Dozy’s theory is that during the times of Alfonso I, a Berber branch stayed in the area of Astorga in 753 while the rest fled to Africa. They accepted the Roman Catholic religion but remained isolated from the Leonese.

In 1974 Jaime Oliver maintained that there were of Berber origin coming from the 8th C. Barag Wata Tribe and they immigrated from North Africa becoming established in the area west of Astorga.
Pedro de Alba states that Mauriscos, has nothing do with the Moors, but means “valiant warrior.”

Others believe they have traced the origins to Celtic roots as Marc-Hekatt or Mar-katt mean “to ride,” which has its connection as the maragatos were muleteers. Many think this is stretching it.

Jóvenes Maragatos bis
(bis Young Maragatos)
Photo from disderi1
Alberto Ciria, among others, points out that the L. mauricatos, “having sleeves,” can be applied to their original clothing. Further, Ciria believes that he traced them back to the marabots, a priestly order or race in North Africa around Morocco and part of Spain in the 10th and 11th C.

Matías Rodríguez found a province in the Nile region of Sicut called Maragat.  Recent opinion is that the word maragato, does not appear until the 14th C. The majority of the names of the towns mean sub-mountain or at the foot of the mountain such as La Somoza.

Borrow describes these people as a “singular cast.” They followed their own customs. They never intermarried but remained apart in the barren area between Astorga and Telleno Mountain Chain. As a result, the men became “the most trustworthy muleteers” in Spain leaving the women to till the fields and produce excellent meals, as famous as those of the Basques, the Rioja and all the other numerous regions in Spain, while they became. Maragato cuisine is noted for being strong and abundant.
[Borrow. 1961:210-212; Dozy. 2001:I:186-187; and ES: País maragato. Oct 4, 02]

The dough half fills a bread tin
measuring 11” x 3 ½ " x 2 ¾"
Photo by: Lord-Williams


lard or butter for greasing and flour sprinkling a mold
8 eggs
½ c anise
1 c sugar
1 ⅓ flour
Maragato Sponge Cake
The problem is how to stop eating
this delicacy!
Photo by: Lord-Williams

½ c powdered sugar


Grease a bread tin with lard, sprinkle with flour and set aside.

Beat eggs and anise. Add sugar little by little until white and thick. Add flour little by little. Let sit 10 minutes.

Put the mixture in the mold and bake on high 10 minutes. Then reduce heat to the minimum until baked without burning.

Turn the sponge cake out on a plate. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve warm or at room temperature.

For more Maragato recipes see blogs: botillo published April 17, 2012 chanfaina published December 10, 2012, cocido maragato published March 25, 2013. For blogs discussing Maragato customs see: almuerzo published August 31, 2011, añejo published October 20, 2011, arrieros pubished November 16, 2011 and huevos fritos published May 8, 2015.

No comments:

Post a Comment