HISTORY OF DRIED BEEF CECINA DE LEÓN
The first written references to the dried beef Cecina de León date back to the 4th century BC with instructions on its preparation process being much the same as nowadays. However, the Asturs, the first inhabitants of Northeast Spain prior to the arrival of the Roman Empire, were the first to cure the meat which came to be known as “Cecina de León.”
Dating to Roman times, Asturica Augusta (Astorga) was known as a communications hub as well as a passage for pilgrims; it was an important crossroads between Vía de la Plata (the Silver Route) and the pilgrimage of St. James’ Way.
Commerce, transportation at the time, and food traditions provided the perfect circumstances for this highly nutritious dried beef to become the perfect food for the local muleteers during their long journeys across the Iberian Peninsula.
This deeply-ingrained practice was based in the salting of a leg of beef, mainly at the homes of the “maragatos” or local residents, in order to provide sustenance for their families.
It has been passed down through generations, so that the “Cecina de vaca” or dried beef stands out as one of León’s most unique and authentic products.
That this local delicacy has its roots in the province of León, and is of premium quality are reasons enough for it to have been awarded the denomination PROTECTED GEOGRAPHICAL IDENTIFICATION “Cecina de León,” indicating that it can only be prepared in this region.