Lola: The essence of fishing is best experienced on the high seas
We invite you to come fishing. Something a bit special. Join us in Palamós, in the capable hands of Ciscu, whose lifetime of experience at sea will be invaluable as he takes you aboard his boat, ‘La Lola’, to go fishing for the prawns for which this town on the Costa Brava is famed. The seafaring experience will be authentic, weighing anchor as the sun breaks the horizon, you will have lunch on board and will help to bring aboard the nets filled with the day’s catch of prawns.
Palamós always starts to awake at its port. Small gangs of sailors here and there start embarking to set sail in search of the town’s gastronomic jewel: the prawn. At half past six in the morning, Ciscu, a craftsman of the sea, who’s been fishing for prawns for almost 30 years on board his boat ‘La Lola’, will be waiting for you there.
Casting the nets
Leave the dock behind and sail out to sea. You’ll head out towards a vague point on the horizon that Ciscu knows well. At a given time on the journey, the captain reduces speed for one of the key moments. It’s time for you to set to and help the fishermen lower the net. After this, there’ll be hours of waiting. Ciscu and the rest of the crew will tell anecdotes and reveal secrets of the prawn. ‘The best temperature for preserving them once caught is four degrees’, says Ciscu.
The reward for your efforts: a sailor’s lunch
And after the seafood meal shared with the crew, you’ll raise the nets with the day’s haul. The prawns jump onto the deck, now you’ll have to help the crew classify them. Today, prawn fishing is carried out better and more responsibly than ever. This work and the excellent raw materials help demonstrate the worth of the ‘Confraria de Pescadors de Palamós’ (Palamós Fishermen’s Fraternity), which covers a fleet of 39 vessels and is responsible for organising the daily auction and controlling the quality of the product. They do this in conjunction with the ‘Espai del Peix’ (the Fishing Area), which promotes discovery of the world of fishing and cooking with fresh fish, and Palamós Town Council.
The essence of this profession is best experienced on the high seas, fancy trying it out?
Things to do
Wine: the heart of L’Empordà
It is the Costa Brava’s most majestic monastery. Sant Pere de Rodes has stood defiant against the tramuntana winds atop the Verdera hills since the 10th century. Classified as a cultural asset of national interest, it is one of the finest examples of Romanesque architecture in the area, and will be the starting point for the trip that will lead you to discovering how wine lies at the heart of the L’Empordà region, over the course of a weekend. You’ll visit Wine Family Museum, the old Pau oil mill and the historic town of Castelló d’Empúries. Your base camp will be the Hotel Gastronòmic Empòrium, winner of a Michelin star.
Breakfast—and toasts!—at La Vinyeta
It’s important to take a break, relax, unwind and enjoy yourself. And there are few better ways of doing so than breakfasting amongst the vines of La Vinyeta. Josep and Marta, the creators behind this winery, will prepare a meal based around cold cuts, traditional pâtés and cheeses with quince jelly. Could there be any better prologue to a tour of the winery and finding out how they make their organic wines? I doubt it. Why don’t you find out for yourself?
Fideuada (noodle paella) with Palamós prawns
‘In a restaurant, what’s important is fish stock. Here, the secret’s in the prawns, which are what give the dish all its flavour’, notes Ciscu, emphatically. So, now you know the basis of this recipe! Here comes the rest.
In a paella or large frying pan, fry the Palamós prawns and langoustines in Empordà olive oil on a high heat. Stir and turn frequently to release their full flavour. Then, set aside. In the same oil, make a ‘sofrito’ by frying the onion, garlic and ‘tomata‘ (as they call tomatoes in L’Empordà), and add the paprika at the end. Then, add the cuttlefish, cut into squares, which will add a further fishy tang to the ‘fideuada’. When it begins to soften, add the water and wait until it boils, at which point add the noodles. Leave to cook on a low heat and, right at the end, arrange the langoustine and Palamós prawns on the top. It’s now ready to eat!
- 400 g ‘ Number 2’ ‘fideus’ (noodles)
- 1 chopped onion
- 2 chopped tomatoes
- 4 garlic cloves, finely sliced
- 4 Palamós prawns
- 4 langoustines
- 800 g cuttlefish
- 1 teaspoon of sweet paprika
- 80 water