Landscapes of Taste
When you taste a Catalan dish, each bite uncovers the chef’s inspiration, it reveals the aromas of the products used and brings you closer to the culture and landscapes of the region. Savouring the gastronomy of Catalonia means immersing yourself in the sea, discovering the villages and landscapes and interacting with nature. It is a region to be explored through its flavours.
The Farmer who Loves the Land
The vineyards of the Penedès, nestled between the warm climate of the coast and the Montserrat mountains, have given rise to a designation of origin which is recognised all over the world. Moreover, the olive trees, which extend mostly to the southern and westernmost parts of the region, produce some of the best extra virgin olive oils. The Arbequina variety, in the Siurana and Les Garrigues areas, is very well-known. The nuts of the Camp de Tarragona or the sweet fruits such as the pears, peaches and apples of Lleida are essential to fine dining, along with the oranges and clementines of the Terres de l’Ebre.
The Sea Air
Catalonia has almost 600 km of coastline, with fine sandy beaches as well as tiny coves with crystal clear water. In each port we can taste a magnificent range of meals based on recipes of local grilled fish dishes and stews that fishermen prepared in bygone years. In the counties of the Costa Brava, you’ll never be short of good white fish, which has been key to making tasty suquets (stews) since time immemorial. The prawns from Palamós and the oysters from the Ebro Delta are star products that the Catalan coast offers from north to south. They are often accompanied by seasonal vegetables, such as the highly esteemed peas from the Maresme area. At the southern end of Catalonia, in Terres de l’Ebre, fish broths are used in many rice dishes, which is the main crop in the area. Rossejat (a type of paella) or Arròs a banda (lit. rice on the side) are just two must-try dishes.Meats and Cheeses
In the mountains, Catalonia perfectly combines wild nature and pastoral landscapes in the Pyrenees with other inland mountain ranges such as Montseny or Ports de Beseit, in Terres de l’Ebre, all rich in vegetation, wild mushrooms and fauna. These are often isolated spots, where the people have learnt how to be self-sufficient and which are distinguished for their products.
Beef is one of the most delicious mountain products, which has resulted in tasty stews that vary in every county or region, as well as chicken, which today forms part of the Catalan recipe books found in every home. Pork, from pigs raised mainly in the northern counties of the areas of Lleida and Girona, and also in the Osona county with the famous longaniza from Vic, which is the raw material for making delicious cold meat products. Together with the cheeses, made all over the region, cold meats have become excellent products used as a main feature in breakfasts and snacks.
Due to their excellence and character, some of these products have received the official European seal of Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) or Protected Geographical Indication (PGI). Both of these seals are awarded to typical local products with deep roots in a region that gives them a specific character and an inimitable taste.