- Traditional Cuisine
gastronomy of Barcelona is a window for Catalan cuisine which is
substantial and nourishing and is mainly based on a variety of fresh,
high-quality seafood, meat, poultry, game, fruit and vegetables.
All of this products adapt to the different seasons and the region's
cultural and religious traditions, and can come in unusual and delicious
combinations: meat and seafood (a genre known as "mar i muntanya"),
poultry and fruit, fish and nuts.
Olive oil, aromatic
herbs, dried fruit, wild mushrooms and game from the Pyrenees, the
trinity of olives, grapes and wheat from the hilly heartland, all
manner of fruits, vegetables, and nuts from the irrigated lowlands,
rice and eels from the river deltas, and a great variety of fish
and shellfish are the basis of a cuisine which is one of the happiest
expressions of the Mediterranean diet.
One of the simplest
and yet most delicious dishes (the one that Catalans particularly
yearn for when are abroad) is "pa amb tomaquet": a large
slice of fresh country bread (toasted or not) rubbed with tomato
and drizzled with virgin olive oil. It may be topped with Iberian
ham, cheese and anchovies or served along with meat, chicken or
fish "a la brasa" (cooked over a charcoal fire).
We should also
give a special mention to tapas: small portions which allow you
to combine fish, meat and vegetable dishes. In recent years, tapas
have established themselves as a different way of eating a varied
light lunch or supper.
of Catalan food lies in its sauces for meat and fish. There are
five main types: "sofregit"
(fried onion, tomato and garlic), "samfaina
or chanfaina" (sofregit plus red pepper and aubergine or
courgette), "picada" (based
on ground almonds, usually with garlic, parsley, pine or hazel nuts,
and sometimes breadcrumbs), "allioli"
(pounded garlic with olive oil, often with egg yolk added to make
more of a mayonnaise) and "romesco"
(an almond, tomato, olive oil, garlic and vinegar sauce, also used
as a salad dressing).
specialties include "esqueixada"
(a salad of raw salt cod with onions and peppers), "butifarra
amb mongetes" (a stew of beans with 'butifarra' sausage),
"escudella i carn d'olla"
(special Catalonian stew), "espinacs
a la catalana" (spinach sauteed with raisins and pine nuts)
and "bacalla a la llauna"
(salt cod with tomato, garlic and parsley). Least, but not last,
try the "zarzuela", the
local fish stew or the "paella"
- the classic rice dish with meat or fish. Then, if you have a sweet
tooth, "crema catalana"
(a cinnamon and lemon flavored custard) is a must for dessert.
should be accompanied by one of the provinces three Denominations
of Origin of wine: Alella, Pla de Bages and Penedès. "Cava",
the typical spar wine from the Penedès region, is Catalonia's
most international wine.
The menu (la
carta) begins with starters such as "amanides/ensaladas"
(salads), "sopes/sopas" (soups) and "entremesos/entremeses"
(hors d'oeuvres). The latter can range from a mound of potato salad
with olives, asparagus, anchovies and a selection of cold meats
- almost a meal in itself - to simpler cold meats, slices of cheese
The hungry Catalan,
after a starter, will order a first then second course. The latter
may come under headings such as: "pollastre/pollo" (chicken),
"carn/carne" (meat), "mariscos" (seafood), "peix/pescado"
(fish), "arros/arroz" (rice), "ous/huevos" (eggs)
and "verdures/verduras" (vegetables). Red meat may be
subdivided into "porc/cerdo" (pork), "vedella/ternera"
(beef) and "anyell/cordero" (lamb). "Postres"
(desserts) have a lower profile, "gelats/helados" (ice
cream), fruit and flans are often the only choices in cheaper places.
Be aware that
second courses frequently do not come with vegetables. Often the
first course is designed to take care of this side of your diet,
world of Spanish Tapas - Recipes, History, Tapas Board and other