Cataluña is a region full of extremes: from sunny beaches to high peaks, wide lands full of orchards and olive-trees in the middle part to the big Ebro delta. The variety of foods produced in this region makes Catalonia’s culinary scene unique as well as quite diverse. Keep reading if you want to know more tips on how to eat like a local in Catalonia.
There is a bad side to having such a unique place, especially if we think about Barcelona, Costa Dorada or Costa Brava: the huge amount of tourists make it difficult to find decent restaurants offering you good quality at a reasonable price. As usual, we recommend that you walk a bit further away from the touristic spots or ask a local about good places to eat or drink.
Fish has a lot of importance in the Catalan cuisine. It’s sometimes served with vegetables, like the Atún (tuna) or Bacalao (cod) with samfaina (mixed vegetables), with rice (Arroz a banda, Arroz con Espardeñas, Rossejat d’arròs… ) or as a strew, like the famous Suquet de Peix, or the Zarzuela. You can also find fideuás, a dish that normally mixes a fideo (a short noodle) with fish or seafood. That would be the case for fideo negro or rossejat. Another interesting kind of dish is the one called mar i muntanya, that combines fish or seafood with meat, normally chicken or rabbit.
We also need to mention the importance of livestock in the local culinary scene. Some examples that remind us of this are butifarra, fuet or espetec, all of which are kinds of sausage made from pork. They are perfect as an appetizer, especially if you can have them together with a Pan Payés, a traditional bread. If you want to try some beef, our recommendation would be the Fricandó, thin slices of beef and mushrooms.
But the Catalonian cuisine would not be the same without their excellent fruits and vegetables. We can differentiate two parts of Cataluña if we talk about agriculture. One part is dedicated to growing corn, potatoes, pasture and forage for cattle, while the other part is dedicated to growing products that are characteristic to the Mediterranean area: olive trees, vineyards, fruit trees and even rice. The amount of dishes prepared with all these fruits and vegetables is so expansive that we cannot mention them all.
A good way to try a couple of different vegetables at once would be an escalivada or a samfaina, normally served as side dishes that are a mixture of several vegetables. We cannot forget about the Calçots, which are a kind of onion typically eaten during popular celebrations called Calçotadas. If you can join one of them, don’t miss the opportunity!
And if you are looking for a wine to pair with all this food, there are a bunch of options to choose from. Penedés, Terra Alta, Ampurdán… Cava is another option, a kind of sparkling wine, usually from the area known as Penedés.
Tips and Tapas recommends:
Fideuá, Rossejat or rice with some kind of fish or seafood. Also Fricandó. .
Something you should definitely try:
Calçots. Also fuet or butifarra.
Something to drink:
Wines from any of the different designations of origin.