Spain is one of the most popular travel destinations on the planet due to its amenable climate, welcoming culture and decidedly amazing weather throughout the majority of the year. Catalonia is particularly famous for those who are looking for a bit of a change and this autonomous region has also been known as an amazing gastronomical destination for foodies from around the world. If you are planning a trip in the hear future, it is a good idea to appreciate some of the culinary delights to expect upon your arrival as well as why Catalonia is quite famous for its production of wines and spirits.A Unique Regional FlavourThe Catalan people have always taken a great deal of pride in their distinctive nature as well as their autonomous mindset. While there is no doubt that this causes from friction between the region and Madrid from time to time, it has also enabled their local foods to develop a rich and one-of-a-kind taste.
One of the most well-known dishes here is a type of meat known as "jamon serrano" (a ham that is slowly dried and salted to perfection). This is often accompanied by fresh bread and tomatoes (pan con tomate). Most restaurants will serve these as appetisers before the main course.Many of the delicacies to be found throughout this region are based around the Mediterranean diet. Thus, you can expect to experience a distinct flavour of olive oil in their meat and fish dishes.
However, fresh vegetables are also quite common and many of these are grown locally; offering a flavour not often found in store-bought products.It is also a good idea to experiment with tiny selections of food known as "tapas". Tapas are essentially smaller samplings of what a restaurant has to offer on their menu. This is an excellent way to appreciate what you might choose for the main course although there is nothing wrong with ordering a host of tapas for the entire meal.Taking the Road Less TravelledThe majority of those who plan on visiting Catalonia will likely seek to experience major cities such as Barcelona and Girona. While there is nothing wrong with this approach, we need to remember that much of the beauty associated with this region stems from its more rural locations.
It just so happens that these are the very same venues that will serve up an immense kaleidoscope of cuisine.Make it a point to visit smaller towns and village during your stay if possible. Not only will you encounter fewer tourists, but the prices are more amenable when compared to urban areas and the service tends to be more personalised. The ambience is well worth the time that it may take to reach such establishments.Many local restaurants likewise offer up their own unique dishes; some known only to the associated town. Be sure to ask for the house specialities in order to get a better idea of the overall theme.
You might also be surprised to learn that many restaurants will actually provide small samplings at no additional charge, as guest satisfaction trumps profit margins within such traditional venues.A Taste of the SeaMany of the foods served throughout Catalonia have obviously been influenced by the nearby sea. This is there is certainly no shortage of fish-related dishes and similar maritime treats to be experienced. Some of the most common that are frequently provided include:
While it is indeed true that paella is native to the southern portions of Spain, the Catalan have adopted this dish and it is always worthwhile to try if you are unfamiliar with its flavour.Catalan DessertsNo article dedicated to foodies would be complete without mentioning Catalan desserts. Not only are these treats quite hearty in terms of their ingredients, but they are not nearly as unhealthy when compared to the processed confections often present within the United Kingdom. One excellent dessert to sample is known as Crema Catalana; a sweet type of regional pudding. Some other unique options include:
- Horchata (a liquorice-flavoured milk shake).
- Chocolate with almonds.
- Caga tio (a cake embedded with hidden sweets that is normally served around the holiday season).
- Freshly made ice cream with fruits.
This is why it is not uncommon to encounter well-known desserts such as apple pie or ice cream and waffles served alongside regional delicacies.Wine and Spirits: Capping Off a Night on the TownAlthough Catalonia will certainly attract food tourists from all walks of life, we need to remember that their wines are also extremely popular. A local type of dry champagne known as cava should always be sampled during your stay here. In fact, only sparkling wines that are produced within Catalonia can be called cava (much like the champagnes from the Champagne region of France). You could also opt for an aperitif before a meal, as many restaurants offer up their own unique concoctions to enjoy.
Most of these are designed to compliment the flavour of the food.The Catalan culture boasts an amazing selection of foods and many of these cannot be found anywhere else in the world. So, be sure to visit as many local restaurants as possible during your stay in order to fully experience all that this stunning region has to offer. There is no doubt that you will be coming back for seconds!.