Catalan food – some of the most varied in Spain
Catalan food, like Spanish food on the whole is generally excellent and anyone who’s been here especially Barcelona in Catalonia or Catalunya usually gives it the thumbs up. Catalan food is very healthy and is part of the famed Mediterranean diet that is rich in beans, pulses, fish, meats, vegetables and olive oil.
There are so many dishes to choose from that if you go to a typical restaurant the menus can take forever to browse!
Typical Catalan food
So what typical things can you eat in Catalonia? What’s special about Catalan food?
One of my favourite things to eat although incredibly simple is pan payes tostado con tomate, aceite de oliva y ajo (traditional bread that is toasted, rubbed with olive oil, garlic and fresh crushed tomatoes).
Maybe it doesn’t sound too extravagant but it’s well worth trying. Many other regions in Spain just don’t get this really good idea and I once remember being in Madrid and asking for the same only for the waiter to hand me some bread with thick tomato slices!
Catalan food is more than just eating
Catalonia as a region has a reputation for producing some of Spain’s most excellent cuisine although the Basques might just query that! The region is geographically diverse and enjoys a variety of fresh, high-quality seafood, meat, poultry, game, fruit and vegetables.
The essence and secret of all good Catalan food lies in its sauces for fish and meat.
There are five main types of sauces: sofregit which is fried onion, tomato and garlic; samfaina which uses the sofregit as a base plus red pepper and aubergine or courgette; picada which is based on ground almonds, garlic, parsley, pine or hazel nuts, and breadcrumbs; allioli which is crushed garlic with olive oil with egg yolk added to make it into a garlic tasting mayonnaise; and romesco which is an almond, tomato, olive oil, garlic and vinegar sauce which can also be used as a salad dressing.
Modern Catalan food
Catalan food has come a long way and there are numerous famous Catalan chefs that try to get the word out there. One of the most well-known and world famous Catalan chefs is Ferran Adrià who’s the owner of the famous El Bullì restaurant in Girona.
He has taken Catalan cuisine to a whole new level and some may think a bit too far with the unusual dishes he prepares. Modern Catalan food or cuisine has therefore become world famous thanks to great chefs such as Adrià and their peculiar way of preparing old favourites.
Below I’ve listed a few traditional Catalan dishes that you might want to try once here. Be brave, Catalan food is delicious!
Pa amb tomàquet: Toasted bread with fresh tomatoes, garlic and olive oil. See how to prepare Pa amb Tomaquet here.
Butifarra con mongetes: Typical sausages,beans, garlic and parsley.
Esqueixada de Bacallà: An exquisite salad elaborated with cod, tomatoes,onions,olives, hard boiled eggs and peppers.
Mar i Muntanya: This is a traditional dish of fish and meat on the same plate.
Sauces: Ali Oli is my favourite and it’s made from olive oil and garlic. Great with meats and fish.
So there you have it. Next time you’re in the region of Catalonia or Barcelona why not try some authentic Catalan food. You’ll be pleasantly surprised!
You can also buy cheap tickets to Barcelona here and experiment the delicious Catalan fare on a budget!