Most tourists visiting Barcelona are drawn to the city’s architecture, modernism and beaches, but many of them don’t focus on the possibility of “savouring” the city.
The Catalan capital boasts a rich culinary tradition, and many people don’t know this, but the first cookbook in Spain was actually printed in Barcelona back in 1774.
One of the most iconic dishes in Catalonia is undoubtedly pa amb tomàquet. This is a simple dish that’s nothing more than a slice of bread rubbed with tomato, drizzled with olive oil and a pinch of salt. Its importance should never be underestimated.
Escalivada is another dish that’s easy to prepare. It’s made from smoky grilled vegetables, generally aubergines, peppers and onions. It can be served on its own or as a side dish with meat or fish.
Continuing with vegetables, we move on to another dish with strong cultural and family connotations. Calçots are a type of tender, sweet spring onions that are dipped in romesco sauce. And calçotadas are an annual event celebrated with friends and family who get together to enjoy calçots and other dishes.
Paella is another typical dish in this part of Spain. The Catalan version is made with boneless meat and peeled seafood and is often referred to as paella parellada.
When it comes to meat dishes, we have to give special mention to botifarra amb mongetes. Here simplicity plays the lead role. The botifarra is a grilled meat sausage that’s served with white beans.
Fricandó is another Catalan favourite, a stew made with thin cut steaks. It’s accompanied with a mushroom sauce and like with all stews it tastes better the day after when it has had time to sit and soak up the juice.
Another very typical Catalan dish is Mar i Muntanya (Surf and Turf), which is a combination of meat (generally chicken, or rabbit) and crayfish or prawns cooked in a traditional clay casserole pot. Another variation of this dish is prepared with meatballs with cuttlefish.
When it comes to desserts, crema catalana is the crème de la crème. The main ingredients are milk, cinnamon, lemon, orange, egg yolks and sugar. The top is sprinkled with sugar and browned with a blowtorch to give it a golden colour.
Catania is another typical sweet dish made with toasted and caramelised almonds and covered with almond paste and chocolate.