This morning, while I pounded away on copy for our soon-to-be-released website, I pondered the food of Catalonia. “What,” I thought, “are three foods that are most typical of this region?”
I’m a relative rookie in Catalonia, and an international one at that…Barcelona has its hardcore pockets of the native culture, but it also celebrates the diversity of Spanish and global cultures that converge amid its busy streets and sidewalks.
Gaston, my boss and the company founder, is pretty BCN savvy. I asked him the question I asked myself. His answers:
1. Pan con tomate – A delicious, simple combination of bread smeared with fresh tomato, sprinkled with salt and drizzled with olive oil.
2. Escaichada – Codfish marinated in a vinaigrette or lemon-based marinade.
3. Carnes asadas – A classic Catalán meal…butifarra, chorizo, morcilla…take your pick, and also take your sense of smell. You can usually indulge in the amazing aroma of Catalan restaurants before you actually enter them.
|Butifarra on the grill. Heavenly smell. Ridiculous taste. (Thanks for the photo, Wikipedia)|
Not a bad list. Quite iconic, actually. The beauty of each of these foods is that you can find them at almost any bar or restaurant in Barcelona. Some specialize in seafood (@alegrabarcelona), some specialize in Catalán grilled meat (El Asador de Aranda) and nearly all have pan con tomate (even if it isn’t on the menu).
I, being the new guy in town, took the more basic route:
1. Olivas – I prefer olives from Aragón and anything soaked in bay leaves and garlic.
2. Pan con tomate
3. Estrella Damm beer – A staple here. Simple, mildly bitter and delicious when its cold. In the city (El Raval, Born, Gothic) they usually run you about 2€, but in the outlying neighborhoods like mine (El Carmel) and Gaston’s (La Sagrera), an Estrella you will cost you, at most 1.20 €.
|So cold, so seductive, so good with everything (Thanks for the photo, commons.wikimedia.org)|
Try each of these suggestions when you’re in town for a proper Catalán/Spanish food experience!