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In search of foodie heaven: Catalonia

Listed under Food in Catalunya, Spain.

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Photo by Jayne Wilson
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One of the best experiences for those who love their food and wine is to take advice from native fellow foodies, and get them to book you a personalised whistle-stop tour of a range of eateries that are among the best in their class. That, and avoid the tourist traps. Catalonia is on the must-visit list for savvy foodies worldwide thanks to it rich source of local, fresh ingredients and fantastic DO wines and cavas. Award-winning chefs including Ferran Adria (El Bulli), and many lesser-known but equally talented culinary magicians, have been inspired by the region’s excellent gastronomy. Dishes are characterised by seafood and rice, though you will often find ‘mar i muntanya’ (sea and mountain), which blends fresh fish or seafood with meat such as chicken, rabbit, wild boar and pork.

In our itinerary, we flew into Girona and ventured off the beaten path for an insider tour that took in traditional country cooking, cuina d’autor (authentic Catalan dishes updated with a creative twist), a Michelin star establishment and tapas. Without exception, the food was top class, made with the freshest ingredients and the wine lists were extensive and excellent value. For example, a bottle of Abadia Retuerta’s Rivola cost 11 Euros, where I had one the week before in London for £33 – more than 3.5 times the price.

This experience is great for independent travellers used to grappling with a dictionary and willing to try different things. One of the prices you pay for being off the beaten track is that not all menus are translated into English – but that’s part of the fun!

Written by  Jayne Wilson.

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