Tapas and paella are the stereotypical dishes that people think of when they consider what Catalonian dish they would like to introduce their palate to. Unbeknown to many Catalonian food has a character of its own, filled with interesting flavors and textures.
A lot of European countries eat pork. When I say a lot, I mean a lot. The German like their Vienna sausage, the Spanish with the chorizo and the Greeks with their loukaniko. The Catalonians have their otifarra or Catalan sausage. It is well loved across all of Catalonia but in the mountainy area. The sausage is usually grilled and doesn’t have much seasoning. It is served with protein rich white beans.
For mushroom lovers when they think of Catalonia they think of mushroom world. Catalonia has a lot of mushrooms growing naturally due to the perfect temperature and soils which seem to love on many types of mushrooms.
Another wholesome and mushroom rich Catalonian dish is fricandó de vedella amb bolets. Catalans enjoying picking mushrooms. For this dish veal is cut into very fine pieces before being stewed in a line wine stock with freshly picked tomatoes. Picada is added just before the dish is ready. Picada is a mix of breadcrumbs, saffron, parsley and roasted almonds.
Catalonian desserts are not as expected when savored by those from afar. Catalonian deserts are no sugary affair for the glucose lacking. Catalan desserts are often a humble affair, especially for Brits used to sugar overload. Dessert usually consists of yogurts, and seasonal fruit. Mel i Mato is a modest dessert to sooth your gut after a very heave Catalan dish. Many Catalan dishes incorporate beans and lentils with a choice of meat always present on the side. A light dessert is just what you need after a heavy Catalonian main. Mato is fresh unsalted cheese, like riccotta. The cheese is soft and creamy but isn’t as strong as ricotta. A little drizzle of locally produced honey and some walnuts for added texture.
This dessert is a bit sweeter than the mel i mato. La Coca de Llardons is a high calorie cake usually made in homes and sold in bakeries around Easter and in the run up to Coca de Sant Jaon which is celebrated on June 23rd. Coca de Sant Jaon is basically a celebration of the summer solstice. Also known as the night of fire there are manifold bonfire and fireworks being lit along the Mediterranean coastline. It is beautiful sight for the nostalgic. Back to the coca de Llardons. The cake is flat and made of puff pastry. It contains sugar, egg, anise and crushed pork crackling. Served with glass of wine and a sprinkle of pine nuts the cake is a divine way to end a day of sweltering heat. Indeed, Catalonian food has its own identity and persona like no other found in any part of the world.