Thanks to its prime location on the Mediterranean, the Catalan region boasts some of Spain’s finest cuisine, composed of fresh ingredients, meats, seafood, vegetables, and more. Planning a trip? We’ve got you covered on the essentials you can’t afford to miss – and if you’re reading this on an empty stomach, I’m going to apologize in advance..
Whether you’re a vegetarian, on a diet, or want to experience your daily veggie intake in a different way, you have to try escalivada! Very simply, this dish is composed of a tasty variety of grilled vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, artichokes, local bolets & calçots, as well as others the coastal region offers.
Believe it or not, Catalans take their mushrooms very seriously, so if you are traveling to the region around this time of year (autumn/early winter months) it’s important to know that you will be entering the heart of mushroom season! Across Catalonia you can witness and even participate in mushroom fairs and festivals, commonly known as Festas del Bolet, or even join local boleteaires hunting for mushrooms in the countryside. Bolets make a tasty addition to various types of stews and are often cooked into tortilla dishes as well.
Like bolets, calcots are another regional ingredient deserving of their own harvesting celebration – which in this case is known as Calçotada. Catalans enjoy this type of scallion (green onions) roasted to perfection over a hot stove or fire and dipped in a tasty romesco sauce. Pro tip– Calçots go perfectly with some red wine and bread.
Pa amb Tomaquèt
A staple of Catalan cuisine, you can find this pan con tomate or toasted bread smeared with tomato and olive oil and sprinkled with salt, basically anywhere in Barcelona. Enjoy as an appetizer or as a side dish, try it with some cheese and local meat on top if you’re extra hungry, but truthfully any way you prefer it your plate will not be complete without this authentic “fast food.”
Escudella (de carn d’olla)
Warm your stomach (and your heart) with escudella, you can enjoy this hearty stew cooked from pasta, beans, ham, chicken, vegetables and topped off with cheese, salt, pepper, and a variety of other spices to add a kick of flavor.
This unique dish, which evolved from the Italian “cannelloni,” consists of long pasta rolls stuffed with sauces and anything from cod, minced meat, and spinach and has become quite popular in Catalonia. And vegetarians, have no fear! Canelones are often prepared with various types of vegetables, cheeses, and other ingredients besides meat. What’s even cooler about Canelones is that you can order them in restaurants or pick them up premade at the local market and pop them in the oven to eat at home.
In Madrid, you’ll often find bocadillos with Jamón Ibérico or Serrano, but the traditional meat of the Catalan region is known as fuet: a specific dried, cured sausage made from pork. If you consider yourself a meat lover, head to the town of Vic to sample some of the best embutidos and butifarras (general names for cured pork and sausage meat) in the region!