02 Mar 2017
CATALONIA.- Gastronomy and Traditions
Products from the Mediterranean region, the basis of cuisine in Catalonia.
One of Catalonia’s most identifiable faces to the world at large is its cuisine. Barcelona exemplifies the rich gastronomic tradition of a country that for many years has been a throughway, diverse civilisations leaving behind them their cultural mark. The capital of Catalonia, the head and home base for Catalonia, combines the cultural background of 2,000 years of history -with all the anthropological background that this implies- and the rise of new chefs which have helped bring Barcelona the honour of being named the first Gourmand City outside France in 2002.
In Catalonia, since ancient times, it has forged a unique history in Catalan kitchens and stoves, which has left a trail of incalculable cultural value and has become the cornerstone on which one of the best cuisines of the world is built for the richness and variety of its foods. The history of Catalan cuisine dates back to the very creation of this small country and its ability to incorporate the finest cuisine with which it has come into contact throughout the centuries. Thanks to these historical ties and to take advantage from the possibilities dishes from countries around the world offered, Catalan cuisine has become a gastronomic model.
By the hand of products around the Mediterranean, Catalan cuisine has been forged as a true reflection of the people who have grown and have made it possible, becoming an essential part of the cultural fabric of the Catalan people. Edible museum of the skills of its people around the world, the result of this goal is to enjoy a recipe that conveys the values and know-how of the Catalans, which helps to define its own identity and has led Catalonia to be considered one of the cultures of reference par excellence.
A simple bread with tomato, an unmatched snails, calçots (sweet onions), uniques; escudella (a kind of soup) with big meatballs, sauteed chanterelles from this land, unmistakable grandmother’s cannelloni and an endless list of delicious dishes, to close with desserts and sweets as typical as the cocas, panellets and Catalan cream, all accompanied by the best wines.
Catalan cuisine is also synonymous with tradition and deeply rooted customs of the people. While we can enjoy it whenever we want, there is nothing like enjoying the sausage egg for Carnival, or traditional fritters Lent, alone or cream and chocolate fillings, now we approach dates close to Easter. And of course, do not forget godparents give to their godchildren the traditional Easter Mona, with correspondingly large chocolate egg. Linking regional fare with celebrations and traditions of culture is very narrow, but it is precisely this feature that distinguishes Catalan identity from many of the major economic reference and social leaders, weak when the time to sit around the table and share a good meal with family and friends, arrives.
One of the best types of cuisine in the world
At the moment Catalonia has the privilege of being home tor some of the world’s top chefs. Recently, the media have featured the likes of Ferran Adrià on the frontpage of The New York Times and Le Monde, and he has in fact been chosen one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine. Santi Santamaria, Fermí Puig, Carles Gaig, Carme Ruscalleda and Sergi Arola, to mention but a few, enjoy huge media attention for their professional careers. This recognition all comes thanks to the solid roots of Catalan cuisine, a style of cooking that comes from tradition and a willingness to experiment with vanguard techniques, and this is what makes it stand out as one of the best sorts of cooking in Europe.
That is why Barcelona and Catalonia have decided to bring cuisine and gastronomy together for this year. With the Year of Food, Cuisine and Gastronomy we are not just paying homage to the rich tradition of Catalan cuisine, but also showing how this has managed to become integrated and open new horizons. So, it is a transversal campaign which includes everything about gastronomy, cuisine, and food, and in this sense, it embraces the food process, from markets to the elaboration of dishes and its tasting.