GASTRONOMY in TOURISM. The taste of a tourist destination
04 Mar 2021

GASTRONOMY in TOURISM. The taste of a tourist destination

The agribusiness, one of the most dynamic sectors

The agri-food sector represents a turnover of 38,205 million euros. It directly employs 163,372 people, and represents an equivalent of 16.28% of the GDP. The Catalan agri-food industry is made up of more than 57,000 farms and almost 4,000 food and beverage industries. The food and beverage industry represents 23% of the sector’s turnover in Spain as a whole.
In the last decade, the food and beverage sector in Catalonia has made a great commitment to the internationalization of its products. In the last 10 years, exports have increased by 45% in volume and 65% in value. The constant increase in value over the last ten years and growth rates higher than other European countries with similar export potential, consolidate Catalonia as one of the leading agri-food clusters in Europe according to the latest data from the European Cluster Observatory. Catalonia exports food to more than 200 countries and the meat sector is the largest exporter, followed by fine food, fruits and vegetables, oils and wines.


Cooking as an artistic creation to delight the senses.

The country’s new restaurateurs are artists in the kitchen and this is demonstrated by their enormous international recognition. For example, the “Can Roca Celler”, owned by the Roca brothers and located in Girona, has been the best restaurant in the world on several occasions for the prestigious magazine “Restaurant”. It is the same title that Ferran Adrià had already achieved in his restaurant “El Bulli” and for five years. “Mugaritz” and “Asador Etxebarri”, in the Basque Country, also appear on this list as 9th and 6th best restaurant, respectively. In addition, up to 11 Spanish restaurants have the highest rating awarded by the influential “Michelin Guide“.

The works of these new culinary artists are characterized by their originality and innovation, combining traditional Mediterranean cuisine with creative proposals. Many restaurants in Spain have been distinguished for their quality and creativity. Thus, around 200 Michelin-starred establishments are distributed throughout the country. There are 11 restaurants with the highest distinction, one in Andalusia, one in the Valencian Community, one in Madrid, four in Catalonia and four in the Basque Country.

Many of the dishes prepared by these excellent chefs are based on the Mediterranean diet. This consists of a combination of a way of eating and other factors related to the Mediterranean culture (quieter life, siesta, exercise, etc.). The Mediterranean diet does not correspond to a strictly geographical concept. For example, Portugal and the Canary Islands are not bathed by this sea and also have it. Although the advantages of this diet are undoubted, this fact should not lead us to believe that it is a kind of “panacea diet” that is good for everything. What we can conclude is that the Mediterranean diet has very beneficial aspects in the prevention, not only of cardiovascular diseases, but also of other pathologies, including possibly some types of neoplasms.

And another of the most relevant aspects of Spanish gastronomy is, without a doubt, its wines. Whites, rosés, reds, finos, caves or sparkling wines pair perfectly with a particular dish. Spain is one of the world’s major wine producers, with more than 900,000 hectares of vineyards and a wide variety of grapes. In fact, the cultivation of the vine has become an art in Spain. Wine tourism goes far beyond wine tasting. It is an experience that will take you to sleep among vineyards, visit centenary wineries, receive classes by expert sommeliers… and a wide range of wine tourism proposals.

Gastronomy and traditions

Wise men say that “we are what we eat” and the reflection of society is in the cuisine of each one. 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 possibility’s 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.

Catalan cuisine is also synonymous with tradition and deeply rooted customs of the people. 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.

CULINARY TOURISM – Cuisine is geography, history and culture

To taste and enjoy a country’s culinary products is to explore all its traditions at once.

In recent years the cuisine has become indispensable to know the culture and way of life of a territory. Gastronomy represents an opportunity to boost and diversify tourism, promotes local economic development, involves various professional sectors (producers, chefs, markets …) and incorporates new uses to the primary sector.  This gastronomy’s role in the choice of destination and tourism consumption has resulted the growth of a cuisine based on quility indigenous products and in consolidating its own market for gastronomic tourism.

Culinary tourism is the focus on food as an attraction for exploration and a destination for tourism. Although food has always been a part of hospitality services for tourists, it was not emphasized by the tourism industry until the late 1990s. It now includes a variety of formats and products – culinary trails, cooking classes, restaurants, farm weekends, cookbooks, food guides, and new or adapted recipes, dishes, and even ingredients.

Discovering a country’s food and drink; browsing its market stalls; purchasing, tasting and chatting to culinary experts, exploring wine routes… all this is food and wine tourism.

Gastronomy can bring great leverage to a country’s economy. France learnt this some time ago, and Italy applies it with brilliant results. The real direct and indirect impact of the restaurant business goes much further than one might originally have thought. Eating as a leisure activity.

The Mediterranean coast of Spain is a popular touristic destination for those looking for beach holidays and high-quality food and wine. You’ve probably heard about the benefits of Spanish Mediterranean diet that has become so popular in the recent years thanks to magazine and newspaper articles and trendy diet books. It contains a great variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables, meat and cheese, legumes, fish and sea products. Almost every meal is accompanied by a glass of delicious wine.

Catalonia boasts a host of gastronomic activities. Is a country with traditions going back more than a thousand years, a land with its own culture and language that enjoys a mild Mediterranean climate and an unrivalled natural diversity. It is a country built on a wealth of contrasts that make the customs, traditions and people of Catalonia absolutely unique.

To enter Catalan territory is to immerse oneself in an unimaginable sea of possibilities: to discover charming villages; to commune with nature; to discover the country’s architectural heritage, music and deeply rooted traditions; to do business; or, simply, to relax by the sea.

The features that differentiate Catalonia, making our country stand out from the rest, are also evident in the region’s culinary culture that have sea and mountain; tradition and innovation; and a wealth of quality local products.

Favorite culinary destinations

Another good thing about wine tourism in Spain is that it can easily be combined with the excellent gastronomy of Spain. Spanish gastronomy is considered one of the best in the world for its quality and variety. Each region has its own local cuisine whose dishes are best understood when paired with the wines from their respective regions.

A sure way to enjoy the local food with its wine is to treat yourself to lunch at a winery

Many wineries and caves already offer guided tours and associated activities. The only difficulty, if time is limited, will be to choose the route amongst all the different possibilities.

Among the favorite gastronomic destinations of Spaniards are regions or cities that have already opted for gastronomy as a key strategic line within their tourism model and for the creation of tourism products based on the authenticity of their gastronomic heritage. At the regional level, Andalusia, Galicia, the Basque Country and Asturias appear, in this order, as the autonomous communities preferred by Spaniards when it comes to making gastronomic trips or getaways. In relation to the favorite cities and municipalities of the gastronomic tourist, San Sebastian, Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao and Logroño stand out, making up the ranking of the 5 favorite gastronomic destinations, although it is also worth mentioning the high number of mentions received by some municipalities or regions such as Gijón, O Grove, or El Bierzo, which, beyond the large provincial capitals, are becoming authentic gastronomic meccas.

As for Catalonia, Catalan gastronomy is also synonymous with tradition and customs deeply rooted by the people. The link of typical Catalan dishes with celebrations and traditions of the culture is very close, but it is precisely this feature that distinguishes us from many of the great world societies that are a leading economic and social reference, but lose steam when it comes time to sit at the table and share a good meal with friends and family. After all, all tourist experiences that help to discover the territory of any tourist destination are always accompanied by the gastronomic experience with local products and typical dishes of each country.