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A brief guide to Catalan food by Simon Rice

Expert guided food tours in Barcelona by Nick Lloyd of Iberianature.

Introduction to Catalan food

Expert guided food tours in Barcelona by Nick Lloyd of Iberianature.

The idea of this guide is to illustrate the range of foods which one is likely to come across in Catalonia, that is to say I've included many 'Spanish' dishes and ingredients that are so universal that it would be negligent to omit them. These dishes are marked with an asterisk. The Spanish names for Catalan dishes, where they exist, are given in brackets. It is not meant to be an exhaustive list, nor yet a cookery lesson, rather a detailed glossary that indicates what to eat and how to go about it. If this guide can take the stress out of selecting new things from the menu and encourage you to discover more for yourselves then I think I'll have achieved my objective.

I've begun with a general description of the manner in which Catalan cuisine is created and eaten; a description of some special products and ingredients as well as special dishes usually served of festive occasions in addition to the more usual three or four course meal format which I go on to describe as first courses (including rice and pasta as they're generally eaten as such), main dishes and desserts, finishing with breads and cakes, the last of which are usually washed down with plentiful cava! Inevitably there are dishes from elsewhere else in Spain , which have become naturalised, these are marked with an asterisk.

Catalan Cuisine

Expert guided food tours in Barcelona by Nick Lloyd of Iberianature.

The pundits say that Catalan cooking can claim to be a 'Cuisine' in its own right due to the unique invention and use of the sauces described below. I'm not sure how this should constitute this distinction but having travelled and eaten throughout Spain I can confirm that food in Catalonia is quite distinct and not just a collection of recipes that happen to occur in a particular place. As well as the sauces issue there are indigenous ingredients and their unique and characteristic combinations, for instance meats cooked with fruit, are 'typically Catalan'. Some dishes do not fall into any of these categories however. Here I think that a clue to their status is in the names, as a rule of thumb dishes that are unpronounceable to the untutored eye are so embedded in the cooking that they are uniquely Catalan, being in effect untranslatable in Spanish and indeed in English other than a mere description.

Sauces
Cooking styles
Sandwiches & tapas
Charcuterie
Special dishes
Rice dishes
First Courses
Main courses
Catalan desserts

 

See aslo a brief guide to Catalan food by Simon Rice

 

 

A guide to food in Spain

A brief guide to Catalan food by Simon Rice owner of this restored Casa Rabassaire which he rents out on the summer.

Introduction
Sauces
Cooking styles
Sandwiches & tapas

Charcuterie
Special dishes
Rice dishes
First Courses
Main courses
Catalan desserts

See also Francis Barret's guide to food in Catalonia

 

 

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