IberiaNature A guide to the natural history and food of Spain

Soups and sauces

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

Stocks, Soups, Potages & Stews

Supermarkets, greengrocers and market stalls often sell made-up packets of stock vegetables, which usually include one or two carrots, a turnip and / or a chunk of parsnip, and a stick or two of celery with leaves still attached. When chopped up and thrown into a pot of water with some wine or sherry to simmer for several hours with chicken, meat or fish leftovers, appropriate herbs and seasoning, even stock cubes, the result is delicious in itself and a great basis for other soups and stews. But remember to remove the bones - and the goddam celery, which in my view should never be seen outside a Bloody Mary!  


All i oli is a great sauce, made by mixing garlic and olive oil together for a long time with a mortar and pestle. It is sometimes inaccurately described as garlic mayonnaise, but it should never contain any egg. The fact that some shops and restaurants attempt to pass off garlic mayonnaise as all i oli is a disgrace! However, the fond notion that all I oli is a Catalan invention is a complete myth; it was invented in Provence, as any Catalan who bothered to travel less than a couple of hundred kilometres north-east should know. All i oli is particularly good with lamb chops. The Provençals also regard it with reverence, even claiming that chanting certain songs is necessary for it to come together properly. In more superstitious times, Catalans and Provençals shared a common traditional belief that all i oli could not be made by a female at the time of her period. .

Romesco is made with red peppers, nyoros , almonds and / or hazelnuts and ingredients such as onion or garlic according to the dish it is to accompany; the romesco served with a xató cod salad is quite different from that served with calçots .  


Francis Barrett's Deconstruction of Catalan and Spanish Food

See aslo a brief guide to Catalan food by Simon Rice


Rural tourism and accommodation guide to Spain


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