When it comes to Catalan cuisine, you’ll find personality and vibrant flavours infused in this Mediterranean gastronomical destination. As the capital of Spain’s Catalonia region, visitors can be sure to find the best of the Catalan delicacies here. Catalan food is considered rather healthy and a typical Basque’s diet will consist of plenty of beans, fish, vegetables and olive oil. Feast your eyes on the must-try dishes of Catalonia’s capital city, Barcelona!
Escudella i carn d’olla
The Escudella i carn d’olla is Catalonia’s version of stew cooked with meat such as beef, and vegetables. What sets the Escudella apart from the typical stew is the use of pilot, a large meatball flavoured with garlic and parsley. The Escudella comes in 2 courses, a rice-based soup and thin slippery pasta or rice, followed by the stewed meat and finishing off with vegetables. Locals love to fill their stomachs in the winter with this hearty Catalan dish which is often served on holidays such as Christmas Day or the Day of St Esteve.
Pa amb tomàquet
Much like the Italian bruschetta, the Catalan breakfast staple of Pa amb tomàquet is essentially a tomato mixture made with squashed tomatoes infused with garlic, spread on bread slices and drizzled over with extra virgin olive oil. The Pa amb tomàquet is usually served with Catalonia’s famous Iberic ham and pieces of cheese or chorizo. Incredibly simple yet delicious, start your day the traditional Catalan way with Pa amb tomàquet.
Somewhat like the classic Spanish dish of Paella, Fidueá is made with noodles instead of rice and usually comes with seafood such as squid and shrimp. But if you’re not a seafood lover, chicken or sausage alternatives are available. To amp up the dish, Fidueá is served with a strong garlic mayo known as ‘Alioli’. Just like the paella, the Fidueá is made to feed 2 stomachs. For solo travellers without anyone to share a meal with, try to find a ‘menu del dia’, or daily lunch special, that consists of Fidueá as one of the dishes.
A Catalan speciality made with a local variety of spring onions cooked over an open flame. Scrap off the outer layer of ash and dip in romesco sauce for a well-flavoured appetiser that is crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. If you’re visiting Catalonia between the end of winter to March/ April, remember to catch the Calçotada, a popular festival where Calçots are consumed in massive quantities.
Otherwise known as the Catalonian cream, Crema Catalana is one of the most widely eaten traditional desserts in the region. The creamy dessert is much like the French crème brûlée, however, the sugar in Crema Catalana is caramelised using an iron broiler instead of a flame and flavoured with orange or lemon zest, and cinnamon. Order a Crema Catalana and enjoy the smooth rich custard base complimented by the juxtaposing crunchiness of the caramelised sugar.
Mel I Mato
Made from a kind of fresh Catalan cheese known as Mato, honey is typically served along with the Mel I Mato in an earthenware pot as it is thought to bring out the best flavours. A soft blend of honey and cheese, the Mel I Mato is one of Catalonia’s simple, comforting desserts.