The most important ingredients of Catalan Cooking are : olive oil, garlic, sun and patience.
This cuina (Catalan name for cooking) has Phoenicians roots, Greek and Roman. This is a tasty cooking, which does not fear to mix sweetened and salty, honey, cinnamon, almonds, pinions, and dry fruits. Pork-butchery (embotits) is rough and vigorous, like its botifarra a black roll prepared with pig meat mixed with blood, its serran ham or its fuet. The botifarra that you can find in l'Empordà is sweetened and scented with lemon peel and cinnamon, a receipt that comes from the Middle Age. The more inland we go, we will find more often llonganises (sausages) on the table.
- The orxata ( pronounced "ortxata"), is one of the most refreshing drinks. It is manufactured with the juice of chufa a kind of papyrus which grow at the banks of the Guadalquivir.
- We can also find the granizado : orange or lemon juice, or coffee with crushed ice in large centrifugal machines. Sweetened, frozen and not expensive.
- In the plain of Lleida, you can find a drink called drink of the poor (beguda de pobre), made from oranges, anise and sugar. It is surprising.
- Beer (cerveza) : the most spread drink. Be careful when asking for a beer, in Spain, in a bar, when you ask for a beer it means a beer in a bottle. If what you want is a draught beer you have to ask for a "caña".
- Wine : The cradle of the growing wine is a few kilometers from Barcelona in the area called Pénedès. We can find red wines with powerful taste. Try the appellation origine wines, a certified quality.
- Vermuth al grifo : It is wine macerated with herbs and delivered in small barrels with aerated water.
- Cava : It is the Champagne, a wine semi-sparkling, very pleasant to drink, a bit fruity an greener than the French Champagne. There are different brands : Raïmat, Freixenet and Codorniu.
- Inland we can find the good ratafias.
- Moscatel : it is a sweet wine and often find with mel i mató (see desserts below). Not to miss !
If it is the first time that you come to Spain, you will probably wonder why in the evening, whatever the day, the tapas bars are crowded. Quite simply, because the Spaniards like to go "de tapeo" (going out for tapas implies ordering a plate of food).
Even though they are now found in homes and smart restaurants, tapas have kept an informal spirit through their popular origins as street food. It is very often cheaper than a restaurant.