Spain > Cuisine of Costa Brava
Cuisine of Costa Brava
12 September 2008 saw a hundred years since the publication in La Veu de Catalunya
of the article "Per la Costa Brava" by Ferran Agullo in which he spoke
for the first time about the Costa Brava, referring to the bays and towns of
the Mediterranean, from the mouth of the River Tordera to the French border.
A century after the "birth" of the name Costa Brava, used to refer
to the coast of the Girona area, the Patronat de Turisme Costa Brava Girona
has decided to celebrate it by organising commemorative events, artistic and
cultural initiatives and promotional measures.
The name Costa Brava brings to mind the landscape, sea, culture, traditions,
heritage, history and experiences that have been enjoyed... And one of the aspects
that is closely linked to all these features in the "Costa Brava"
tourism brand is its gastronomy, which is the
result of the variety and quality of the products provided by the sea and the
land and the ability of the local people and of professionals to prepare them
using culinary skills that are typical of this area and that have endured the
passage of time.
Therefore, gastronomy has a significant role to play in the centenary celebrations
of the Costa Brava.
The celebration of the centenary is a good opportunity to remind people of diverse
dishes that characterise the unique cuisine of the Costa Brava, differentiating
it from that of other areas with similar characteristics
This initiative has led to the creation of the Costa Brava Menu. This menu is
made up of a selection of the more local dishes, with a well defined history
and identifying personality.
The Costa Brava Menu was assessed by the chefs Ferran Adria, Joan Roca and
Jaume Subiros, as well as the chef de cuisine of the Aula Gastronomica de I'Emporda,
The Centenary Menu can be enjoyed in diverse restaurants belonging to the "Costa
Brava" tourism brand. The menu will consist of a selection of dishes that
are part of the Costa Brava Menu and each establishment will offer its own personalised
The gastronomic wealth of the Costa Brava is also found in its wines; therefore,
a white wine, a red wine and a dessert wine have been chosen which will be promoted
by being labelled as the Costa Brava Centenary Wines. These wines were selected
by a group of sommeliers from the Girona region.
The aim of the Centenary Menu is to bring our most typical cuisine closer
to the people who visit us, and offering them the possibility of finding out
more about our culture.
Elegant fusion of sea and mountain
The cuisine of the Costa Brava is an elegant fusion between
the sea and the mountains. Chicken with lobster is the pictorial, literary and
legendary seafood and meat dish. However, the classic, traditional rice casserole
prepared on Sundays is the genuine "sea and mountain" dish, which has
spread from the coast to the remotest parts of Catalonia. This uncomplicated,
natural and balanced combination of chicken, pork, rabbit, cuttlefish, mussels
and seafood, with a base of onions and tomato, chopped dried fruit and garlic
and parsley is part of the land's substrata.
Fish and seafood are the products that best evoke the Costa Brava: Anchovies
from L'Escala, prawns from Palamos, baby monkfish from Roses, bluefish from
Sant Feliu de Guixols, rockfish from Begur, sea urchins from the Empordanet,
wedge clams, rock mussels, thornback ray that is used for making the dmitomba
speciality of Tossa de Mar...
Suquet would be the distinguishing dish of the powerful fishing fleet: a working
dish on board the boat, made from fish, potatoes, garlic and tomato, which was
made in a different way in each port. A dish that fishermen's stews all over
the Mediterranean have in common.
Rice is a local raw material, hence the deeply-rooted tradition of many rice
dishes, cooked in different ways, according to each town. The wetlands from
Pals to Torroella de Montgri have grown and harvested rice since the Middle
Ages. The banks of the Ter, Fluvia and Muga rivers have magnificent vegetable
farms, with turnips from Capmany, Talltendre, Besalu and Santa Pau, onions from
Vilabertran and Figueres, broad beans and peas from Aro valley, garlic from
Banyoles and Pla de I'Estany county, pumpkins from Esponella, the tiny haricot
beans of Banyoles, and the white-eye beans of the Empordanet.
Local fruit enjoys much popularity. The Girona apple has been recognised by
the European Union with a Protected Geographical Indication (IGP) and the apples
from Sant Pere Pescador and Torroella de Montgri are also much appreciated.
As do the cherries from Llers and Terrades or the hazelnuts from La Selva.
Emporda and part of Pla de I'Estany are olive oil-producing areas, with well-known
oils made mainly from the indigenous Argudell and Corivell olive varieties.
Local wines also have a historical denomination of origin and are gaining increasing
market recognition. The Emporda is the only region that has a denomination of
origin for oils as well as for wines. Garnatxa from Emporda is an ideal dessert
wine that goes well with the local patisserie: cream-filled xuixos, flaona cakes,
bisbalenc pastry filled with pumpkin preserve, mocha-flavoured rus, Emporda
fritters, almond carquinyoli biscuits, cork-shaped tap buns from Cadaques and
Sant Feliu, cansalada sponge cake and tortada almond ring from Banyoles...
The Gavarres and Cadiretes ranges are the main wild mushroom producing areas
in the world. The variety of dishes in which they are used is immense, unbeatable
and often imitated.
The flocks of sheep have pastured from Emporda to Ripolles and Cerdanya. A
true dream. The Emporda hen, the forerunner of all our great Sunday roasts,
always served, of course, with tasty plums. There are also ducks and young pigeons.
Roasts and dishes prepared for the town festival. Young pigeon rice, duck cooked
with honey, with pears or figs, and with turnips or chestnuts. This is true
sweet and sour cuisine. There are however, above all, two emblematic dishes:
apples stuffed with minced meat and sweet botifarra sausage. They are not considered
as desserts but are served as a final main course, a reminiscence of medieval