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Cuisine of Costa Brava

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, Oriol Blanes.

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 proposal.

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 times.

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