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Pa amb tomàquet (bread and tomato with olive oil).

Catalan cuisine is a Mediterranean cuisine from Catalonia. It may also refer to the shared cuisine of French Catalonia[1] and Andorra, which has a similar cuisine to the Alt Urgell and Cerdanya comarques, often referred to as "Catalan mountain cuisine"[2]. It is considered a part of Spanish cuisine or, simultaneously, a part of Western Mediterranean cuisine.

Contents

Alternative views

Some contemporary Catalan authors, such as Josep Pla,[3] Jaume Fàbrega or Eliana Thibaut i Comalada,[4] and others like Colman Andrews[5], have suggested that, besides Catalonia proper, this cuisine takes in the Balearic and Valencian cuisines[6], but this opinion is challenged as politicised,[5] and is not widespread, nor is supported by either the Catalan,[7] Balearic or Valencian government.[8][9] In any case, mutual ties do exist between Catalan gastronomy and other Western Mediterranean gastronomies, such as Balearic cuisine, Valencian cuisine, Southern French cuisine, Aragonese cuisine or Murcian cuisine.

Basic ingredients

Fruits from La Boqueria Market, Barcelona

It relies heavily on ingredients found along the Mediterranean coast, including fresh vegetables (especially tomato, garlic, aubergine (eggplant), red pepper, and artichoke), wheat products (bread, pasta), Arbequina olive oils, wines, legumes (beans, chickpeas), mushrooms, all sorts of pork preparations (sausages from Vic, ham), all sorts of cheese, poultry, lamb, and many types of fish like sardine, anchovy, tuna, and cod.

The traditional Catalan cuisine is quite diverse, ranging from pork-intensive dishes cooked in the inland part of the region (Catalonia is one of the main producers of swine products in Spain) to fish-based recipes along the coast.

The cuisine includes many preparations that mix sweet and savoury and stews with sauces based upon botifarra (pork sausage) and the characteristic picada (ground almonds, hazelnuts, pine nuts, etc. sometimes with garlic, herbs, biscuits).

Savoury dishes

Coques, a kind of pizza.
Rovellons or Pinatells, a tasty wild mushroom
Sausage from Vic.
  • Catalan-style cod (with raisins and pine nuts)
  • Escalivada (various grilled vegetables)
  • Escudella (a stew with rice)
  • Ollada or "Putxero" (val.) (Meat and vegetable stew)
  • Esqueixada or "esgarrat"" (val.) (salted cod salad with tomato and onion)
  • Mongetes amb botifarra (beans and pork sausage)
  • Pa amb tomàquet (bread smeared with an olive oil, garlic and tomato sauce)
  • Tonyina en escabetx (tuna escabeche)
  • Suquet de peix (a seafood casserole)
  • Savoury Coca (pastry)
  • "Sea and mountain" dishes (a generic term for meat and fish dishes)
  • Embotits, a generic name for different kinds of cured pork meat, including Fuet (a characteristic type of dried sausage) and Salchichón or Llonganissa (salami).
  • Calçots (specially cultivated onions, grilled and served as a "Calçotada")
  • Cargols a la llauna (cooked snails)

Sauces and condiments

Calçots with Romesco sauce for dipping
  • Allioli, a thick sauce made of garlic and olive oil, used with grilled meats or vegetables, and some dishes. Allioli means garlic (all) and (i) oil (oli) in Catalan language.
  • Samfaina, also called tomacat or pebrots amb tomàquet. It's a variety of Occitan ratatouille or Spanish Pisto.
  • Salvitxada (made from almonds, hazelnuts, garlic, bread, vinegar, tomatoes, olive oil and dried red peppers) from Valls.
  • Xató, a variety of Salvitxada without tomatoes.

Sweets and desserts

A crema catalana
A xuixo
A tray of panellets, as they are typically served
  • Crema catalana, the famous yellow cream made with yolks, milk and sugar; which denseness is between a crème pâtissière ou natillas and a flan; used to stuff a great amount of pastries, or to make simple desserts with, for example, fruit, and that we also eat in a small flat pottery plate, after covering the cream with white crystal sugar and burning it, in order to create a layer of solid sugar that we have to break with a little spoon before to reach the cream.
  • Mató de Pedralbes or mató de monja is another kind of Catalan cream, similar to crema catalana, originated in Barcelona.
  • Menjablanc or menjar blanc is typical of Tarragona but eaten over Catalonia, is a kind of white cream made with almonds, of which we obtain fist a sort of milk, and after we make with this a cream which will be eaten with a small spoon.
  • Peres de LLeida is a typical dessert originated in Lleida composed by peeled poires cooked in a kind of lighter crema catalana and served cold, covered by meringue and decorated with cherries.
  • Xuixos are fried pastries created in Girona and stuffed with crema catalana.
  • Mel i mató, a dessert of mató cheese with honey
  • Pastissets, or casquetes, de cabell d'àngel are sweet half-cercle shaped pastries stuffed with cabell d'àngel (a sort of marrow jam) and covered with white cristal sugar which are eaten at coffee time
  • Carquinyolis are little almond crunchy biscuits often eaten at coffee time.
  • Catànies are Catalan marcona almonds covered by white chocolate and powdered black chocolate to eat with the coffee.
  • Pets de monja are small nipple-shaped and sized biscuits also eaten at coffee time. At first they were called pits de monja (nun's nipples) but time has changed their name to current pits de monja (nun's farts).
  • Sweet coques were at first eaten only in holydays. Catalans have at least on type of traditional coca for each holyday and feast day of the year.
  • Orelletes are thin fried pastries covered with sugar and eaten in carnival. They also exists in near régions in Spain or France.
  • Sweet bunyols as bunyols de vent, bunyols stuffed with crema catalana or bunyols de l'Empordà are typically done and eaten on Wednesdays and Fridays during lent.
  • Mona de Pasqua is a pastry richly couvered with almonds, yolk jam, chocolate eggs (or currently big chocolate sculptures) and coloured decoration that godfather and godmother give as a present, every year, to their godchildren in Easter (Pasqua). It is a very old tradition that existed before Christianism and which marked the impasse from childness to the adult's world. At fist, it has one egg for each year of children's age and that stopped at twelve, as at thirteen they were no more considered children.
  • Panellets are small pastries made of pine nuts, almonds and sugar with different shapes and flaveurs, eaten during la Castanyada, that Catalans celebrate on 1 November instead of Halloween. Their origine is juif, before the Middle Ages, but the tradition of castanyada is very much older.
  • Tortell, also called torta or roscó in northern and southern dialects. It is rond, it can be made of puff pastry or a mixture similar as lionesas and palos, stuffed with trufa (a mixture of cacao, chocolate and cream) or with crema catalana. It is typically bought and eaten after Sunday's lunch, in family or with friends. It is also typical, as an alternative, the braç de gitano, that in Catalonia is always covered with yolk jam.
  • A specific tortell is in fact a special coca that Catalan only eat the day of the Three Kings (6 January) which is called "tortell de reis", or galeta de reis in French Catalonia, a typical ring-shaped pastry stuffed with marzipan or Catalan cream (crema catalana) and topped with glazed fruit and nuts.
  • Torró, a Christmas sweet made with almonds with DAO of Alicante, Xixona (Alicante) and Agramunt (Lleida).
  • Neules are also eaten on Christmas in Catalonia. They are dipped in cava (Catalan champagne). They have the same origin as Waffles and Belgian Goffres.

Wines

There are 11 Catalan wine-growing regions qualified by the INCAVI (The Catalan Institute of Wine): Priorat, Penedès, Catalunya, Costers del Segre, Conca de Barberà, Montsant, Alella, Tarragona, Empordà-Costa Brava, Pla del Bages and Terra Alta.

The sparkling wine cava, made mainly in the Penedès and Anoia regions, is the Catalan equivalent to champagne. It is widely exported.

"Moscatell" (Empordà), is a sweet Catalan wine which have similar varieties in other countries as France, Italy, Portugal, Albania, Slovenia, Greece, Rumania, Turkey, other regions of Spain, etc. However, Catalan moscatell is thicker than French muscat and not drunk before eaten -in the aperitiu- but after, with or after dessert.

Chefs and restaurants

Ferran Adrià is the head chef of El Bulli

Catalan cooks and chefs are widely renowned and critically acclaimed all over the world. Two of the five best restaurants in the world are in Catalonia, and four restaurants have three Michelin stars. Barcelona has nine Michelin stars as an and has been chosen as the best gastronomical city by the American tv network MSNBC in 2009, topping the list of the ten best gastronomical cities in the world. It is also fairly inexpensive. One can typically order a complete, luxurious meal for 7€-10€ in a restaurant or bar. Smaller restaurants and street food stalls are even less expensive.

See also

Bibliography

  • ANDREWS, Colman, Catalan Cuisine Harvard Common Press, 2006 ISBN 1558323295
  • FÀBREGA i COLOM, Jaume, Traditional Catalan Cooking Edicions de La Magrana, 1997, ISBN 8474109647 ISBN 9788474109641
  • LLADONOSA i GIRÓ, Josep, The Book of Catalan Kitchen Alianza Editorial, 2007, ISBN 84-206-0354-6

Notes

External links

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