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Spanish and Catalan cuisine

Catalan Cuisine Curiosities

crema catalana dessert
Written by Daniella

Catalan cuisine is one of the most admired cuisines in Spain and well-known all over the world. Typical Catalan food encompasses the highly valued Mediterranean diet, and it is one of the tastiest cuisines, combining ingredients from both land and sea.

If you are staying in your tourist accommodation in Catalonia, wishing to learn more about Catalan gastronomy, don’t miss this article by ShBarcelona. Today we will tell you more on a few culinary curiosities from this autonomous region.

Related article: Common Catalan Dishes

Discover unknown Catalan cuisine

Extremadura ham and pà amb tomàquet

pan con tomate, 4 slices of toast with tomato

Photo by verchmarco via Visualhunt

Two items from the Extremadura and Catalonia combine extremely well: pà amb tomàquet (bread rubbed with ripe tomato) and pernil (ham). The bread, either toasted or not, is probably the most well-known Catalan dish, and it is delicious.

Some say that the Extremadura ham is actually the best Spanish ham available. When you visit the Extremadura, more specific a part in the Badajoz province, and go for breakfast in a bar there, it is good to know that a typical breakfast is “the Catalan” breakfast, consisting of bread with tomato (Catalan recipe) and ham (the lovely Extremadura ham). The advantage of being in the Extremadura is that you will almost certainly get Iberian ham on your plate.

The extraordinary history of Crema catalana

Crema catalana, or Catalan cream, is one of the most typical Catalan desserts. There are many rumours about the origin of this dessert, although they believe it was invented by nuns from an 18th century Catalan convent.

Apparently the nuns had to prepare dinner for an important bishop, and the flan that they had prepared earlier had not yet curdled, so they decided to serve it without curdling and added burnt sugar on top as a special touch.

Traditionally this dessert was eaten on Sundays and public holidays, accompanying cocas. Día de Sant Josep, on March 19, was a special day for eating Crema catalana, but unfortunately this tradition is no longer alive.

This dessert is mentioned repeatedly in the works of Josep Pla and poet Miquel Martí i Pol.

Related article: The Best Vichyssoise Recipe

Winter dish Escudella i carn d’olla

escudella or carn d'olla catalan food

Photo by JaulaDeArdilla via Visualhunt

Escudella i carn d’olla (or in short escudella) is more considered a winter dish, as it mainly consists of soup with high calorie ingredients. For a long time, however, escudella was eaten throughout the whole year, because in summer it would replenish the body when nutrients were lost through (heavy) sweating.

Some experts say that they already ate escudella in the fourteenth century, and they used bread to dip in the broth. This tradition lasted up until the twentieth century, and some older people still even do it now.

Sharing habits with Occitan gastronomy, it was customary to add a little wine to the last few spoonfuls of soup, and one would then mix it all together before finishing the dish.

Towns in Urgell and Andorra traditionally made calderadas for San Antonio Abad, which meant they filled big pots with escudella, making it possible for everyone in the village to take a portion home.

*Main photo by katherineprice via Visualhunt

What typical Catalan dish do you like?

About the author


Daniella enjoys everything the city of Barcelona has to offer. She writes, translates and loves discovering Catalonia and its beautiful nature.

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