If you’re visiting Barcelona and interested in discovering the regional gastronomy, you probably want to learn more about the specific products that Catalonia is known for in the culinary scene. These typical Catalan products with the Designation of Origin are a great place to start exploring the delicious foods that Catalonia has to offer. They should be on everyone’s list of must-try foods while in Barcelona and make excellent souvenirs to take home from your trip.
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What is Designation of Origin (PDO)?
Designation of Origin (DO), also known as Protected Designation of Origin (PDO), is a mark of quaily given to certain products that certifies their origin from a particular area. These products are recognized by the European Union as being some of the very best quality of their kind. They’re always produced within the region of origin by traditional, local methods.
Several Catalan products carry the Protected Designation of Origin for their distinct quality and flavor. Here are some of the top Catalan products with PDO that you can’t miss in Barcelona.
Like in every Mediterranean region, olive oil plays a huge role in the cuisine of Catalonia and Spain as a whole. Catalonia is home five olive oils that have been given the Designation of Origin. Recognized for their distinctive flavors and aromas, these are a few of the top-quality extra virgin olive oils in the region. Look for the brands Les Garrigues, Siurana, Oli de Terra Alta, Oli del Baix Ebre-Montsià, and Oli de l’Empordà if you want to try some of Catalonia’s best olive oil or take some home as a gift or souvenir.
Along with olive oil, wine takes a top spot on Catalonia’s DO list. With a rich tradition of winemaking going back centuries, Catalonia produces about 25% of all Spanish wine and about half of that is cava, the sparkling wine that Catalonia is best known for. There are twelve wine regions producing wines that carry the Designation of Origin in Catalonia. They produce reds, whites, rosés, and, of course, cava. Just look for the DO label on the back of the bottle to know if a particular wine comes from one of these recognized vineyards.
If you want to learn more about Catalan wine, there are plenty of opportunities for tourists to visit vineyards near Barcelona, go on food and wine tours, or sign up for wine tastings in the city.
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Nothing compliments a glass of wine better than a high-quality cheese, and Catalonia has some delicious cheeses to choose from. Alt Urgell i la Cerdanya, a cows milk cheese produced int he Pyrenees, carries the Designation of Origin. This cheese is very creamy and takes about 45 days to mature. While this particular cheese is the only one from Catalonia to make the DO list, there are plenty of other delicious local cheeses to choose from.
The rice that’s specifically grown in the Ebro Delta region of Catalonia is another top product on the list of Catalan DOs. Rice production in the region goes all the way back to the 1600s. It’s still grown in traditional ways along the river where the unique climate of the region allows the rice to reach the ideal ripeness before harvesting, making it some of the highest quality rice for cooking. The region produces about 45 million kilos of rice annually in several internationally-recognized varieties.
Finally, the hazelnuts from the Tarragona region, specifically from Reus, have earned their place on the list of Catalan products with the Designation of Origin. The recognized hazelnuts are those that are cultivated locally using traditional methods including the Negreta, Gironella, Pauetet, and Culplana varieties. To be sure that you’re buying the special hazelnuts, look for the words “Avellana de Reus. Denominació d’Origen Protegida” on the label.
Catalonia’s gastronomy is unique and well recognized both in Spain and around the world. While these are just a few of the special Designation of Origin products from the region, the list of quality foods and dishes to try goes on and on. If you need a special souvenir or gift for the foodie in your life, however, start with these top-quality regional products.
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