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Spanish and Catalan cuisine

Common Catalan Dishes

Written by Laura

The culinary offering in any tourist destination is always one of the most highly-anticipated elements of a city, and an especially dynamic and delicious offering awaits in Barcelona. Visitors to the Ciudad Condal are not left disappointed when it comes to the culinary scene, with visitors on average devoting around 30% of their budget to food. Once you’re set up in a hotel or touristic apartment and can enjoy the wide array of entertainment and sightseeing opportunities in the city, your next step is to head somewhere you can enjoy authentic Catalan food. Today from ShBarcelona, we want to present you with the array of mouthwatering and varied foods to be found on the traditional Catalan menu.

Related article: The Best Catalan Cuisine

Enjoy the delicacies of the Catalan kitchen

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Olive oil is the most highly utilized oil for cooking in Catalonia, with the rest of the ingredients including Mediterranean-style orchard and crop produce as well as local fish and meat. “Bolets” or mushrooms, for example, are a beloved ingredient used frequently in the Catalan kitchen, so you’re sure to find them in a number of traditional dishes. Among the different bean stews is “botifarra amb mongetes” (a white bean stew with Catalan pork sausage), the “faves a la catalana” (springy bean casserole with garlic, onions, beans, bacon, black sausage and herbs, sometimes with mushrooms or other stuffing), and lastly the “escudella i carn d’olla”, made with garbanzo beans, poultry, veal and pork, beans, vegetables and other produce, pasta and the “pilota”, a stuffing made of minced meat, bacon, egg, garlic and parsley. Among the meat dishes are the “fricandó” (very fine beef fillet stewed with mushrooms) and the “galtes al forn” (baked pork cheeks accompanied with vegetables and potatoes). The “caragols a la llauna” are earth snails grilled or baked in a tin container, accompanied with aioli or vinaigrette. The most famous rice dish in Barcelona is the “arròs Parellada”, a paella or casserole with seafood such as boneless and unshelled fish. In Sevilla, this dish is called “paella del señorito”.

Related article: Contemporary Catalan Restaurants

Photo by surfzone™ via VisualHunt

Among the fish preparations, there are a few highlights; “esqueixada de bacallá”, a salad with bacalao, olives, tomato, onion, pepper and boiled egg; “suquet de peix”, fish stew that generally includes rockfish and other seafood, onion, tomato, almonds, potatoes, garlic, bread and herbs. Be sure to try the seasonal fried sonsos, tiny fish similar to whitebait. When it comes to vegetables, it’s practically obligatory that you try “escalivada”, toasted bread with tomato covered in red pepper, eggplant and anchovies. “Calcots” are tender grilled onions eaten with romesco sauce or salvitxada, a calcots sauce. Another traditional food is “samfaina”, a vegetable stew similar to ratatouille, made with garlic, onion, tomato, eggplant, zucchini, pepper and herbs. One thing we’re still missing are the cocas (different types of cakes and breads, both savory and sweet) and desserts such as crema catalana, “mel i mató” (cottage cheese with honey), “panellets”, “pets de monja”, the delicious “menjar blanc” (cream made with almond milk, rice or corn starch, lemon, cinnamon and sugar).

What typical Catalan dish do you prefer?

About the author


American journalist living temporarily in Spain. Her passions include news and feature writing, Spanish language and culture and the outdoors.

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