30 Aug What to eat in Barcelona: 12 typical Catalan dishes
One of the main attractions of Barcelona is to enjoy the richness and variety of the Catalan cuisine. If you are going to visit the city and want to discover the authentic local food, we offer you a guide with the 12 most typical dishes of the Catalan gastronomy.
Tasty Catalan food that you should definitely try
1. Pà amb tomàquet (“Bread with tomato”)
We start with one of the most traditional, simple and famous dishes of Catalan food, pa amb tomàquet (“bread with tomato”).
The bread slices, toasted or not, are rubbed with mature tomatoes, with salt and a dash of olive oil. It can be eaten alone or with cold meats, roasted vegetables, marinated fish or any other treat you can think of. The most typical bread to prepare a good pà amb tomàquet is the pagès bread, a variation of the rustic bread typical of the rural villages of Catalonia.
Calçots are a variety of sweet onion that are grown in Catalonia in a very special way, covering it several times with soil to make it grow long and acquire its particular flavour.
They are cooked directly on the fire until the outer layer is burnt, remaining tender and tasty inside. They are usually dipped in romescu sauce (made with tomato, pepper, almonds, garlic and olive oil) and are ideal to serve with grilled meats.
3. Butifarra amb mongetes (“Sausage with beans”)
Its main ingredient is a typical Catalan pork sausage that is served with white beans (mongetes) sautéed with the oil from the sausage itself.
A dish as simple as exquisite that became popular in Catalonia in the home-cooked and popular restaurants of the 19th century.
Fricandó is a stew of veal fillets that are softly cooked in a sauce made with mushrooms and vegetables, topped with a chopped garlic, almonds and parsley. It is usually accompanied by mushrooms typical of the area such as moixernons, cama-secs, ceps, gírgoles or rovellons.
5. Escudella i carn d’olla
The spoon dishes are the stars of the Catalan cuisine and the escudella is the recipe par excellence to spend the winter. A vegetable broth is boiled for its preparation and mixed with a characteristic paste called galets, to which a large meatball (the pilota) similar to a rugby ball is added. The result is a stew as consistent as it is tasty that you can’t miss on your visit to Barcelona.
6. Esqueixada de bacallà
This fresh and light starter is prepared with shredded Salt Cod (“esqueixar” means “to shred” in Catalan), tomato, onion, roasted pepper, olives and a dressing based on olive oil, vinegar and salt.
If you also add white beans you get the empedrat, a cold salad ideal to enjoy in summer.
7. El suquet de peix
If there is something that is very Mediterranean and that really identifies Catalan gastronomy, it’ s fish and seafood. The “suquet de peix” is a typical seafood dish that can be prepared with different kinds of fish (usually monkfish or hake) served with clams, prawns, crayfish, mussels and a saffron sauce that usually gets an orange colour, delicious!
A typical recipe from Catalan and Valencian cuisine, this stew is very similar to ratatouille. It is prepared with diced eggplant and zucchini fried on a base of garlic, onion and grated tomato. All this sprinkled with extra virgin olive oil. In some parts of the country, there is also green and red pepper and fresh herbs such as thyme and rosemary.
The escalivada is one of the most emblematic starters in Catalan cuisine. It is prepared with a mixture of aubergines, onions and red peppers roasted in the oven, peeled and cut into very thin strips. Dress with olive oil and salt. It is often served with toasted rustic bread and anchovies.
Typical desserts of Catalan gastronomy
10. Crema catalana
It is the most popular dessert in Catalan cuisine. This tasty cream, similar to custard, is composed of a soft cream made from egg yolks that is covered with a caramelized sugar glaze that adds a crunchy contrast.
11. Mel i mató
Another typical Catalan dessert in which the main ingredient is mató, a kind of fresh cheese of medieval origin made with goat’s or sheep’s milk. It is usually served with honey and walnuts.
Although in the common English-speaking countries Halloween is usually celebrated on October 31st, in Catalonia the most popular autumn festival is La Castanyada.
During this celebration it is usual to taste roasted chestnuts, moniatoes, candied fruit and panellets, a kind of sweets made with a dough made with sugar, crushed raw almonds, egg and potato or moniato. Traditional panellets are covered with toasted pine nuts, but you can find them in coffee, chocolate, coconut or other flavors.
You can taste these typical dishes and many more in some of the best restaurants of Catalan cuisine. If you have any questions or would like more information, please do not hesitate to ask the hotel staff, we will be happy to help you!