While Costa Brava is a popular spot for many beach-going holiday travelers, food travelers should take note as the region is home to some of the best cuisine in the world. From a variety of protected local gastronomic products to some of the world’s top restaurants, Costa Brava is the ideal destination for the culinary traveler.
If you’re looking to experience some of Costa Brava’s cuisine, here are five of the best spots for food travelers.
Without a doubt, the city of Girona is Costa Brava’s culinary powerhouse. Girona is home to the current No. 1 restaurant in the World (according to S. Pellegrino’s World’s 50 Best list), El Celler de Can Roca, run by the three Roca Brothers who have helped put Girona on the foodie map. If you have hopes of snagging a reservation, you better plan more than 12 months in advance.
Jordi Roca, the talented pastry chef at El Celler de Can Roca, also opened one of the best gelaterias, which happens to be right in the heart of Girona as well. Rocambolesc gives you a look into the sweet side of El Celler de Can Roca with some gelato creations inspired by their famous desserts.
Costa Brava was once home to another number one restaurant in the world – the famed El Bulli. The world-renowned restaurant is no longer open, but if you head to the charming fishing village of Cadaques, you’ll find Compartir – owned by three of Chef Ferran Adria’s right hand people. Also stop by Bar Noi, home to El Bulli’s former bartender.
L’Escala is another fishing village in Costa Brava, and is renowned for its prized anchovies. There are several anchovy factories you can visit or try them in a local seafood restaurant. Springtime is a great time to visit L’Escala if you can catch the Aarels del Vi, an annual fair of high-end wines from the D.O. Emporda region.
Pals is home to the best rice in the region, which is used to produce a variety of local dishes. The history of rice in Pals dates back to at least the mid-1400’s. Pals rice is special, as the region’s microclimate helps the rice mature more slowly, with the grain remaining unbroken after cooking. Don’t miss the “arros a la cassola,” the traditional rice casserole of the region made with Pals rice. If you’re visiting in April and May, there is a rice festival where certain restaurants offer special dishes and menus built around Pals rice.
La Garrotxa is away from the coast, up in the Pyrenees. The region is a national volcanic park and the cuisine is reflective of that. The Medieval town of Besalu holds an annual Ratafia fair, celebrating the delicious walnut and herbal-based liqueur from the region. Olot is home to a number of markets, and Santa Pau is renowned for its white beans. The cuisine is so important in this region that a group of restaurants have formed the Volcanic Cuisine Group, which focuses on culinary traditions in the region.
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Erin is a travel and food writer who currently splits her time between the Netherlands and Belize. She's traveled to 60+ countries on 5 continents with a passion for culinary travel, luxury hotels, and all things Disney. Her writing has appeared in numerous online outlets including Gadling, BootsnAll, CNN, Art of Backpacking, TravBuddy, CBS, and more. She was the major author of Belize's official visitor magazine, Destination Belize 2013; wrote the official AFAR Guide to Belize; and is also AFAR Magazine's local Belize expert.. In addition to writing for other publications, Erin maintains several blogs, Our Tasty Travels, No Checked Bags, Pooh's Travels, and the brand new Caye To Belize. Follow Erin on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google Plus.
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