Costa Brava: the land where Ferran Adrià and Joan Roca reinvented world cuisine.
Girona's cuisine is not the result of chance. It is not a recent invention product of the success, the ingenuity and the capacity of innovation of contemporary personages, but it has a past, and very powerful. It contains an Iberian, Phoenician, Greek, Roman, Arab, Jewish ... and, currently, Asian, African and American legacy. Catalan cuisine - and the Girona one - is heiress of all the Mediterranean cuisines and, today, also a miscellany of the kitchens of the world.
The demarcation of Girona is at the moment, in the beginnings of the XXI century, one of the main world regions of pilgrimage to try food and wine. It could be affirmed that the great creative center and issuer of the culinary vanguard is in the Costa Brava. As previously it was center of the surrealism, with the genius of Salvador Dalí. The power of innovation and the genius of El Bulli cuisine previously influenced the Catalan cooks, later the Spanish, then the Europeans and, finally, the whole world. And now, El Bulli decides to reinvent itself with the Bulli foundation, which will materialize in 2018 with the aim of perpetuating the legacy of Ferran Adrià. The outcrop of La Masia, the creative laboratory of the Roca brothers, contributes to sustain the leadership in technological innovation in the kitchen.
The key to a great cuisine is the immediate raw material. And the regions of Girona are framed in a region favored by nature, compendium of sea, plain and mountain, from where you get high quality products such as L'Escala anchovy; the shrimp of Palamós, Roses and Blanes; the veal of the Pyrenees; the apple of Girona; the wines of the Appellation of Origin Empordà; Santa Pau beans, as well as the sausages, cheeses, oils ... Some of these Agri-food products have been awarded with the Girona Excellece label.
At Girona there has always been good cuisine and, since some time ago, also good wines. Although the region has a millennial tradition in the elaboration of wine, the wineries have begun to reborn and to prosper since few decades ago. On this way, to carry out a wine route by the Costa Brava, following the proposals of the Route of the Wine Appellation of Origin Empordà, is a trip to discover the world of the Empordà wine and its territory. With an extension of 2,000 hectares of vineyard that groups 330 winegrowers and 50 wine cellars, 26 of them, visitable, is deepened in the universe of wine, "terroir", "tramontana" and peasantry. Few mosaics like those that form the Ampurdán can be the base of varieties with so authentic and differentiated flovors that deserve to be known and tried practicing the wine tourism.
But such a relevant cuisine would not have been possible without a historical background, without first-class products, without the definition of a proper recipe book, nor, without the cooperation between restaurateurs. The Girona demarcation has more than 2,000 restaurants that offer not only food but also a pleasant and memorable gastronomic experience, as well as a network of public markets where product quality is the most important, and this is reflected in dealing with the producer. Up to 10 groups of restaurateurs, scattered in the territory, are dedicated to promoting local cuisine working with the binomial territory and product.
It is a territory of UN ambassadors and Michelin stars. In early 2015, the UN nominated the Roca brothers goodwill ambassadors for the fight against hunger and poverty. This institution has looked at the makers of the second best restaurant in the world 2016 - according to the prestigious British magazine Restaurant Magazine - because they defend local products, use food practices that protect the environment and promote a healthy diet. Soon, the brothers Roca will put into operation a foundation with the aim of canalize social projects and innovation in the field of food.
In terms of star territory, with 14 restaurants that have 18 Michelin stars, among which stand out: The Celler de Can Roca in Girona, the Roca brothers, with three stars and declared the best restaurant in the world in 2013 and in 2015 by Restaurant Magazine; The restaurant Miramar de Llançà, Paco Pérez, the chef who has more stars, up to five, and Les Cols in Olot, Fina Puigdevall, with two stars, the highest exponent of the Volcanic Kitchen of the Garrotxa. And thanks to the excellence of the Celler de Can Roca, its chef Joan Roca, recently named the best chef in the world 2016, emerges. However, the Girona region is the region of the world with more Michelin stars per capita and on 23tr November will host the celebration of the Michelin Guide Gala 2016.
There are many books, recipes, documents that group the culinary corpus of Catalan cuisine, among which we can highlight the Llibre de Sent Soví, the medieval recipe book written in Catalan and considered one of the oldest in Europe. Personalities and figures such as the writer Josep Pla, the journalist Manuel Vázquez Montalbán or different gastronomic critics have contributed with their task to project and elevate the Girona gastronomy to literary strata.
During the different seasons of the year, seasonal products are made known in campaigns and gastronomic journeys such as the rock fish, the garoinada, the suquet, the Norway lobster, the rice, the hunting and the mushroom journey. And at fairs such as the cherry, the ratafia ... The pride of the producer is celebrated by collecting the fruit of his effort, which is honored by sharing it with the most enthusiastic visitors and fans.
Sea and mountain is the flagship of Girona cuisine, the fusion of territory with a way of doing and being. A cuisine that has substance and identity, a way of eating and drinking that is also a way of life and that extends between the visitors to give way to a tourist product.
Unquantifiable are the sybarite routes that can be carried out in the Costa Brava and the Pyrenees of Girona throughout the year, with different themes, rhythms and duration; These are individual routes, custom made or organized by specialized companies that combine gastronomy, nature and culture to offer a memorable enogastronomic activity.
After Catalan cuisine is the history of a country, a territory and an idiosyncrasy. For this reason, a candidature has been presented to Unesco in order to be recognized as intangible world heritage and, meanwhile, Catalonia is designated as the European Region of Gastronomy 2016.