Catalonia, Where Eating is Culture: Tasting Event of The Territory

Catalunya, On El Menjar És Culture translates to Catalonia, Where Eating is Culture. Perhaps it is the phrase that best describes Catalonia. It is a gastronomic paradise that has conjured a richness in its cuisine with the integration of heritage tradition, terroir and ultimately, creativity of its illustrious chefs. Barcelona, Catalonia’s capital, boasts 22 Michelin-starred restaurants and other 25 restaurants across the entire province of Barcelona. There is the inclination to fine-dining culture and innovation based on Catalonia’s ancestral gastronomic heritage.

Catalan gastronomy is based on the fundamentals of giving value to the locally sourced produce which respect the fundamentality of seasonality. It is one of the fortunate territories that has a wealth of natural landscapes of sea, mountains, and forests among cultivated lands. And from the plethora of local produce, there are the traditional recipes that make up Catalonia’s identity such as Escalivada which are the grilled vegetables served with olive oil; Calcots which are a type of long-stemmed green onions char-grilled then dipped in romesco sauce; or the Pa Amb Tomàquet which are toasted country bread scraped with garlic and topped with fresh tomatoes and olive oil.

In the occasion of promoting the culture of food and wine of Catalonia, the Delegato del Governo della Catalogna in Italia (Delegate of the Government of Catalonia in Italy) Luca Bellizzi and his staff, in collaboration with the Institut Ramon Llull and Prodeca, held a series of activities at the Orto Botanico di Roma (Botanical Garden of Rome) and the Ottimomassimo bookshop for the professionals in the gastronomic sector.

Catalonia was presented with its variation of scents and flavors, creating a true encounter of cultures: presented wholly for the first time in Rome as it was welcomed warmly with the Italian hospitality. The event was inaugurated by a first meeting which was focused on children of school age with the writer Núria Parera and with a graphic laboratory at the Ottimomassimo bookshop. Afterwards the program continued with an event reserved for professionals of the food and wine sector in which six Catalan wines produced in purity from indigenous vines of the territory were tasted in combination with some typical gastronomic products. The guided wine tasting was led by wine expert Marco Cum, owner of Riserva Grande Agency and Delegate of the Roman branch of the Scuola di Sommellerie Europea, alongside Giovanna Peracchia, an Italian chef and culinary teacher living and working in Barcelona, who recounted the story of the typical Catalan gastronomy.

The featured wines were obtained from native grapes of Catalonia, 3 of which are white and the other 3 are red:

Oller del Mas Bernat 2020 obtained from 100% Picapoll grapes at the DO Pla de Bages (Denominación de Origen), in which 50% are Picapoll Blanc and the other 50% are of the black variety Picapoll Negre vinified in white. Fermentation took places in barrique. In the glass it presents a crispy and decided personality of mature yellow fruit aromas of apricots and peaches, crushed stones and floral hint that carries on, while in the palate it reflects the aromas, lingering acidity, elegant and persistent.

Albet I Noya El Fanio 2020 obtained from Xarel-lo grapes obtained from the highest and 80-year old vines at the DO Penedès. Fermented in stainless steel at a controlled temperature and aged in two containers: 80% in egg-shaped concrete vats to allow natural micro-oxygenation and the remaining 20% in large acacia barrels. Nutty and mineral nose with creaminess in the palate, with a note of quince jam and medium acidity.

Altavins Viticultors Ilercavònia 2021 obtained from Garnatxa Blanca at the DO Terra Alta. An aromatic floral nose with the prevalence of honeysuckle, crispy green apple, pear and a hint of fennel while in the palate it opens to clean flavors of citrus and crispiness with a delicate bitter note, ending with warmth and persistence.

Cellar Carles Andreu Trepat 2019 obtained from Trepat grapes at the DO Conca de Barberà. The grapes were harvested from two crus, in a span of two days after a slight overripening then matured in French barrique for six months. Vibrant ruby red in color with an intense nose, hinting on saltiness, potpourri, red fruit jam, and dried sweet spices as the mouth rewards smoothness, elegance and persistence.

Vinyes Domènech Furvus 2020 obtained from 90% Garnatxa Negra and 10% Merlot at the DO Montsant. Separate fermentation in stainless steel tanks and aged in tonneau for 12 months. Bright ruby red color with a complex and intense nose of sour cherries, ripe red plums, black berries and slight hint of pepper. The mouthfeel is creamy, round, with the prominent fruitiness that corresponds with the nose, lively acidity, thin bitterness, integrated tannins and long finish.

Vinyes d’Olivardots VD’O 1.15 obtained from Carinyena grapes at the DO Empordà. Made with the best grapes harvested from two old vineyards of 50 to 70-years old at 200 meters asl. Long maceration and fermentation at a controlled temperature. Aged in French oak barrels for 16 months. Full ruby red in color with an intense and complexity in the nose of sour cherries, mature black plums, leather, wood, stones, and balsamic notes while on the palate it shows its fruity and lively character, silky tannins, vibrant acidity and persistence.

The gastronomic products served with the wines were:
Serrat cheese by Serra del Tormo; Garrotxa cheese by Bauma; Tupí cheese by Ancosa; Maquia cheese by Segalla; and Betara cheese by Salgot. All cured meats are by Salgot. Olivada by Mar Tret; and Olirium, a blend of Arbequina and Argudell cultivars which won the gold medal at the NYIOOC 2020, one of the most prestigious oil competitions in the world. Salted anchovies by Anxoves de L’Escala; Pan de Pagés Catalano IGP by Cal Mosso Bakery, which won the best Pan de Pagés in 2021; marmalades of Museu de la Confitura; hazelnut IGP by L’ Avellanera; nuts by Finca La Noguera; chocolate almonds by Bombons Blasi, makers of bombons since 1877; Agramunt nougat by Viçens; carquinyolis by Escafet; and neules les delicies
by Sant Tirs.

The night ended with the concert of Catalan rumba performed by Muchacho Y Los Sobrinos. The Catalan rumba is a musical genre developed between the 1950s to 1960s characteristic of the Romani community of Barcelona that blends the rhythms of the Andalusian flamenco rumba with Cuban arias and rock and roll. The music is cheerful and carefree and uses vocalists, hand claps, guitar, bongos, and güiro. Some also incorporate timbales, conga drums, small percussion instruments, piano, wind instruments, electric bass, and electric keyboard.

Generalitat de Catalunya

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