Catalonia is an agriculture and gastronomic power. Some of its chefs and restaurants are awarded top world distinctions. In addition, the diverse geography and climates, combining mountains, hills, forests, planes, river deltas and seashores, give Catalonia privileged natural conditions when it comes to food variety. Catalonia's agri-food industry profits from these assets and offers a wide and rich variety of quality products.
‘Tots Sants’ or All Saints Day is celebrated in Catalonia with the traditional panellets, a small sweet made of marzipan pastry and coated with different ingredients available at every bakery in every Catalan town. Together with grilled chestnuts and sweet potatoes, the elaboration of the panallets points out the definitive arrival of autumn.
The Catalan chef Santi Santamaria, whose restaurant ‘Can Fabes’ has been awarded three Michelin stars uninterruptedly since 1994, died last February in Singapore, when he was unveiling his new restaurant ‘Santi’. At the time, Santi Santamaria had 7 Michelin stars, being one of the most lauded chefs in the world. Regina Santamaria, aged 25, will follow in her father’s footsteps and take charge of the four restaurants the family has in Sant Celoni (half way between Barcelona and Girona), Barcelona, Madrid and Singapore.
The former mayor of Llívia, Josep Pous, has left politics and dedicated himself to artisan beer with his microbrewery. Lybica is the first artisan beer produced in the Cerdanya county, in the Pyrenees. It joins the boom of artisan beers in Catalonia.
The project ‘Cultures Trobades’ has already avoided the extinction of 300 varieties of seeds, 50 ancient vineyards and the last living specimens of the Catalan goats. The initiative aims to preserve traditional Catalan agriculture, "the country's cultural heritage."
The company, that processes 1.2 million hams, is the first Catalan meat factory authorized to sell in the United States. As from next year, Pernils Llémena will start exporting to California and New York.
Despite the scientific analysis that proves the innocence of Spanish field products, the demand for vegetables and fruit, not only cucumbers, has harshly hit agriculture throughout Spain. Catalan farmers are also heavily affected, as well as fresh food shopkeepers. Farmers have to drop prices or even destroy the product as demand has plummeted, especially regarding exports. Thousands of tones of oranges are in stock in the Delta de l’Ebre and may rot if demand does not recover soon.
The five top students of Harvard University course ‘Cuisine and Science’ are spending three weeks in the Fundació Alícia, a reference and unique centre exploring the link between food, health and innovation. The course is organised by Ferran Adrià and the Fundació Alícia, which is co-directed by the world-known chef. The prestigious American university will offer this course for at least the next five years.
The family company Mallafré has captivated International attention and recognition with its gourmet olive oils, flavoured with thyme, rosemary, garlic, coffee or tangerine, among other ingredients. 70% of the production is exported, mainly to France, Germany and Italy, but also to Japan where Mallafré’s ginger flavoured olive oil is a major success.
Ferran Adrià has been considered for many years as the best chef in the world and his restaurant El Bulli, the world’s best restaurant. Together with Lisa Abend, ‘Time’ magazine’s Spain correspondent explained a movie project based on Abend’s book ‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentices’. The movie will show the experience of young cooks in El Bulli.
The prestigious red guide will add three Barcelona restaurant hotels to its 2011 edition. Paco Pérez’s Miramar Restaurant was awarded its 2nd Michelin star. The 4 3-star restaurants keep all their stars.