Cristina Reyes - 2012-09-27
Ferran Adrià is well known in the world of Catalan cuisine for being the father of molecular gastronomy and as chef of the renowned El Bulli. However Catalonia has another kind of gastronomy that’s age-old, traditional and populist, embodied in the “fondas" – the guest houses serving authentic "grandmother’s dishes."
Carles Gaig is one of several avant-garde chefs seeking to pay tribute to classic Catalan recipes. In his century-old family bistro Fonda Gaig located in the popular district of Horta, "grandmother’s dishes" revive the flavours of yesteryear to the delight of nostalgic customers. Here, local products bring out the best of Catalonia’s sea, mountains and fertile plains.
Every day, at the famous Boqueria market, the chef selects the finest local ingredients to compose a menu that varies with the seasons. Traditional meals such as cannelloni, veal fricandeau or bacalao a la llauna are transformed into outstanding dishes whose only concession to modernity is the sophisticated presentation.
Croquettes, macaroni, lobsters…
Originating from Girona and Catalan to the bone, Josep María Freixa holds high the banner of his local cuisine. The chef at Freixa Tradicio learned his craft in the family business, "hanging on to his grandmother’s skirts." Amongst his sources of inspiration is the 16th century essay on Renaissance period Catalan cuisine by Roberto de Nola: the Libre del Coch, a bestseller of the time.
Located in the chic Zona Alta of Barcelona, Josep María Freixa creates classical cuisine according to the rules and faithful to his Catalan heritage. In his restaurant simple croquettes or commonplace macaroni find their nobility and coexist happily alongside salt or freshwater lobsters, another of the region’s emblematic dishes.
Appreciated by Spaniards and foreigners alike, Catalan cuisine is a beautiful marriage of tradition and modernity. With the international influence of its chefs, epitomized by the iconic Ferran Adrià, chef of the three starred El Bulli restaurant, all eyes are now turning towards Catalonia, a region that fully embraces both its avant-garde ambitions and its gastronomic heritage.
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