Introduction

Introduction

By
Jose Pizarro
Contains
0 recipes
Published by
Hardie Grant Books
ISBN
9781784881160
Photographer
Laura Edwards

Catalonia is really beautiful. I have visited so many times over the years and one thing I know for sure is the more I go, the more I love this place and the people. Doing research for this book has allowed me to become more and more familiar with the particular diversity and richness of the animals on the land, the stunning produce in the sea, and the wonderful birds in the air. I want to share with you here in my book some of the region’s gastronomic treasures because they are culinary gems, and food, a€er all, is all about sharing.

I have travelled from Roses in Girona, to Balaguer in Lleida, from Vilafranca del Penedès in Barcelona, to Sant Carles de la Ràpita in Tarragona. My trips have been about visiting old friends, as well as meeting new people and making new friends, all of whom gladly opened their homes and their hearts to us. I’ve been discovering and learning about the cities, towns and villages while uncovering some amazing culinary secrets (not all disclosed, of course!). Catalonia has a fascinating history that includes political and social struggles to hold on to a unique identity, and a rich culture and heritage. I was inspired to learn that o€en the most challenging times seemed to strengthen their resolve, and make their cultural heritage even more important and more dearly cherished. Catalonia is a place where visitors o€en describe feeling ‘at home’. It’s a very welcoming place.

In this book, I really hope to have captured something of the essential flavours found in the gastronomy of Catalonia; and, when you try some of the recipes, my wish is that you will also share in the enjoyment of dishes that, for me, reflect the heart of both traditional and contemporary Catalan cuisine.

Something I love is that, in their cooking, the people of Catalonia have never lost their culinary roots – sometimes aspects of recipes or methods stretch as far back as medieval times. There are many stunning dishes that bring together dried fruit and meat, a mix of meat and seafood, and the clever use of spices in different ways. In Catalan cuisine, there’s o€en a healthy nod to history, and this I really love – in the food, we see that the people are so proud of their heritage and cultural identity and love who they are and where they’re from. When you try some of the dishes in my book, I hope you too will get a sense of the creativity that has been passed down from generation to generation. In this way, food really fascinates me – it’s like a wonderful way of encoding and capturing history and culture on a plate, and offering these handed-down recipes to others, trusting the cooks and the consumers to experience something of the labour of culinary love they also received.

In this book, I bring together a variety of old and new recipes based on my discovery of some fabulous ingredients from some of the most beautiful crystal-clear waters and lush green mountains. I want you to feel how I feel in Catalonia, inspired by the great people and stunning places. My food adventures have been such a privilege and a pleasure, and I’ve loved every minute of it. I sincerely hope you will enjoy this book too.

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