Discovering the Catalan dishes and landscape that inspired Gaudi, Picasso, Miro and Casals.
I’m holding a large loaf that I’ve just hollowed out, it’s now filled with herring, roasted tomatoes and garlic and a very great deal of olive oil.
Biting into it I temporarily lose sight of the beautiful convent at the foot of the mountain across the fields from the village of Horta de Sant Joan in Catalunya.
Bread completely fills my vision and olive oil runs down my sleeves. Now this is what I call a sandwich. Continue reading
Up in the Terra Alta in Northern Spain, they have an almost religious reverence for white Grenache and a building to prove it. I cycle the Greenway to discover more
Sunset over the mountains
‘I’m not much of a cyclist,’ I tell the man fitting me out with my bike and helmet. To be honest, and I keep this to myself, the last time I rode a bike it had gears labelled Sturmey Archer and my short trousers had name labels.
‘That’s okay,’ he replies, ‘it’s all downhill from here.’ ‘Story of my life’, I think, as I try to get onto the saddle in a dignified manner. I fail and the bike shoots backwards and I make contact with the crossbar in a painful way.
The old railway station
We’re at the Horta de Sant Joan train station in the Terra Alta Tarragona province in Catalonia, or Catalunya if you wish to be politically more (or less) correct.
It’s a small and very pretty town on a hill, inhabited for many, many centuries, and also a place where Picasso used to hang out.
There was once a single-track railway line that ran up to here created by republican prisoners of the war in 1942. Continue reading
The eco-conscious Ebre Delta in Tarragona is unlike any other part of Spain. I took a few days to explore the rice, the food, the wine and even the sake.
Paella is taken very seriously in the paddy fields
‘In a few square kilometres, I can find everything I need to eat,’ says local legend Senor Polet, as his friend stirs an enormous paella in the kitchen.
Outside the ancient house, a barraca style that’s typical of the area, the paddyfields of the Ebre Delta stretch away, stopping only at the base of the distant mountains in one direction and the nearby Mediterranean sea in the other. Continue reading