I have to admit to being astounded by food that took my taste-buds on a roller-coaster of a gastronomic journey in Costa Brava. They’ve been treated to a luxurious ride that has spoiled them rotten and made them dismissive of what they consider the mediocre morsels that have come their way since my return. The fact that I was astounded might sound like a naïve thing to say considering that Costa Brava is home to the 2nd best restaurant on the planet, El Celler de Can Roca, as well as arguably the world’s greatest chef Ferran Adriá, owner of El Bulli restaurant.
Whilst I’d expected (but in no way coming remotely close to imagining the reality) that offerings from these two revered gastronomic shrines would be creative to the point of being surreal (this is Dalí’s land after all) what I didn’t expect was that this flair for originality and wildly imaginative cooking would extend to restaurants throughout Costa Brava.
However, everywhere I travelled in Costa Brava I was confronted by dishes that clearly had their roots in traditional Catalonian cuisine yet also often exhibited a personality that suggested their creators had artistic aspirations beyond simply serving good, healthy Mediterranean influenced cuisine.
My very modern and über-stylish tapas book suggests that Ferran Adriá is the inspiration for ‘upping the bar’ regarding gastronomy in the region. I have literally only experienced a heady taster of Costa Brava’s delicious cultural and gastronomic delights, but people I met there suggested another possible explanation; the Tramontana. The Tramotana is a wind charged with electricity that some claims not only inspires but also makes local people slightly mad…in a nice artistic way.
Whatever the explanation, the upshot is that the cuisine in Costa Brava is a revelation. Here are some examples of delectable dishes I met along the Costa Brava way.