CATALAN COOKING. THE CUISINE OF FERRAN ADRIÀ COUNTRY
Firstly: A cuisine is not defined solely by a collection of dishes- they are interchangeables with other cuisines- but by other more profound elements: techniques, products, specific sensorial values and a distinctive history.
NATIONAL CATALAN COOKERY
It exists a catalan cooking; its not the first in the world, certainly, but is one o de most important in the Mediterranean.
-It abundantly displays all these characteristics: is a genuine national cuisine, solidly constructed, with a traditional cooking and modern and famous cuisine of , for exemple, Santi Santamaria, Carme Ruscalleda, Joan Roca and Ferran Adrià, and so many more.
-Catalonia is the country of the architect Gaudí, the painter Dalí, the musicians Casals or Gerhard or Cugat,the opera singer Montserrat Caballé or the sportsman Pau Gasol.
Is not very well knwoun in general.-The american author Colman Andrews, says that this cuisine is “Europe`s last great culinary secret”.
Is situated betwenn France and Spain.
It is the mediterranean cooking of a nation proud of its Independence until the eighteenth century.
Its the cooking not only of the spanish Catalonia, but also of the french Catalonia (Roussillon), Valencia , Balearic Islands and Andorra.
Catalan cooking indeed has an important history, coinciding with the periode of Catalonia`s Independence and greatest political and commercial power, in the Middel Age; acording to the french historian Pierre Vilar asseveration, is one of de first nation-state in Europe.
We have one of the most varied cuisines: for working days, for celebrations, we use ingredients from the sea, the mountain, the garden, the sky, a little like the chinese cooking.
Since the thirteenth century, -just before the old english, the french and the italian, just after the arabic- catalan is a language of a brilliant repertory of books on cooking, confectionery, nutrition, ROYAL AND BURGEOISE etiquette, spirits, wines and even erotic recipes. In fact,the first Europe book of cooking is the catalan Libre de Sent Soví, whose author claimed to have cooked for the King of England. The Libre del coc of Mestre Robert, the chef of the King of Naples in the Quattrocento is a monumental explosion of catalan cooking in Catalonia and Italy. It ss ,in fact, the first printed book of cooking in Europe. Is the epoque when the Vatican was governed by the Borja catalan family from Valencia: “O Dio, la chiesa di Roma in mani dei catalani”, exclaimed the italians. Is the first Golden Age of the Catalan Cooking acording to the Quattrocento italian author Platina...The second Golden Age is now, with FERRAN ADRIÀ and other brilliant chefs, like CARME RUSCALLEDA, JOAN ROCA or SANTI SANTAMARIA.
The alliance of geografhy and history provides Catalan cuisine with a generous quantity and quality, situating the focal point of the so-called “MEDITERRANEAN DIET”.
THE NATURE OF CATALAN COOKING
-its a healthy cuisine, with a typical mediteranean products: olive oil, wine, rice, pasta, pulses,vegetables, fruits (pomegranates, figues, oranges, prunes, peaches, cherrys, melons, watermelons,strawberrys, grapes,lemons, quinces, nuts), fish, lamb, veal, pork, poultry, venaison.
EVERIDAY, FESTIVE AND LUXURIOUS COOKING
We find rice dishes like PAELLA o ARRÒS NEGRE (black rice); pasta dishes like FIDEUA; vegetable dishes like ESCALIVADA; delicious sauces like ROMESCO or ALLIOLI; fish plates like SARSUELA or SUQUET; SAUSAGES like SOBRASSADA, BOTIFARRA; and very curious dishes with a touch of DALI or chinese taste named “Sea and mountain”, Sea urchins with botifarra blood sausage; like Chicken with lobster, Rabbit with snails, Sweet pork sausage,Stuffed apples with meat and delicious desserts and pastries like CREMA CATALANA-catalan custard-, cottage cheese with honey, COCA pastry.
WINES.And finally the famous wines and cava wines from the Penedès, Priorat, Empordà, etc. regions, Banyuls in France or Binissalem in Mallorca. And spirits like RATAFIA, HERBES (herbs) and BRANDYS.