Here, a series of small towns (Begur, Tamariu, Palafrugell, L’Estartit, Aigua Blava, Llafranc) have retained their Catalan charm, each set on a sheltered cove and often boasting a seafood restaurant where the day’s catch is landed fresh and cooked over charcoal.
This was the summer playground of the Roca brothers – Joan, Jordi and Josep – who grew up in Girona, 20 miles inland. In 1986 they set up El Celler de Can Roca (cellercanroca.com), the three-Michelin-starred restaurant which this year took first place in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards, having won once before in 2013 and come second three times in an ongoing duel with Noma in Copenhagen.
What makes the cuisine special?
The landscape and geography of Catalonia are exceptional because in one hour you can go from very high mountains to the sea – so on a short drive the climate, the produce and the culinary nuances change dramatically. That leads to a lot of variety and experimentation in the way we cook. People say the true expression of Catalan culture is in the kitchen. We’ve been writing about gastronomy for eight centuries, so we have a lot of documentation. Read more here…