Traditional Catalan Food to try in Costa Barcelona

Catalonia is in North East Spain.   It nestles between the Pyrénées and the Mediterraean Sea.  Those mountains and the sea mean that you need never eat anything that wasn’t grown or caught within Catalonia.  They even have a phrase for it, mar y montana or Sea and Mountains, traditional Catalan food often combines fish, meat and vegetables.

Catalan cuisine is the richest, most complex and sophisticated in Spain.

Claudia Roden, The Food of Spain

Claudia Roden knows a thing or two about food, her recipe books are the ones I use most often.  So if she says something is good, then I believe her.  Having visited Costa Barcelona and tasted the food I can agree with her.  


The soils of Catalonia are fertile, in the Valles Orientales tomatoes of great sweetness grow.  

Valles Orientales Tomatoes

The salty sea air helps potatoes thrive in Maresme.  El Ganxet beans, tasty white beans eaten dried, grow so well that they have an official Protected Designation of Origin which means that not any old bean can be passed off as an El Ganxet one.  Peaches flourish around Ordal.  The Strawberries from Marseme are small but oh so sweet.  

Maresme Strawberries and Cream

If it’s asparagus that you hanker after then Gava produces some fine spears.

Gava Asparagus

If you thought that a prawn, was a prawn, was a prawn, think again those caught off Vilanova de Geltrú are especially yummy.

Villanova Prawns

Let us not forget wine.  There are 765 wineries in Costa Barcelona, it is possible to visit many of them.  Zesty white wine, deep and complex reds and most of all Cava.  Cava was first produced in Catalonia.  I visited the Llopart vineyard and then had lunch in the Mirador de las Caves, overlooking both the vineyards and the magnificent Monserrat mountain.

llopart wines

Pa amb tomàquet or Pan con Tomate, so simple and yet so delicious.  Bread, rubbed with garlic, olive oil and tomatoes.

Pan con tomate

Botifarra or sausage in all its glorious forms pops up everywhere in Catalonia.  Whilst I was in Costa Barcelona I ate dried cured salami type sausage, white sausage, black sausage all them were delicious.


Fidueà, forget paella in Catalonia fidueà is the dish.  Made with tiny pasta vermicelli rather than rice it is a slightly spicier and infinitely richer version of the more familiar paella.  I have bought some vermicelli to try Claudia Roden’s recipe.  If it is half as tasty as the version that I tried at Camping Bon Repòs then it will become a staple in the CW family kitchen.


Sardines, I love sardines in all their forms.  Straight from the tin on a camping trip but best of all is grilled and eaten outside.  Preferably steps away from where they were caught.


Arroz Negre, literally black rice.  Of all the many delicious things that I ate during my stay in Costa Barcelona this plate of shimmering black rice was the most delicious.  Arros Negre is sort of a risotto but made with squid ink.  I confess that I did think “hmm, not so attractive” but sooooo delicious.

Arros negre

Gazpacho, cold tomato soup, doesn’t sound much but don’t let that put you off.  Especially when made with tip top fresh ingredients.  How pretty does this look served in a drinking glass?


Being a culture vulture, I always check out the list of UNESCO world heritage sites.  Whilst most of the things listed are tangible, bricks and mortar things that you can see, some are intangible.  The Mediterranean diet is one of those things.  Eating fresh food, lots of vegetables, fish and olive oil is officially a cultural thing.  I wasn’t being greedy sampling as much of Catalan cuisine as I could stuff in, I was being cultural.


Where we ate traditional Catalan food, when we visited Costa Barcelona.

Whilst the food is wonderful in Costa Barcelona, we did much more than just eat to read about how I fell for fast cars at the Circuit de Catalunya and wandered round romanesque cloisters in Sant Cugat del Vallés. Spain brims over with cultural things to do check out my guide to Family Friendly Cultural Spain.

Traditional Catalan Food

I visited Costa Barcelona as part of a press trip funded by the Barcelona Province Tourist Board, all opinions are my own.



  1. September 5, 2018 / 7:40 am

    Wow! I had no idea such yummy things could be found in this area. fabulous pictures and another great blog. I must go!

  2. kirstenhesketh1
    September 5, 2018 / 12:57 pm

    Oh my, that all looks and sounds delicious! xx

    • September 5, 2018 / 5:54 pm

      It was, thank goodness for elasticated waistbands!

  3. September 6, 2018 / 7:22 am

    The Maresme strawberries are amazing!

    • September 7, 2018 / 1:49 pm

      A bowl of them right now would be good

  4. September 6, 2018 / 9:16 am

    I had never heard of Fidueà, that sounds brilliant though. Will go look up a recipe for sure! #farawayfiles

    • September 7, 2018 / 1:48 pm

      Fretting that my version might not be so yummy as the one in Catalonia!

  5. September 6, 2018 / 11:40 am

    Having lived in Catalonia for the last 4 years, I can back these recommendations! You’re making me hungry just looking at all of these photos and descriptions! My favorite is the Fidueà paired with a glass of local wine. Thanks for sharing! #FarawayFiles

    • September 7, 2018 / 1:47 pm

      Fidueà was new t me but I am a convert

  6. September 6, 2018 / 6:16 pm

    Oh, this post makes me want to get back to Spain ASAP! There’s nothing I love more than sitting in a square drinking delicious Spanish wine or sangria and nibbling on a plate of delicious food. #farawayfiles

    • September 7, 2018 / 1:47 pm

      Certainly one of the finer ways to spend time!

  7. September 6, 2018 / 6:59 pm

    Doesn’t look like you went hungry!

  8. September 7, 2018 / 10:31 pm

    Yum, you’re making my mouth water! Love the fact that the diet is UNESCO listed, brilliant. I’ve tried the sausage (my kids lived off it when we visited) but I’d love to try the squid ink risotto, I know what you mean about the colour though… #Theweeklypostcard

    • September 7, 2018 / 10:34 pm

      I dread to think what my teeth looked like afterwards!

  9. Anisa
    September 8, 2018 / 5:46 pm

    You are making me hungry. I love the Pan con tomato in Barcelona. It’s simple but just so good. I would love to try out some of your recommendations on my next trip. Thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard.

    • September 10, 2018 / 8:54 pm

      It is amazing just how good Pan con Tomate is!

  10. Beth
    September 10, 2018 / 10:54 am

    Thanks for that introduction, saving for when we visit that region of Spain! I am particularly interested in wine tasting and Cava drinking, and prawns and vermicelli…yum!! I don’t think I knew that there were intangibles with the UNESCO listings, but I can get behind that cultural eating. #FarawayFiles

    • September 10, 2018 / 8:50 pm

      Vineyard visiting was so good and Cava always excellent

  11. September 10, 2018 / 12:33 pm

    When we were in Barcelona last year, we’ve never eaten better – so good, so fresh, so healthy. As much as we consumed, I think I may have even lost weight! (coming from America with the highly processed oversized portions). If I could eat Mediterranean every day I would. Thanks for sharing with #farawayfiles

    • September 10, 2018 / 8:49 pm

      I’m with you even though I ate masses it was all good and healthy and I put no weight on

  12. September 16, 2018 / 6:54 am

    Great post! The Arros Negre looks delicious!

  13. October 1, 2018 / 10:54 am

    My mouth is actually watering after reading this! Great post, and fab photos too! #MondayEscapes

  14. October 1, 2018 / 2:43 pm

    We just spent a weekend in Barcelona and literally ate ALL the tapas. Loved the pan con tomate which was ubiquitous in every tapas bar we went too – so much more delicious than the simple ingredients make you believe. A mouthwatering post – might have to invest in Claudia Roden’s book to recreate some of this at home. #mondayescapes

    • October 1, 2018 / 2:59 pm

      Claudia Roden’s book is excellent!

  15. October 2, 2018 / 9:40 am

    I lived in Spain for a while and it always surprised me how similar food is allover Spain, yet diverse when it comes to the usage of local ingredients. Personally, I never say no to a proper gazpacho!!

  16. October 3, 2018 / 10:16 am

    Ok so this has made me super hungry all of a sudden!! You have a real talent for photographing food. So many wonderful dishes, but I love the look of the fidueà, it’s something I have never heard of or tried before.
    Thanks for linking up to #MondayEscapes

  17. October 12, 2018 / 10:06 pm

    It all looks and sounds yummy!! Pan con Tomate looks simple but I bet it is lovely! Thanks for linking up to #MondayEscapes

    • October 15, 2018 / 2:47 pm

      So simple and yet so very delicious

    • October 15, 2018 / 2:46 pm

      Always best before reading food posts!

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