2016 is the ‘Year of Gastronomy and Wine’ in Catalonia. We celebrate by revealing the region's little-known foodie mecca, the Costa Dorada
The Costa Dorada is a region famous for its long golden beaches, turquoise blue waters and peaceful historic towns – but the rich soil and warm climate also produces many of Spain’s finest vineyards, olive growths and gastronomy.
Good food and wine is central to the Costa Dorada’s culture. Here’s your guide to discovering the very best of it.
The cuisine in the Costa Dorada is shaped by the Mediterranean and the high quality seafood caught locally. The El Serrallo neighbourhood of Tarragona and the fishing port and agricultural town of Cambrils are great places to sample the region’s gastronomy.
Local specialities include romesco sauce, xató salads, calçot onions, fish and seafood with rice and noodles, paellas, and many steamed or grilled shellfish and molluscs
Inland from the coast you’ll find different kinds of typical Catalan dishes like olla barrejada – a meat and vegetable stew, pig’s trotters with snails, rabbit with rice, wild boar and onion stew, partridge casserole and truitia amb suc – omelettes with gravy.
Festivals are held throughout the year in the Costa Dorada to celebrate and showcase their specialty dishes.
Running from 20 May to 5 June, Gastrotour Salou is a celebration of the local food scene in Salou. Local restaurants, bars and bakeries offer special tasting menus and samples of their products for just €2.50 providing a tapas walking route from the town centre to the coast. A similar event, La Mar de Tapes is also held in Cambrils from 10 - 19 June, and in Vila-Seca-La Pineda, from 27 May - 12 June.
In early October, Cambrils hosts the Wine and Gastronomy Show with local restaurants pairing dishes to chosen wines from the region. November will see the 37th edition of the Festival of the Squid held in Salou, combining a fishing competition with tasting sessions. In early spring, Salou also hosts Sabor Salou, a gastronomic fair that gathers local products and producers.
A full list of gastronomy events can be found here.
The Costa Dorada has a long tradition of winemaking, with many vineyards, cooperatives and wineries forming its landscape. Red wines, white wines, rosés, cavas and dessert wines are produced within the territory’s five winemaking regions and marked with their distinct PDO labels.
Wine tourism well organised in the Costa Dorada. Wine routes are clearly signposted and tours of vineyards, tasting courses, wine-pairings, concerts, festivals and walking, bike and horseback excursions available throughout the year.
The Costa Dorada is renowned for its outstanding campsites – eight were given a ‘Best Campsites in Europe’ award by the Association of Campsites in 2016. A lot of that success can be attributed to the fact that gastronomy is an important part of life on Costa Dorada campsites.
The Playa Montroig Camping Resort offers meat and fish dishes in its Restaurant Grill and traditional Mediterranean cuisine in the La Terrassa restaurant. The Tamarit Park Resort has a number of food options including its La Brisa beachside restaurant and La Carpa tapas restaurant.
Main image: Red pepper and anchovy tapas (Shutterstock.com)