Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Food, Food, it is all about food

I already gave up some of the incredible food we had in the Canal du Midi, but this post is to ratify that, yes, after a trip to Europe anybody is allowed to become a food snob; at least for a little bit.

This post is intended to share some of our culinary experience and hopefully be able to explain what all of it was about.

In Catalonia we ate mostly at tapas bars, which are a great and cheap way to fill your belly and have a glass of wine. The most important thing is that we were not stuck with a big plate of pasta or rice and bean that after a while we get bored of it. The diversity and the richness of this little plates with little bits of food made us more satisfy than the, so well admired, quantity in America.

Here some examples:

This eggplant tartare was served over herbs infused olive oil and reduced balsamic vinegar, topped with crunchy bacon and accompanied with baguette slices.

Oxtail, slow cooked, the meat pulled and made into a perfectly shaped patty, over sweet potato smash and topped with reduced balsamic.

One of my favorites, cod fish tartare with tomatoes over fresh olive oil, served with cannellini and black olives.

All this goodies we had at a wonderful place:

 Our first meal in this place was at the last table with all that nautical decoration behind.

The bar, where we took the little plates and we paid by the size they are.

 The view, the Mediterranean sea, the beautiful Costa Brava in the city of Palamos.

The tapas bar where all that incredible food was prepared; and more that we were too busy eating to be taking pictures.

I told our friends I've never had escargot before (snails) which in France are very famous. Since we were in Spain and they are French, they made a huge pot of "Escargot a la Catalana". We had a feast and a lot of fun.

Of course, at the Cuban festival all this Cuban wanted to eat was rice and beans.

During our road trip in France we stopped at every market of road stand selling seafood or fruits, and we bought what we could eat there and/or what it would last until we opened it, like rillette de canard (duck) or fish preserved in a jar. There are so many picnic areas, at lunch time we just pulled over and had a feast. This oyster stand is on the way to La Rochelle at Marenes.

This was one of our wonderful appetizers or first course, at our friends in La Rochelle, Les eouf en moule with pickles.

In Barcelona we went tapas hunting too, but the top place; market and restaurant Santa Caterina; had this amazing bread, olive oils and food. With picnic tables that we shared with total strangers, who by the end of the meal were not any more.

First course we had this grilled vegetables that were perfectly cooked, soft in the outside, crispy inside, alive and colorful, perfectly seasoned. 

French fries with aioli and a vinaigrette sauce, just the presentation made the plate special.

Tender young pig ham, slowly baked, it was so good and so much, it was enough for the four of us.

I went to Spain to eat paella, and this was the third one I got. I still can't get enough of it.

Interior of Santa Caterina market and restaurant.

Place where all the magic is done, other words, the kitchen, open to everybody's delight.

Stands behind the dining tables, full of olive oils, spices and wine.

The girl cutting the bread right next to us, she was very funny and full of energy.

This place called Bubó was not just holding a lot of delicious desserts, but just the beauty of them made the stop so worth it, we did honor it 3 times.

During our Tapas tour with our friend we stopped at this Basc Country Bar. Then I was really amazed of how many languages are spoken in Spain, not that I didn't know, but when one get to live it, is a whole different thing. And I'm talking about not just spoken languages, but all the different wines and food and traditions.

Euskal Taberna
Before we went on our trip to Canal du Midi, our friends in Palamos prepared a very beautiful lunch. I did help with the preparation, but the presentation was all in hands of our host and hostess.

This was a veggie tartare, with seeded tomatoes, cucumbers, and pears. Seasoned with olive oil and herbs de provence. The topping is shredded paprika, basil and bacon. The plate was decorated with reduced balsamic vinegar.

Roasted peppers stuffed with fresh cardamon flavor cheese and shredded sun dried tomatoes. Olive oil as a base.

This littles detailed martini glass is holding the main course: Chocolate Mousse. I say the main course, because after we ate it we could not think of anything else. This was outstanding.

Food is a really important subject when traveling. It's an experience, a taste of the culture and a life changing. There is not odds on oxtail or pig feet patties, or raw fresh fish and oysters. Once you open your palate to what's out there yummy to eat, there is not coming back.