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Mediterranean wild foraging in Catalonia

Not only has nature helped inspired Catalan cuisine, but also Catalan artists such as Dalí. In fact, many of Dali’s works of art were inspired by the Mediterranean landscape found in the stunning cliffs Cap de Creus.

By Valeska Idarraga

The Mediterranean, land of aromatic plants, world-renowned cuisine and a vibrant culture, has a landscape and climate, which is the very essence of its culture. Hot days and summer nights define a culture known for being open, hospitable and warm, just like its climate.

Catalonia lies in the heart of the Mediterranean, and with one of the oldest recorded cuisines in the world, it’s no wonder why Haute Cuisine and molecular gastronomy was able to develop particularly in this area of Spain, thanks not only to chefs like Ferràn Adrià, but also thanks to the enormous range of wild plants and flowers that describe the territory, with a climate perfect for growing prized fruits, vegetables, extra virgin olive oil, first class wines and grains, all pillars of the famous Mediterranean Diet.

Let’s walk through the specific habitat of Cap de Creus natural park and explore the seasonal wild herbs and plants to be found in a passionate foraging session.

Edible plants in Gaudi’s Park Güell

The wild Mediterranean Diet is alive in all parts of Catalonia. In fact, who knew that just on the outskirts of one of the most famous parks in the world, Gaudi’s Park Güell, can be found a wealth of edible plants such as wild arugula, pink pepper, olives, and rosemary, among many other aromatic plants? Or would you have guessed that on Montjuïc Mountain where the 1992 Olympics were held, grows an abundance of wild edible plants such as spicy flowers, salty leaves, crisp stalks and sweet roots?

Plants such as wild fennel found on Montjuïc, used for digestion, can also be found integrated into one of the more complex dishes of Girona’s number two restaurant in the world, el Celler de Can Roca.

 

A private session with a gastro-bostanist

Our expert is not only one of the key players behind el Celler de Can Roca’s* use of wild plants in Haute Cuisine, but he is the Celler’s gastro-botanist, fully immersed in the project Animated Earth (Terra Animada), helping to introduce wild species into haute cuisine. To this day he has managed to introduce as many as 100 different wild indigenous plants and flowers into the menu. To meet him, join the CÚRATE Trip Catalonia & Andalusia.

* El Celler de Can Roca holds 3 Michelin Stars and is number two at the 50 Best World Restaurants.

 

Nature and art

Not only has nature helped inspired Catalan cuisine, but also Catalan artists such as Dalí. In fact, many of Dali’s works of art were inspired by the Mediterranean landscape found in the stunning cliffs Cap de Creus. From Cap de Creus down to Palamós, Mediterranean plants can be foraged as you walk along the Camino de Ronda, a stunning trail that travels along the Costa Brava curving along the cobalt blue seashore. The land and sea together form and edible landscape that will inspire from the most foodie to the most nature lovers.

 

Photo credits: Cúrate Trips®

Meanwhile, on the Costa Brava, we can discover the wild plants of the dunes of the Greek ruins in Empuries, cultivated since the time of the Greek colony, which tell us stories of enamored gods, frightened nymphs or sacred diviners.
 At the same time, the plants we find along the way are also some of the best known ingredients of the Mediterranean diet.

The Mediterranean diet and therefore its history can be understood through its nature, a knowledge that has been around for thousands of years, and stays alive today in the modern cuisine. Thanks to wild food harvesting the terroir comes alive!

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