The native varieties, the environment and the effort made day after day by the local farmers all help to create an incredibly varied programme of food and wine activities all year round. Here are just a few ideas, yet the options in our region are infinite!
Winter provides a real treat for the taste buds that comes from the sea and has a strange spiky shell… Yes, the sea urchin, or garoina or garota as it’s called here in Girona. Sea urchinsare synonymous with an intense flavour of the sea and are found on the Empordà coast in addition to other parts of the Mediterranean.
In Palafrugell a gastronomy campaign has been run since 1992 to promote locally-fished sea urchins. The activity is held in January, February and March, at the height of sea urchins’ reproduction period, when fishing is permitted and they are at their best. There’s also the “Temps d’uriços” campaign in Sant Feliu de Guíxols, where a popular sea urchin tasting event is held every February. These campaigns enable visitors to enjoy large-scale popular lunches, dedicated set meals, boat trips and even packages with accommodation.
And, of course, any sea urchin tasting just has to be washed down with DO Empordà wines! 🙂
Original ideas to suit all tastes.
Every winter there is also a date not to be missed for the people of Espolla, in the Alt Empordà. Its privileged setting amid vineyards and oil mills make the village the ideal place to hold the Olive and Oil Fair. The fair brings together more than 90 exhibitors, including oil producers of locally-grown olives. The wide variety of activities is designed to cater for all ages: tastings and pairings, cookery workshops, fairs, exhibitions, lectures and talks, book presentations, theatre, competitions, concerts and popular walks.
Every year we celebrate spring with Vívid, the Costa Brava wine festival. In April the Empordà becomes the epicentre of wine tourism in Catalonia, with a varied programme of unique, exceptional wine tourism experiences in the counties of Alt and Baix Empordà: family workshops, sensory strolls, breakfasts in the vineyards, guided visits, wine tastings and paired monologues. The programme is renewed every year and published on the vivid.costabrava.org website.
Blanes runs another spring campaign, the Oily Fish Gastronomy Festival, where you can find very different menus, all featuring oily fish, at various restaurants in the town.
Up towards France, Figueres, the capital of Alt Empordà, becomes the winemaking epicentre for the duration of the Empordà Wine Fair, held every year in the city’s central Rambla. It’s a traditional social event where local inhabitants meet up to celebrate summer over a glass of wine.
In summer there’s absolutely no excuse for not tasting authentic Palamós prawns at the town’s fair, focussed exclusively on different events to taste the star local product. And the same goes for Pals, with its “Pals and Rice Cuisine” gastronomy campaign, which involves the collaboration of several local restaurateurs and the organisation of markets, cookery course, workshops and guided visits.
And, towards the end of summer or the beginning of autumn, there is the Salt Festival in L’Escala, the Sea and Langoustine Fair in Llançà, the Fish Suquet campaign in Roses and the festival in Palafrugell organised around its most typical time-honoured dish, Es Niu de Palafrugell.
Paired Suppers. Empordà Cuisine and Wine. Haute cuisine and wine for all pockets
And to finish up with, a gastronomy campaign called ‘Paired Suppers’ has been run since 2013 by restaurants from La Cuina de l’Empordanet in Baix Empordà and by gastronomic collective La Cuina del Vent in Alt Empordà, which has taken part in the event since 2015, in conjunction with the DO Empordà wineries.
The result is a collection of thirty paired suppers based on Empordà cuisine, providing diners with the best possible food and wine pairings thanks to the expert guidance of a professional chef and a winemaker from the Empordà.
It makes the mouth water just thinking about the different highly-acclaimed restaurants and wineries that make up this initiative. They include, for instance, restaurants Empòrium, Es Portal, Godard, Vicus, Els Tinars, Bo.TiC, Els Pescadors, Casamar and La Calèndula, and wineries such as Vinyes dels Aspres, Masia Serra, Hugas de Batlle, Espelt Viticultors, Martín Faixó and Terra Remota.
Hasn’t it made your mouth water, too?