Costa Brava Vineyards

The aim of this blog post is to list all the local vineyards located in the province of Girona that offer to the public activitats such as wine tasting, tours, meals and picnics.

Most cellers require pre-booking of tastings and it is recommended to contact at least 24 hours in advance. Contact details are listed on the websites of each celler.

More information on the wines of the Emporda region can be found here: http://www.doemporda.cat/en/the-wines.html

Celler La Vinyeta La Vinyeta is one of the youngest and most dynamic DO Empordà projects. Its owners, Josep and Marta, are two young entrepreneurs who set up the business in 2002 with just 4 hectares of old vines located in Mollet de Peralada. In 2006 they built the cellar and began to produce their first bottles. In the space of just a few years, La Vinyeta has received numerous plaudits and has earned the appreciation of many visitors, drawn to the winery by a very personal service.La Vinyeta offers wine tours of the vineyards with tastings.They also offer picnics amongst the vines. http://www.lavinyeta.es/

Celler Espelt Espelt has been founded by members of a long line of winemakers who understand that the culture of wine lies in agriculture, quality, creativity and passion. The winemaking tradition of Empordà and the love for the earth and its fruits are what led those behind the project to plant vines in the Cap de Creus Natural Park, to set up the Espelt winery and to sell its wines.Espelt has a shop which is open to the public and offer wine tastings. http://www.espeltviticultors.com/

Celler Hugas de Batlle The “Celler Hugas de Batlle” is a small family ran winery based in the centre of Colera. It has a patio which serves as a production area and a shop inside with a place for the ageing process and another area for tasting.The celler offers various wine tasting options including a breakfast option and tours of the vineyards. http://www.cellerhugasdebatlle.com/

Celler Arché-Pagès is a family-owned winery located in the town of Capmany. Five generations of winegrowers have cultivated the estate’s 14 hectares of vineyards, in which mainly the indigenous varieties of the area are planted: garnacha and cariñena. The company exercises absolute control over the entire process, from pruning the vines to selling the wine. This modern and dynamic winery offers visitors the chance to visit its facilities in the company of the winegrower and winemaker, to stroll through the vineyards and to taste wines with a distinctive personality.
www.cellerarchepages.com

Mas Lunes Mas Llunes is a modern winery that specialises in the production of wine from the grapes grown in the estate’s own vineyards. It is owned by the Roig de Garriguella family, which has been closely involved in the world of winegrowing in Empordà for several generations. They offer wine tastings and tours of the vineyards in their own 4×4 vehicles.
http://www.masllunes.es/

Mas Oller Mas Oller currently has 12 hectares of wine-producing vines and 4 hectares of newly planted vines. The approach of Mas Oller is based on reviving the winegrowing tradition of Empordà, with a modern interpretation of the concept of wine. Both the winery and vineyards can be visited at Mas Oller, while the enoteca offers visitors the chance to purchase and taste the wines that it produces in an idyllic setting. They offer tastings and visits of the vineyards. Also check their website for information on special cheese and wine tastings.
http://www.masoller.es/

Celler Can Sais This small family-owned winery with a long winegrowing tradition is located in the old part of the town of Vall-llobrega, in the Gavarres Massif and 5 km from the sea. At Can Sais we attempt to produce wines with concentration and personality, wines that say something about the area and its way of life. They offer guided visits of the vineyards and instalations, wine tastings and other activities such as wine therapy massages. www.cellercansais.com

Celler Bell-Lloc This Empordà farmstead is imbued with a philosophy rooted in the land, which takes advantage of recent advances to provide quality, without losing spirit and authenticity. They offer celler visits and a gastronomic experience of a meal paired with their own wines.
http://www.fincabell-lloc.com/

Cellers d’en Guilla New wines produced with grapes from old vines: this is the approach adopted by Cellers d’en Guilla, a new winery with limited production located in the Delfià district of Rabós d’Empordà. Offering visits and wine tastings with local food products.
www.cellersdenguilla.com

Terra Remota Terra Remota is a winery that is highly sensitive to its surroundings and, consequently, is strongly committed to becoming integrated within its environment. The result is a top quality wine and an enchanting landscape. They do winery visits, tastings and picnics amongst the vines.
http://www.terraremota.com/

Supermarkets in Figueres

We have quite a few houses available for rent in the Figueres región and and we are often asked by clients where are the best places to do their shopping. Below is a Google map where a number of supermarkets are highlighted. Bascara also has a couple of small supermarkets and a good quality butchers and all are open on Sunday mornings when there is a small market in Bascara.

Michelin starred restaurants in Catalonia

El Celler de Can Roca Girona

One of the aperitifs from a recent visit to El Celler de Can Roca

Catalonia has a very high concentration of Michelin starred restaurants, perhaps more than any other place on Earth. Here is a list of the Michelin starred restaurants close to Girona and the Costa Brava. With a fantastic selection of fresh local produce at their disposal Catalan chefs have always led the way in Gastronomic innovation. Ferran Adria and his ground breaking restaurant El Bulli, is quite possibly the most famous chef in the world.

Bo-Tic Corca

Inventive dish from the restaurant Bo-Tic

With three Michelin stars and recently voted the best restaurant in the world Girona’s very own El Celler de Can Roca leads the way. http://www.cellercanroca.com

However El Celler de Can Roca is not the only restaurant in Catalonia with three Michelin stars. Sant Pau in Sant Pol de Mar also holds this distinction. http://www.ruscalleda.cat

With two Michelin Stars we have Les Cols in Olot http://www.lescols.com and Can Fabes in Sant Celoni http://www.canfabes.com

Then we have a great selection of restaurants with one Michelin star in the Girona province:

Restaurant Massana Girona

Beautiful dish from Massana, Girona

Massana also in Girona http://www.restaurantmassana.com

L’Aliança d’Anglès in Anglès http://www.restaurantalianca.com

Ca l’Arpa in Banyoles http://www.calarpa.com

Bo-Tic in Corçà, close to La Bisbal http://www.bo-tic.com

Els Tinars in Llagostera http://www.elstinars.com

Mas Pau in Avinyonet de Puigventós http://www.maspau.com

La Cuina de Can Simon in Tossa de Mar http://www.lacuinadecansimon.com

Les Magnolies in Arbucies http://www.lesmagnolies.com

Casamar in Llafranc http://www.hotelcasamar.net

La Llar in Roses http://www.restaurantlallar.com/

Ca l’Enric in La Vall de Bianya http://www.calenric.net

Els Brancs in Roses http://www.elsbrancs.com

Can Jubany in Calldetenes http://www.canjubany.com

Cadaques: Where I Left My Worries Behind The Mountains.

Cap de Creus

Onboard the Sant Isidre

This is a guest post by Ash Clark, one of our bloggers on our recent “blog trip” to Cadaques and the Costa Brava.

Seeing as I arrived at night, it wasn’t until the next day that I really got to appreciate the unique location that Cadaqués is set in.

When I woke the next morning, I got to see what it is that has made this sleepy fishing village grow into a popular summer holiday spot.

Walking from my villa through the cobbled lanes that wind around the town’s whitewashed buildings and villas, I had no doubt in my mind that I was on the Mediterranean.

Cadaques

A typical street of Cadaques

I was lucky enough to spend my first day sailing on a ‘laüt’, a traditional Catalan fishing vessel. While I generally find most sailing experiences rather memorable, this particular one especially stood out as we sailed along the coastline of the Cap de Creus National Park. The unique perspective offered from the decks of our boat really allowed me to appreciate how spectacular the natural landscape is in this part of Spain.

While the coastline that Cadaqués sits on is without a doubt its main draw card, it was the mountains around the town that drew a lot of my attention.

The vast majority of the hillsides around Cadaqués have terrace levels, made from stack-stone retaining walls.

It doesn’t take one long to realise that most of these impressive walls are rather aged and that the incredible amounts of manual labour it would of taken to construct them was originally completed to serve a specific purpose.

The blank terraced hillsides that dominate the area today haven’t always been that way. I soon learned that Cadaqués was once a major producer of wine and olive oil. Unfortunately the wineries and olive farms that once thrived here were completely wiped out after an outbreak of a plant virus that destroyed the plants.

Today, wineries in the region are making a come back, offering some high quality drops of both red and white which, like almost every aspect of Catalan, have their own unique flare to them.

Cadaques

A little bay along the Cap de Creus

As the local saying goes, “When you come to Cadaqués, you leave your worries behind the mountains.” The natural scenery, food, art and culture on display in this fascinating town really do play true to those words for those who visit.

 

About the Author: Ash Clark is a travel writer and photographer from Sydney, Australia. With a strong curiosity, he never manages to stay in one place for too long. To keep up to date with his current travels you can follow his personal travel blog at www.themostalive.com and on twitter @themostalive.

Torras Chocolate Banyoles

Torras cocolate Banyoles

Torras chocolate ceramic signs

We all love chocolate right? Hands up who watched “Charlie and the Chocolate factory” in their youth and since have dreamed of visiting a real life chocolate factory?  Torras chocolates of Banyoles allows this dream to come true.

In the 50’s and 60’s Torras installed many ceramic advertising signs on the sides of houses in the Banyoles region and many can still be seen to this day. The sign pictured is in the village of Orfes.

Founded in 1890 the company is one of the biggest chocolate producers in Spain. It is possible to arrange visits to see how chocolate is made and to taste some different varieties. Here is the contact information to arrange a visit:

Girona-Banyoles Road, Km 15

17844 – Cornellà de Terri – GIRONA

Tel.: +34 972 58 10 00
Fax: +34 972 58 09 09

http://www.chocolatestorras.com/

 

What to do in Cadaques

Cadaques

The beautiful coastal town of Cadaques

One of the most sought after holiday destinations on the whole Catalan coastline, Cadaques has an undeniable charm and mystique which draws you back time after time.

Cadaques has for the most part evaded the developers due mainly to the fact that it is situated in the Cap de Creus national park right at the top of the Costa Brava and is somewhat isolated. Cadaques has been around for centuries but the only road in and out of the town was built around 1908, meaning that up until then the only access to the town was by boat.

The Cap de Creus peninsula is the most eastern point of Spain meaning that it is also the first part of Spain to witness the sunrise. The area has also inspired many artists, most notably Salvador Dali who lived in the area for many years and who venerated the light and colour and elements which make up the Cap de Creus and Cadaques.

Cadaques

Cadaques beach

Dali bought a bunch of fisherman’s shacks on the harbour of Port Lligat which I guess you could call a suburb of Cadaques, converted them into one abode and spent a great part of his life here. The house is now a museum which is open to the public.

http://www.salvador-dali.org/museus/portlligat/en_index.html

A great way to spend a day or half a day is to take a boat trip around the Cap de Creus. The Sant Isidre is a classic Catalan fishing boat built in 1925 and which has a capacity for up to 35 people. You will visit isolated bays which are only accessible by boat and have the option of lunch onboard.

http://chartersantisidre.blogspot.com.es/p/english.html

Martin Faixo is a producer of some great local wines http://www.cellermartinfaixo.com/

Cadaques also has some great restaurants and too many to list here but here is a small sample:

Compartir . Opened in 2012 by three local chefs who worked at the world famous El Bulli, Compartir has quickly became one of Cadaques’s most popular restaurants.

http://en.compartircadaques.com/

MOS Cadaques is another new restaurant which opened its doors in 2012. Contemporary food from a Michelin starred chef.

 https://www.facebook.com/moscadaques.moscadaques

Haiku Cadaques is a small intimate restaurant serving Japanese fusion dishes.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Haiku-Tast-Cadaqu%C3%A9s/393340364056848

The Resclosa d’Orfes

 

Orfes

The resclosa near Orfes

Orfes is a sleepy little village situated roughly in the middle between Figueres, Girona and Banyoles and surrounded by arable pasture land.

In ten minutes you will have seen the village but there is a pleasant little walk from the village to the “resclosa” or ford which crosses the nearby river Fluvia.

In the map below take the track indicated by the red line and you will arrive at the ford. You can either take your shoes and socks off and walk across and return on the track indicated by the purple line or return by the same way you came.

Orfes

Walking route to the ford

If you have built up a good appetite, the restaurant in Orfes, La Barretina d’Orfes is a great choice for lunch. They have a great selection of duck dishes and don’t miss their onion cake starter!

Plaça Major, 28 Orfes

972 560 280

Closed Thursdays and Sunday evenings.

 

Banyoles lake and market

A view of Banyoles lake along a jetty

A view of Banyoles lake just after sunrise

Banyoles, a medium sized town close to Girona is famed for its lake. Scene of the 1992 Barcelona Olympic rowing events the lake serves as the central hub and focus of the town and is a popular training location for rowing teams from around Europe. With the increased popularity of triathlons Banyoles is also becoming one of the main locations for triathlons in Europe with the world cup being held here in 2012.

However one does not need to be an Olympic rower or triathlete to enjoy the charms of the lake. At around 2kms long and with a perimeter of just over 6kms the lake makes for the perfect mid morning or afternoon stroll. It is also possible to hire canoes and bikes.

Banyoles lake

Sunrise over Banyoles lake

If you are planning a day trip to Banyoles a good idea would be to do this on a Wednesday when the weekly market is spread out between “Placa Major” and the large “Placa de Rodes” which is close to the lake. The market mainly consists of fruit and vegetables, cured meats and cheeses with many of the stalls offering local and organic products. The market starts early at around 08.00am and starts closing up around 13.00

Banyoles

Some recommended restaurants in Banyoles include;

Famed for its seafood Gils is a popular lunchtime destination for locals. Located close to the lake. http://www.marisqueriagils.com/

La Magrana (The Pomegranate) is a small family run restaurant in the old quarter of the town offering a modern twist on traditional Catalan dishes using fresh seasonal produce. http://www.restaurantlamagrana.cat/restaurant-banyoles/

Can Xabanet is another family ran restaurant located just between Placa de Rodes and the lake. Traditional flavoursome dishes in a friendly atmospheric  setting. http://www.canxabanet.cat/ca/

It’s mushroom time in Catalonia!

 

In the months of October and November a large number of Catalans pour into the countryside in search of wild mushrooms or “bolets”. It is one of the autumn rituals of our region: we “hunt” for mushrooms and then we eat them!  Although there are many edible species we use the name “bolets” to refer to all of them. But then there are specific names according to the type, like “rovellons”, “rossinyols”, “ceps”, “llenegues” and many more.

Wild mushrooms

Picking and eating wild mushrooms is one of the favourite autumn rituals of many Catalans.

It is a healthy pastime (long walks), and enchanting too, as autumnal forests are so beautiful. And while enjoying the stimulus of a mycological hunt, you feel an additional glow of achievement and pride when you actually find one! Mushrooms can be cooked in many different ways: they can be grilled, baked, fried or stewed with meat and other vegetables.

But precaution is to be practised at all times. It is very important to know how to distinguish the good ones from those that are not so good and from those that can kill you! So don’t eat any mushrooms you have picked unless you, or someone that knows, have identified them 100%. Otherwise play safe and find yourself a good restaurant for a great “vedella amb bolets” lunch!

Fancy some Calçots?

 

Catalonia is known around the world for its cutting-edge molecular gastronomy – famed by the many michelin starred restaurants- but there is still plenty of traditional down to earth food to be had! We have our own unique culinary customs and eating calçots is one of them at this time of the year.Calçots are a variety of scallion. They are milder than onions and look similar to small leeks.

Calçots

The Catalan method of cooking the calçots is to grill them over a flaming barbecue.

It is a generally accepted story that a peasant farmer from Valls (south of Barcelona), began growing calçots in the latter part of the 19th century. He covered them with earth -in Catalan, “calçar” literally means “to put the shoes on”- in order to keep the edible part white.

The Catalan method of cooking the calçots is to grill them over a flaming barbecue. They are traditionally served on a terracotta roof tile, rather than a plate, to keep them warm. Diners peel away the blackened outer layers, and then dip the tender bulbs in Romesco, a sauce made of tomatoes, almonds, garlic, peppers, vinegar and oil.

Mmmmmmm! Messy but delicious!