Catalonia is a Mediterranean region lead by its sunny, vibrant capital Barcelona. Catalan gastronomy is a strong part of our heritage, and it has become well-known all over the world thanks to internationally renowned chefs such as Ferran Adrià, The Roca brothers or Carme Ruscalleda. These chefs have played a key role in exporting our Mediterranean Diet and gastronomy. But all this wouldn’t have been possible without the local products that we cultivate and produce in our country.
Many of these high-quality products have been recognized and protected under Designations of Origin. In this article we’ll discover 6 delightful catalan products under Protected Designation of Origin which you can’t miss!
Delta de l’Ebre rice
In southern Catalonia, Ebre river forms a wide Delta. Rice cultivation has flourished in this area because of both its climate and the salinity and height of the aquifer. In this area we can find several rice varieties: “Bahía, Tebre, Gleva, Fonsa, Bomba i Montsianell”. Once it has been harvested the rice is left to dry, put into storage, milled to remove the chaff and any impurities, and finally cleaned before being packaged. With this rice any “paella” becomes outstanding!
Alt Urgell and Cerdanya butter
Commercial production began in 1915 when the Cadí Cooperative was founded, and it is made with Friesian cow’s milk. The aging period for the cream, together with the cows’ diet and the local climate give this butter its characteristic smell and flavour.
Alt Urgell and Cerdanya cheese
The history of this cheese with a protected designation of origin dates back to the early 20th century when the phylloxera plague made it necessary for farmers to branch out. In 1915 the Cadí Cooperative was set up and began to make this young, creamy cheese from Friesian cow’s milk.
This designation of origin protects dry and cooked beans from Ganxet variety. This is a flat bean, similar to the kidney bean, with a typical hook shape at one end, from where it receives its name. Average in size, on the palate it is very creamy, with a mild, delicate and persistent taste. The skin is lightly wrinkled and barely perceptible.
This protected designation of origin covers the varieties Llimonera, Blanquilla and Conference of the species Pyrus communis L. In the area of the protected designation of origin this prestigious sweet fruit is grown using environmentally-friendly techniques such as Integrated Production. These pears are harvested from early July to mid August.
Hazelnut cultivation increased in the Tarragona region in the late 19th century as farmers struggled to cope with the phylloxera plague and the disappearance of wild mushrooms. Today, the reputation and quality of this nut have earned it a protected designation of origin certificate (DOP). The varieties protected are Negreta (the most common), Pauetet, Gironella, Morella and Culplana.
Extra virgin olive oil
Extra virgin olive oil is basic to Mediterranean Diet. In Catalonia we don’t have one Protected Designation of Origin for extra virgin olive oil: we have 5 of them! PDO Baix Ebre – Montsià, PDO Les Garrigues, PDO L’Empordà, PDO Siurana and PDO Oli Terra Alta. Each protected designation of origin covers a limited area and specific varieties, though Garrigues and Siurana are the most representative PDOs in terms of volume and antiquity.