2012-09-29 09.45.55
09 Oct 2012 0 comments Redacció

Bring the autumn to your kitchen

Catalan cuisine is based on seasonal products, so it is common to watch seasons pass, by observing the products on the market stalls or by reading the restaurant’s menus. Autumn is a season for mushrooms, chestnuts and fesols (white beans). Also, a time to eat panellets, a typical Catalan sweet, and to prepare quince jelly and other preserved fruits. It is time for a more elaborate cuisine.

Now, thanks to the Gastroteca we can offer you a selection of some of the most popular products that you buy and cook before the arrival of the cold weather.

Mushrooms, kings of the party

Autumn and mushrooms inevitably go together. In Catalunya, there is a great passion for them. Its harvesting is among our favorite pastimes. When it comes to put it on a plate, it shows its versatility. It works as a sole dish or as the perfect partner as a garnish to enhance any stew, rice or even, salads. A delicious food, no doubt.

The rebozuelo is a firm, funnel-shaped mushroom that can be easily preserved. Although you can eat it raw, it’s easy and fun to cook. Commonly used to go with fish or meat stews.

The níscalo is one of most popular mushrooms in Catalunya. Its flesh is soft and smells like forest. The best way to have it is grilled or sautéed with garlic and parsley.

In recent years, another mushroom has become fashionable in our cuisine: The boletus. It grows in summer and autumn, and can be eaten raw, grilled or with a sauce.

In Catalunya, the use and praise of the mushrooms is so ingrained in the culture, that there are many fairs and food festivals devoted to them. Here’s a list of some of them:

· Cuina del bolet del Berguedà

The fesol of Santa Pau

Undoubtedly, the most characteristic product of what it is known as volcanic cuisine, along with naps negres and the curd, among others. The fesols of Santa Pau are harvested in September, they cook quickly, have a very thin skin and are very tasty. It is so popular that it has a fair devoted to it, the fair of Sant Antoni. The next is held on January 20, 2013.

A good place to sample the fesols is the restaurant Cal Sastre and all the restaurants that are members of the Gastronomic Tourism club: http://www.act.cat/programes/clubs-de-producte/club-de-turisme-gastronomic/

Panellets: a sweet dish to cook with the family

To make panellets at home you just need to mix almond flour, sugar, eggs, water and pine nuts to create a base and sprinkle a bit of imagination. Later you can add pistachios, coconut, coffee or be more bold and original using curry and a pinch of nutmeg.

Chestnut, a food more versatile than it seems

Although a few years ago we use to eat roasted or boiled chestnuts, for some time now and thanks to the efforts of counties like Garrotxa, we can find other ways to enjoy it: As a puree, as a dessert or even as a garnish for meat dishes.

The areas of Catalunya where weather conditions are more favorable to the chestnut tree, and are considered key chestnut producers are: Guilleries-Montseny, Corredor-Montnegre, Empordà, Garrotxa and Conca de Barberà, especially the Sierra de Prades.

The Chestnut Festival of Vilanova de Prades is held between 27 and 29 October.

The quince jelly, a dessert that is prepared in October

Now is the time to pick up the quince from the tree, prepare the quince jelly to be able to enjoy it during the whole year. The recipe is easy: just mix quince, sugar, water and lemon and put it to boil for a while. The result is a bittersweet paste that, accompanied with cheese, becomes a delicious dessert.

The town of Tremp has organized a fair devoted to it: http://www.festacatalunya.cat/articles-mostra-989-cat-fira_del_codony_de_tremp.htm

All of the products we have mentioned in this post can be found in local markets around Catalonia during the fall.

Caption: Fruits and vegetables Molins. Mercat de la Concepció, Barcelona.

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