Traditional food of Tarragona: what will you try first?
One of the star attractions of the Costa Daurada is the traditional food of Tarragona. In this province produce of sea and mountain are combined to perfection, obtaining truly delicious results.
If you come for holidays with Apartbeach, you’ll have the best opportunity to try each and ervy one of these traditional dishes of Tarragona. Because, we can assure, none of them will leave you indifferent or with an empty stomach.
Calçots with romesco sauce
This is one of the most famous dishes of the Tarragona province,so you’be probably heard of them. Calçots, traditional from Valls, are a type of elongated spring onion roasted by the fire. Afterwards, All you have to do is peel of the burnt layers, normally with only your hands, to find a very well cooked interior.
With the cooked calçot all you have left to do is to dip it in the delicious romesco sauce and take a bite. The romesco sauce is made out of almonds, hazelnuts, paprika, rosemary, olive oil, vinegar, salt and a few more ingredients. Its texture can be more liquid or creamy, but the orange colour will always be its best identifier.
Traditionally calçots are eaten standing up, raising your arm atop your head and biting from the lowest part, where it’s soaked in romesco sauce. It’s also possible to eat it with a fork and a knife, but the true experience is doing it in this fun and rural way.
Soupy rice with mantis shrimp
Another of the traditional dishes of Tarragona is the soupy rice with mantis shrimp, in which this species of crustacean is used to give a delicious flavour to the rice. Because the sailor culture of the Costa Daurada offers delicacies as soft and delicious as this rice.
The soupy rice with mantis shrimp can remind you of a paella, although with significant differences. For starters, it’s much more liquid, so it’s also a good idea to eat it with a spoon, though knife and fork will be necessary to peel and eat the mantis shrimps.
This is a traditional meal in all Tarragona, but those villages with a sailoring and rice farming traditions are most remarkable, such as the ones at the Ebro Delta. Mantis shrimps are accompanied by rice, cuttlefish, mussels, red shrimp and even monkfish, so fans of sea bounties cannot miss this dish.
The clotxa may seem a conventional sandwich, but it has much more charm. It’s a rural dish of the Tarragona province that is made with rustic bread, but instead of cutting it to make a sandwich, the inside is hollowed out, leaving a big cavity.
In this space a great variety of ingredients are stuffed in: herrings, sardines, garlic, onion and roasted tomatoes. This combination of flavours is spectacular, as well as being a meal that will load you up with all the needed energy to experience some of the most rural of activities, such as the outings to the Siurana reservoir and to the Mussara mountains.
Its origins are humble, because the clotxa comes from the field workers heading for work all day long. To keep themselves strong, they would prepare this traditional recipe of Tarragona to eat at noon. Through the years variations have been made, depending on the seasonal and local products available.
What happens if you mix the delicious romesco sauce with the bounty of the sea? You create the Romescada, a wonderful dish that combines the best of the sea and of the mountains in a unique meal.
The Romescada is a recipe composed of a great variety of marine ingredients, such as monkfish, hake, cuttlefish, langoustines, cloisters and mussels. These are mixed up with the traditional romesco sauce, achieving a soupy dish that will be enjoyed by the tastebuds of both adults and children.
Try it out together with a good white wine and enough bread to to wipe all the plate clean from the sauce, because we assure you you’ll want a repeat. You can combine it with the visit to the Roman route of Tarragona to approach the maritime neighbourhood of Serrallo to taste the best romescadas of the Costa Daurada.
Pa amb tomàquet
A classic that is enjoyed both in Tarragona and the rest of Catalonia. Pa amb tomàquet (bread with tomato) is such a simple meal to make, but at the same time so good, that you will want to make it back at home after your holidays in the Costa Daurada.
It basically consists of bread slices smeared with tomato. To do so one must cut a tomato in half and squeeze it against the surface of the bread until the latter is wet with the juice of the tomato. Afterwards you add a sprinkle of oil and done, you have the perfect side dish or a simple and healthy snack.
Pa amb tomàquet can be combined with all sorts of foods, be it seafood or mountain ingredients. In most bars and restaurants you’ll stumble upon this recipe, as well as in the vast majority of beach bars of the best beaches of the Costa Daurada.
Although traditional foods of Tarragona always have this rural and home-made touch, it’s also possible to find elegant desserts. This is the case of the Menjar blanc, typical of Reus, and that will become the cherry on top to an excellent noon menu.
Menjar blanc is a cream made with milk, starch, almonds, sugar, lemon skin and cinnamon, in both branch and sprinkled forms. It’s refreshing, soft and sweet, so it will help you digest all the other dishes you’ll have tasted during the meal.
It’s not a very well known dessert, and not all restaurants make it. If you wish to try it out, you’ll surely be able to find a few restaurants in Reus that will have it in its menu. You can also combine the visit with the gorgeous modernism route of Reus.
Coca de recapte
An if, despite it all, you’re still hungry, the coca de recapte will definitely be the perfect afternoon snack. This traditional food of Tarragona is very simple, but at the same time perfect to taste both cold and warm.
The coca de recapte is made with a base of baked salty bread with onion, tomato, eggplant, and bell peppers on top. Depending on the place and the tradition, sardines, anchovies, tuna or botifarra are also added.
It’s eaten all across Catalunya, being a light meal perfect for those nights where you can’t put anything else inside your stomach. Add to it a Mediterranean salad and a cool beer and you’ll have quite and interesting dinner.