Postcard from Costa Brava

June 4, 2012 6 Comments »

costa brava postcard

Costa Brava - the stunning coast of Eastern Spain

I went from eating tuna out of a can with my fingers to eating caramelized foie gras with pear and Cabernet Sauvignon reduction and smashed apple. This is the crazy diverse life I lead and it’s the vast swings like this that I adore about my existence.

I was invited to Costa Brava for a gastronomy blogger/press trip and to speak at a Tourist Board conference. This shocking lifestyle switch from walking 14 miles a day in the countryside of Spain to eating 14 courses a day in the holiday playground of Costa Brava was a bit of a challenge for me. But sometimes you just have to power through…and eat…and drink…a lot. Simply being back in the working world of my profession surrounded by other peers was hard for me to handle. Not to mention riding in motorized vehicles was a complete shock to my brain.

This last week was filled with ‘once in a lifetime’ moments which Costa Brava is known for. It started when I met Ferran Adria of Elbulli. Now if you aren’t a foodie, then you may ask “Who is Ferran Adria?” – which is exactly what I did. I quickly came to learn that he’s the seen as the best chef in the world – probably something I should have known before coming on a gastronomy trip. But I always think it’s more fun to experience things in the moment, so that afternoon I found myself being led around the Elbulli exhibit in Barcelona by Ferran Adria himself. I quickly learned what an artistic genius he is – it doesn’t matter if his paintbrush is a spatula and his canvas is a plate – he’s an artist for sure.

Ferran Adria

Meeting Ferran Adria

The week just got better and better from that point forward. I was treated to some of the most unique eating and drinking experiences such as a restaurant filled with butterflies from Costa Rica at the stunning luxury Alva Park Hotel. I drank daiquiris in the Santa Clotilde’s Botanical Garden overlooking the coast, and went on Cava and wine tastings at Mont Ferrant and CanSais . And I went to a restaurant in Girona which cooked with flowers called La Calendula.

cooking with flowers

Cooking with Flowers

In addition to high-end restaurants I had some simple local experiences that won my heart. It was the tiny fishing village and fishermen of Cala S’Alguer who hosted us for an amazing afternoon of seafood and culture at a little fishing hut on the water. The afternoon couldn’t have been more perfect cracking open shellfish that was caught hours earlier. It was even topped off by singing of traditional fishing songs.

fish lunch

A day with the locals and lots of fish!

I learned how to make a variety of items such as All I oli and pa amb tomaquet at an I Cook It workshop held at the lovely Hotel and Restaurant El Far in Llafranc perched high on a cliff next to a lighthouse. At each restaurant we were greeted by the chef making me feel way more special than I actually am.

Costa Brava food

El Far had the perfect coastal setting

Then the highlight of my week and my entire eating life came….in Girona I went to lunch at Celler de can Roca – widely known as the 2nd best restaurant in the world. There I enjoyed 17 courses of food and 15 wine pairings in a total of 4 hours. Not only did I get the joy of eating at the restaurant, but we were able to go behind the scenes into the kitchen – I could have stayed there all day and just watched this restaurant machine operate.

Celler de can roca food

Everything I ate in the 17 courses

Even though the official gastronomy blog trip is over, I have stayed on in Costa Brava to see more in the area, visit medieval towns, do some hiking on their coastal trail, and enjoy villa living at Can Grau. I will also be writing about these various experiences in Costa Brava in more detail in the weeks to come. So the ‘charmed life’ continues for another week in Costa Brava. However this week I will have to cook for myself…which is a good way for me to lose all the weight I put on last week!

If you’d like to follow my travels and photography real time then be sure to check out my Ottsworld Facebook Page!

To learn more about Costa Brava listen to the Amateur Traveler Episode 339 – Travel to Costa Brava, Spain

Note: my visit to Costa Brava was part of the #InCostaBrava blogtrip organised by the Costa Brava Tourism Board

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