With our spirit of Live as a native, where we always want to discover the essence of the indigenous culture, and coming up to Christmas, in Yurbban we wish to invite you to discover the history of a typical Catalan dish, in addition to revealing a special place to enjoy it if you are spending the holidays in our city.
For years, when strolling through the streets of Paseo de Gracia and Rambla Catalunya, we came upon a kind of giant illuminated macaroni, “cut in half”. This represents our famous Galets, a type of pasta that is enjoyed with the Escudella i carn d’olla, and above all, at Christmas. It is a first course dish that is much more than a soup.
In the Institut Català de Cuina Catalana, one can find the authentic recipe and its variations. There are different types, given that it is in fact, a very primitive dish which has evolved from the fourteenth century and that was eaten in the zones of Roussillon, the Valencian Community, in Andorra, in the Balearic Islands and here in Catalunya. “It’s a laborious dish”, explains Gemma Barrufet, head of the bookstore A péu de Pàgina, which features a gastronomic section; “they are two different dishes in fact, on one hand we have the broth and on the other, the ingredients”.
The escudella is the broth or soup, which we get by boiling all the ingredients (different vegetables, white sausage, black sausage, chicken or hen, pork belly …). Why is this soup typical at Christmas? It was as such for many years, throughout the Winter in order to cope with the low temperatures. For more than a century it has been a dish that invites one to get together and enjoy while amidst family. It is usually prepared the night before and allowed to sit until the 25th. Even the writer Josep Pla dedicates two chapters to it in his book El que hem menjat “This is the country of the beef stew (carn d’olla) […] I am a defender of the Escudella i la carn d’olla ».
If you are on holidays in Barcelona or spending a few days here and don´t want to miss out, in Yurbban we make things easy for you and propose these three unforgettable restaurants:
Ca L’Esteve (Ctra. Martorell -Km 4, 700 Terrassa), a super cozy space and an absolute classic for enjoying this dish. Open since 1898, initially as a roadside bar for cars and cyclists, they have made a special place for themselves within Catalan gastronomy. It also has a variety of dishes typical of our cuisine for those who want to try other options.
In Can Culleretes (C / Quintana 5) they make escudella every day of the winter months but without the beef stew (carn d’olla), however, it is still worth trying since it is a foolproof remedy to overcome the cold days. It lies in the heart of Barcelona, a classic open since 1786.
The restaurant Agut (C / Gignàs, 16) was an old Catalan tavern dating back to 1924. It is an informal space decorated with pictures of artists from the fifties and sixties. They do of course make the escudella i la carn d’olla at Christmas, and yes, you do have to book well in advance, since it tends to be very crowded.
However, don´t worry if you are unable to make a reservation in these places, in the majority of restaurants with a set menu, with the holidays approaching, they have this dish on hand for you to enjoy and later, if you are so inspired, you can try replicating it at home. You will carry a small piece of our gastronomy, full of nuances, flavors, history and love for the land away with you.