It’s too bad Montserrat tomatoes aren’t grown widely out of Spain because they’re gorgeous specimens. As soon as you cut slices of this Catalonia-grown tomato, which looks like some giant mutating piece of produce at first, an elegant almost floral-like design falls onto the plate. Delicate ruby-colored pockets of juice stud its center and especially taste divine when sprinkled with olive oil and sea salt. As a Catalan specialty here, the Montserrat tomato often finds its way onto the platters of the area’s innovative gourmet chefs including the world-renowned Ferran Adria.

Almost exclusively produced in the Emporda region of Catalonia, the seeds for the Montserrat tomato are created by the local farmers themselves and not commercialized as of yet. Harvesting of this tomato lasts from June until early autumn, so if you want some, hurry up and come visit!

On a Secret Barcelona Gourmet Tour  you will be shown around La Boqueria Market in Barcelona by a professional chef, select only the best Montserrat tomatoes and other fine local produce and then head to the kitchen to create some delicious and authentic Spanish recipes!

Since the name of this dish comes from the Catalan word escalivar, meaning “to roast over ashes or embers,” it is traditional to cook this over a real flame. If you can’t though, you can bake the traditional Spanish Escalivada in the oven with good results as well.

Ingredients for traditional Spanish Escalivada

  • 4 small eggplants
  • 4 spring onions or large scallions
  • 4 red bell peppers
  • 3 tomatoes
  • Extra virgin olive oil or brushing, plus 1/3 cup
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • Salt and peper to taste
Method for traditional Spanish Escalivada

Prepare a hot fire in a charcoal grill or preheat the oven to 500ºF. Brush the eggplants, onions, bell peppers and tomatoes with olive oil. If using a grill, place the vegetables directly over the fire and grill, turning frequently, for 15 to 30 minutes, or until the skins blacken and the vegetables are tender. The variation in timing depends on the heat of the fire, and some vegetables, such as the tomatoes, may be ready before the others. If using an oven, arrange the vegetables on a rimmed baking sheet or in a roasting pan and roast, turning every 10 minutes, for 30 minutes, or until the skins blacken and the vegetables are tender. Remove the vegetables from the grill or oven, wrap in foil and let cool for about 1 hour.

Unwrap the vegetables. Peel the eggplants, peppers, and tomatoes, and peel away the outer layer of the onions. Split the bell peppers in half, discard the seeds and stems, and cut lengthwise into strips about 1 1/2 inches wide. Transfer to a bowl. Trim the stems from the eggplants and core the tomatoes, and then cut them into strips of the same size as the pepper strips and add to the bowl. Trim the onions, cut into rings, and add to the bowl along with the garlic.

Add the 1/3 cup olive oil, season with salt, and toss to mix well. Serve your delicious Spanish Escalivada at room temperature.

On a Cooking Class Day Tour in Barcelona, our clients frequently prepare this dish as a first course or as an accompaniment to a main course and it always goes down a treat! The day long tour includes a visit to the city’s most talked about marketplace, La Boqueria as well as tastings at all the top ´foodie´spots in the city.

Ingredients for traditional Spanish Fideua

  • 10 oz. fideos (or angel hair broken into 2″ pieces)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium-size onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced

There’s only one time of year in Spain to come and participate in the grape harvest and it’s here! Most grape harvests, or “vendimias,” happen in September and October, but this week Raimat vineyards owned by Codorniu have already started, according to La Vanguardia newspaper.

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Ever since the advent of the Google image search, we’ve had a habit of longingly gazing at several pictures of my travel destination until the date of our trip. But if you’re preparing a trip to Barcelona and its surrounding areas now, there’s new enticing visual imagery that will beat the Google image search any day: Woody Allen’s new movie Vicky Cristina Barcelona.

At Gourmand Breaks we love Woody and we love Barcelona, that’s why we have just launched our  Vicky Cristina Barcelona Tour visiting the movie locations here.  We are the first and by now the only travel agency in Spain to have this tour available – the city of Barcelona provides a pretty background to the plot and here at Gourmand Breaks we believe it will be great fun for Allen’s and travel lovers to be able enjoy the Mediterranean culture here, the same as Vicky and Cristina did.

Vicky and Cristina are two American girls, one of which is working on her studies in Catalan culture, and the seductive relationships that entangle them during their trip to Barcelona. While I can’t guarantee you’ll be seduced by Scarlett Johansson, Penélope Cruz or Javier Bardem on your own trip, I will guarantee that the scenery of Barcelona and the Catalan countryside surrounding will, just like it does in this sensual film.

At Gourmand Breaks we don´t stop at Barcelona- we offer food, wine and cultural tours around Spain, Portugal and SW France, why not see if there´s something for you on All Our Private Tours 




This multi-media fashion map from the New York Times–called “The Born Supremacy“–is a handy little feature on Barcelona’s booming Born District that’s worth taking a look at before visiting.

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The remarkably preserved fishing villages of the Costa Brava offer a beautifully blue and tranquil setting for restaurant visitors who want to eat the best seafood dishes available on the Mediterranean.

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