SPAIN: Priorat- Serious wines, serious food

Stay @ Mas Ardevol
Tour with Spanish Trails Adventure

When the Gourmet Traveller magazine in Australia featured Priorat wine region, introducing it as a hidden, non-touristy gem, it immediately perked my interest- I must get there!   So there you are- my food focus winery tours on one of the two wine regions we visited.  Priorat.  Enjoy.

Eat @ El Cellar de Gratallops
C/- Piro
34 977 893 076

After tasting some serious wines in the Priorat region, we expected a gourmet fare for lunch .  We were right.  This is a food and wine haven.

El Cellar de Gratallops is headed by a Michelin starred chef.  Unpretentious and friendly, he came out especially to explain the menu to us in English. He actually wrote his menu out in English for us.  We are totally touched.

His cuisine certainly live up to its Michelin star standard also- somehow he manages to make each dish perfect; creamy, rich dishes light with a really clean flavour.

Aprevito is a peas with foie gras foam and truffle oil.  It was a beautiful mixture of flavours, the foie gras is not too heavy, it simply melts in your mouth where a subtle sweetness lingers.

Cod salad in romesco sauce- everything screams “FRESH” in this dish.  Only the freshest slices of raw cod sashimi was placed before us, with a refreshing, vinegary romesco sauce, which is originated in the Catalonia region.  Simply sensational.

Jamon w/ celeraic cream- I am embarassed to say I am not a huge Jamon person, I like it but I don’t rate it (sorry guys!).  What I am most impressed with is the little dumpling sitting daintily in the bottom of the plate.  It was made of a semi transparent, glutinous wrapping that is similar to a particular Chiu Chow dim sum, and it was made perfectly.

Pork shank was the last course before our dessert.  Cooked for 25 hours, it was beautifully presented.  To be honest, it was a bit fatty for my liking.  I tried eating sans fat but then it was a bit dry.  Best to eat it the way God intended it to be eaten.  Hubby said it was the best dish out of everything.

To complete our lunch indulgence we get 2 desserts- cheese and a sweet dessert surprise!  Piggy absolutely hates choosing between cheese and sweet dessert so I am as happy as pig in the mud.

I love the cheese dish but to be honest, the absolute eye opener is this “dessert surprise”- carrot cake w/ coconut in a berry and yoghurt sauce.  Hubby wrinkled his nose- where is the chocolate cake?  He wondered.  He is no big fan of any of the state ingredients.  Guess who ate all his share and was eyeing on mine?  I have never eaten such gorgeous carrot cake before.  It was light, subtly sweet and was a perfect finish to a meal.

At 35 Euros for a 6-course lunch with a bottle of wine it is fantastic value.  If I am lucky enough to go back to Priorat again I will definitely go back there.  10/10

Eat @ Mas Ardevol Inn
Carretera Porrera, 43730 Falset
34 630 324 587

This is the little inn featured in the Gourmet Traveller Australia magazine.  This little inn features simple, rustic home-style cooking.   It was so exciting to be there, but to be honest I was a bit underwhelmed after all the good food we have eaten in the past few days.  Everything was good, but it breathtakingly awesome like the other food I’ve blogged about.

We got slices of cheese for pre-dinner tapas, which is great to nibble on.  Then more cheese herby oil to go with bread which is yummy.

Entree was a very beautiful homemade vegies pasta with lots of freshly cracked pepper.  It was simple but delicious.

Hubby had a steak that is simply seasoned with pepper and sides of grilled zucchini and onion.   Hubby’s is a meat and potato guy and whilst he was happy with the meat, he wasn’t too happy that there wasn’t any potatoes to go with it.

The steak is also slightly dry.

I chose a fish course, thinking that I will get a small filleted piece of fish.  Oh how I was wrong!  I got a  baked whole fish which was fantastic- until I realised that the skin on the fish was not edible- there’s still scales attached to it.  Eeeeekkkk.

The fish is slightly overcooked and is a bit tough.

Thank goodness the dessert fully made up the disappointing mains.  A lovely dessert of strawberry semi-freddo was the highlight of the night.  Very simple but it was delicious and refreshing after all the oily food we have eaten during our trip.

If you like simple, home cooked food, this is probably the place you want to be.  Just don’t eat the skin of the fish!  6.5/10