The whole reason we went to Spain this year is because we watched Masterchef in January, where the finalists had to do a service in El Celler De Can Roca. “Would you eat that food if you had the chance?” I asked the kids. “Of course”, they answered, “but that 2nd finalist needs to work on his plating-up technique…”. OK, I hadn’t really expected that response, but I took the hint, phoned the restaurant, booked the table for August, and only then sorted out the rest of the holiday…
Arrival or the pilgrims.
Now there’s not much point only doing a pilgrimage like this half-heartedly, so we invited friends along too. After much dressing up, application of lipstick (just the girls) etc, we arrived at the temple dedicated to Catalan food. What joys await!
2 tomes for wine – one for white, one for red…!
The menu is extraordinary. Choosing is impossible, so it’s simpler to go for the taster menu and have everything… (mind you, we went for the 9 course taster, there is a 14 course beast for those of greater hunger!).
The excitement begins before the main food gets near the table. The Amuses-bouches are a great way for the chefs to show off their talents, and it started with our first surprise. A paper lampoon, which unravels to reveal savoury bonbons:
Tastes of the World: Mexico, Peru, Thailand, Morocco and Japan
You have to work out which flavour is from which country
This next one is amazing: a miniature olive tree is brought to the table, with real olives hanging from the branches, that you pick and eat – right off the tree…
They taste caramelised and pop-corny
Campari explosions, truffled bonbons…
So at this point we haven’t even started the actual menu…. It arrives, each dish more exquisite that the last. Here’s a selection – to whet your appetite (haha…)
Oysters in Cava (which was still fizzing in the bowl!), apple compote, ginger, pineapple, lemon confit and spices
Sole with olive oil, fennel, bergamot, orange, pine nuts and green olives
Sierra Mayor Iberian suckling pig, melon, orange and beetroot (OMG – this is to die for…!)
OK, so I’ve missed a few dishes out (!?!), but hey, we need a drink! So of course, my daughter takes over wine tasting duties. in the other hand is a Coke. How typical!
El Rocallis 07 DO Penedes
Then come the desserts!!! Charles reaches Nirvana, and Imogen relaxes with a fag.
Gold and Chocolate makes a young man happy
A taste of Havana, and a Mojito ice cream
Who thought ash could taste nice !!! (it did…)
After all this indulgence the senses are refreshed with a perfume cone and a homage to Willy Wonker
A quintessence of lemon
Our waiter turns into Willy Wonker
All hail the Rocas brothers! We are overcome! Immy, who has made friends with Davide our waiter, asks him “to pass on our compliments to the chefs”. Davide ups the ante, and asks the kids if they would like to meet the chefs? So off we troop to the kitchen (!)
Joan Roca and the kids – how cool is that!!!
And then a tour of the wine cellar. Immy is so delighted she throws her arms around Davide to give him a hug. There is a tear in Davide’s eye. He has been charmed.
50,000+ bottles. I could stay here for ever.
This place is so fantastic. No feeling of pretentiousness or snobbery. The wonderful food, and the welcoming people. These are memories that will last for ever, and after all, isn’t that what it’s all about?
Smiling god-mother and god-daughter, and a wonderful meal.
If you like this post, here’s 2 food posts that I follow regularly: great food and great stories.