Costa Daurada – Enjoy Fresh Seafood, Fine Wine and Local Produce in This Foodie Paradise
While initial thoughts of the Costa Daurada might be its long sandy beaches and blue waters, it’s also a fantastic destination for food lovers to indulge themselves thanks to its temperate climate, rich soil and coastal location.
As well as delicious fresh seafood and delicious red wines, the region is also home to a number of food festivals and award-winning restaurants. Please see below for a summary of local specialities and festivals in the Costa Daurada.
Foodie Festivals & Events
With so many different dishes to sample, it’s no surprise the Costa Daurada is home to various gastronomic festivals throughout the year.
For those who want to sample a bit of everything the tapas festivals along the coast are ideal, providing visitors with taster menus and foodie walking routes incorporating the local restaurants. Gastrotour Salou takes place from 26 May – 4 June with one of the events including a walking route from the town centre to the coast, with €2.50 tapas available along the way from restaurants and cafes. A similar event, La Mar de Tapes, is also held in Cambrils from 9 – 18 June.
In the first weekend of May the town of Falset hosts the Priorat Regional Wine Fair, celebrating the famous red produced in the designated wine region of Priorat. Wine aficionados could also visit the Wine and Gastronomy Show (12 – 15 October) in Cambrils where local restaurants pair dishes to chosen wines from the region.
Autumn is a popular time for food events with the third edition of Calamari Days set to take place from 29 September – 15 October in Cambrils, as well as the Festival of the Squid in Salou in November. October will also see the return of the Rally de Tapes, which takes place at the same time as the Costa Daurada Rally, taking visitors on a tapas circuit of Salou with tasty dishes available along the way.
Cambrils also hosts Olive Oil Days (20 October – 5 November) showcasing the best locally-produced oils at tasting events and Romesco Days (24 November – 10 December), a celebration of the famous Catalan sauce which is made from roasted red peppers and almonds.
Local Foodie Specialities
The Mediterranean lifestyle has had a big influence on the local cuisine, while the clear coastal waters provide high quality seafood. The traditional fishing village of Cambrils is ideal for those looking to try the catch of the day and travellers can still watch the fishermen’s boats return to shore each day in the afternoon with their latest haul. The waters along the Costa Daurada are famous for bluefish, sardines, whitebait and mackerel, that go straight from the fishermen’s nets to the plates in the coastal restaurants.
Further inland and guests could try typical Catalan dishes such as olla barrejada – a meat and vegetable stew, pig’s trotters with snails, rabbit with rice, wild boar and onion stew, partridge casserole and truita amb suc – omelettes with gravy. Olive oil is an essential part of cooking in the Costa Daurada and Siurana olive oil has been given protected designation of origin (PDO) status. Many artisan cheeses are also made in the region with Marvall from El Vendrell and Vall del Brugent from Capafonts worth seeking out.
Wine & Vermouth
The Costa Daurada has a long tradition of winemaking, with many vineyards open to visitors. Red wines, white wines, rosés, cavas and dessert wines are produced within the territory’s five winemaking regions and marked with their distinct PDO labels. Priorat is the most well-known territory with its rugged and mountainous landscape home to bold red wines, predominantly from Garnacha and Cariñena grapes.
Wine tourism is a strong attraction in the Costa Daurada, with many organised wine routes, tours of vineyards, tasting courses, wine-pairings, concerts, festivals and walking, bike and horseback excursions available throughout the year. A good starting place is the Wine Castle in Falset, a former 12th century fortress offering an overview of the Priorat wine region and also a viewing platform of the surrounding countryside.
The inland city of Reus is famous for its vermouth, having once been one of the hubs of world liquor production in the 19th century and home to over 30 vermouth producers. Today travellers could visit the Vermouth Museum to learn about the history of the liquor and to sample some of the local varieties.