Lunch under a Catalonian fig tree, Catalonia part I

When we booked the Barcelona trip I wanted to do something different and see a little bit more than just Barcelona. I love the city and have been before and don’t get me wrong, I could spend days/weeks walking around happily exploring and eating my way around the city. I found a traditional food and wine day trip that sounded just like something we would like, you can read about it here.

The pick up point was walking distance from the hotel and we were there at 8.50 AM ready for departure at 9AM, armed with warm sweaters and extra water bottles we were ready for the day ahead. The tour can take up to 10 people, we weren’t sure what to expect but it turned out to be just us and Feliciano, our lovely guide for the day.

As it was just us we had more time to stop and ask many questions about Spain in general and Catalonia in particular. We got a guided tour on our way out of Barcelona and got a better idea of the geography and the different parts of the city. However we were heading to the mountains. The first stop was a rustic typical Catalonia restaurant. The view from the restaurant was out over the mountains and it was stunning. The courtyard was full of different kinds of cactus and there were tables outside as well as inside. We went in and it was time for breakfast.

Barcelona_DayTripCactus

We had some, I suspect not completely common, chilled red wine.

Barcelona_DayTripWine

This was served with toast rubbed with tomato.

Barcelona_DayTripToast

Barcelona_DayTripTomatoBread

there were also local Spanish cheeses, cows and eves cheeseBarcelona_VDayTripCheeses

Goats cheese and jam

Barcelona_DayTripGoatsCheese

Full and happy after the morning vino we headed to Montserrat, way up in the mountains. On the top of the mountain there is a monastery. It is a Benedictine abbey and it is the most important religious retreat in Catalonia.

Barcelona_DayTripMonestary

It was decorated with some beautiful stone works.

Barcelona_DayTripChurchOrnament

The monastery is very large and it has a beautiful church. There was a mass when we were there and the chapel was filled to the brim by visitors and we even heard their famous boy choir sing! It did sound absolutely amazing!

We did a walk around and the views are stunning with vertical drops!

Barcelona_DayTripMonestaryView

An intriguing statue Barcelona_DayTripStatue

As we left we passed the original monastery, now only maintained not really used much.

Barcelona_DayTripOldMonestary

In the background we saw some unique mountains that Feliciano told us were a great challenge for mountain climbers.  They come out en masse when the weather allows and we did see quite a few of them. It did look very dangerous and as someone not great with heights I was pleased to be watching from a distance!

Barcelona_DayTrip_MountainView

There was a bit of a drive in the beautiful landscape and then it was lunchtime. Feliciano took us to a wonderful country side restaurant, Vinya Nova. We drove up through a large olive grove and all of the sudden a large wild boar crossed the road! It was way too fast for my camera but quite an experience. They are usually more active at dusk and dawn so this was a treat.

Views over the drive up to the restaurant

Barcelona_DayTripVinaNovaView

The restaurant manages to be very large but it still has a great atmosphere and we got a lovely table under a fig tree, not quite yet in bloom but with fat buds ready to burst.

barcelona_DayTripFigTree

They had a big basket of tomatoes on the table, not the uniform sized and perfectly red ones we buy in the supermarket but different size, slight rougher looking ones. The tomatoes and a garlic was to rub in to the bread but the flavour of the tomatoes on their own was just stunning. I could not stop eating them! Like when you pick a tomato ripe from the plant, still warm from the sunshine and full of flavour, tasting just like, well, a tomato!

Barcelona_vDayTripVinaNovaTomatoes

We got some nibbles, a local sausages and jamon.

Barcelona_DayTripSausages

The olive oil was from the olive groves surrounding us, no need to think about any carbon footprint!

Barcelona_DayTripOliveOil

With the meat we also had vegetables, roast potatoes and some steamed veg with aioli, very garlicky (I did not quite realize how strong it was until afterwards!), delicious!

Barcelona_VinaNovaStarter

We ate almost all of it, and I was still eating my way through the tomatoes and then the main course arrived. I could probably have been quite happy without it but it was so rustic and delicious I very happily tucked in!

It was lamb cutlets with chick peas and it was so delicious I could not stop eating! And I was still going on the tomatoes!

Barcelona_DayTripLamb

The wine was served in the Spanish El Porron wine decanter, an old and traditional way to share wine in groups.

Barcelona_DayTripVinaNovaVino

Thankfully dessert was large and plump raisins from the farm with biscotti and a glass of chilled muscat. It was so delicious, the food tasted to good and with nothing but olive trees and the Catalonian landscape all around I was starting to think that this is what life is all about!

Barcelona_DayTripBiscotti

Barcelona_DayTripRaisin

After this wonderful meal we left Vinya Nova. I could not resist turning around for a last peak, but it was time to head to the winery Pares Balta, and whilst the lovely Feliciano was driving our questions about everything Spanish finally ebbed out and full of wine and wonderful rustic food we drifted off for a nap in the backseat before our next, and last stop. Read all about Pares Balta in my next blog!

Barcelona_DayTripVinaNova_house

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