Catalan products around the world
In times gone by, "à la Catalane" was an international moniker for any dish with aubergine and rice on the side. Although this definition can still be found in many dictionaries, including the Oxford, this year people are beginning to think differently about Catalan food and drinks. Below are a few of our products and customs that have won hearts worldwide.
Wine and cava
Catalonia is the region with the most exporting wineries in Spain. There are 270 companies that sell wine worldwide, primarily to Germany, the US, Belgium, UK, Japan, France, Switzerland, Netherlands, Canada and Sweden, where it can be found not only in shops and supermarkets, but also on the menus of each country’s top restaurants. In addition to the 11 wine PDOs, cava is extremely successful, with a loyal customer base that is growing every year. Every day Catalan wines are mentioned in guides and international press and by best sommeliers and critics, not only because of their quality but also the rich terroir and strong commitment to natural viticulture. Programmes such as Catalan Wines and Weine aus Katalonien foster trade agreements and endeavour to solve any logistical issues.
Olive oil - both virgin and extra virgin - is an essential product in the Mediterranean diet and has universal potential as it is suitable for everyone. Increasing numbers of foreign consumers are aware of its nutritional benefits and capacity to enhance any dish. In 2018, 259 companies exported almost 100,000 tonnes, although not all of that is shipped in bottles. Italy is a paradoxical example as it is the top buyer of Catalan olive oil and uses it to mix it with its own extractions. This goes to show that our oil has exceptional organoleptic characteristics, but also shines a light on the work we still need to do to acknowledge our farmers and ensure traceability. Oil is the foundation of all our recipes, including sweets, and provides the structure for sauces that are enjoyed all over, such as allioli, romesco and picada, which are increasingly found in food magazines and websites.
Catalans make the world a sweeter place thanks to the expertise and constant curiosity of its pastry chefs and artisan companies, in addition to high quality ingredients which yield results that are sugary but as healthy as possible. The traditional sweet calendar has given us an array of goods that have gone beyond our local festivals to cross the globe. It is no longer a surprise to find bakeries in the US, Belgium, England or Australia where you can order tortells, mones and coques a month or two in advance to be sent from bakeries in Catalonia or other continents. Torrons, neules, catànies and other chocolate-based sweets that are easily transported are very widespread beyond Catalonia where they put smiles on many faces.
Cheese and charcuterie
Some cheeses cannot travel far because of their characteristics, but several varieties of hard and aged cheeses can be found in specialist shop windows, especially delicatessens, alongside other more widely known foreign cheeses. Today's consumers appreciate both texture and taste, which is the best reflection of the direct landscape as it can convey the richness of vegetation in the fields. Dried sausages such as the PGI Vic llonganissa, fuet and others such as llom, bull and xoriço can be shipped abroad thanks to active and smart packaging that protects their properties. Cheeses and dried sausages alike can arrive safely and with quality certificates that help to build trust between sellers and the end customer.