Discover a hidden spot of Catalonia
Catalonia is full of culture and food with a variety of landscapes. From Barcelona is easy to reach every hidden spot of Catalonia and visit them as it is on the middle, by the coast.
In this special post, we are going to introduce you to a northern region; talk about a little village, Santa Pau, and its traditional product named “fesols”.
First of all, why is this post so special? Well, it is special because Santa Pau is the village of Sandra, our collaborator. So, in this post, she is going to talk about it in first person with the love she has for her village and food.
Santa Pau, a jewel between volcanoes
Santa Pau is a little village in La Garrotxa, a region located just an hour and a half from Barcelona. It is surrounded by volcanoes, mountains, fields and a nice forest.
This medieval village itself is very beautiful, highlighting the Major square; with unequal arches and arcades that release a lot of personality, next to the castle. Santa Maria’s church is also placed in this square.
For me, the best part of my village are the narrow streets that start from the Major square. They have a lot of charm and they end on an arcade from where you can appreciate the sea between the mountains.
Walking around these streets during the day or the night changes the feeling they transmit. Even though I love it in both situations, my favorite one is during the night; for the orange lights and because no one is outside, so it is like you have the whole village for you.
Fesols, Santa Pau’s traditional product
Apart from its charm, Santa Pau has a traditional product that is very well known all around Barcelona. “Fesols” are like little, rounded and white beans, with a very soft taste and special characteristics because of the cultivation.
As the village is surrounded by volcanoes, these beans are cultivated on volcanic soil. Their qualities are acquired as this soil is light, porous and favors the retention of rainwater.
Since 2015, “fesols” have a protected designation of origin (P.D.O.) by the European Commission. The first “fesols” of the season are collected at the end of August, beginning of September. They are never sold by bulk, so you will always find them on stores with a packaging.
Sant Antoni’s festival
Each January, on the next Sunday after the 17th, this festival takes place in the middle of the village. In the Major square of Santa Pau, lots of restaurants of the region place their stands and prepare their own “fesols’” recipe. Then, the festival’s visitors taste their recipes.
I really like it as all the families and friends of Santa Pau and La Garrotxa go out, so that you meet everyone. Furthermore, the organization gives a gold bean to an inhabitant of the village that has helped or participated in Santa Pau’s events the most.
My favorite recipe is my grandma’s
My grandparents, Pere and Aurora, also live in Santa Pau, they have a garden and cultivate their own “fesols”. Therefore, we eat them in a regular basis and with different recipes.
These beans are usually eaten with oil and a Catalan sausage, but you can also eat them with a kind of bacon, with mussels, with cod, with garlic, with vegetables, with seafood, with mushrooms and others.
My favorite recipe is “fesols” with squid, mussels and clams. It is a very typical dish you can eat on a Sunday at my grandparent’s house. Also, it is always a great opportunity to share a meal all together and listen to the stories about their childhood.
Enjoy the nature around Santa Pau
Taking advantage of the natural environment, there are lots of things to visit around Santa Pau.
There are two main volcanoes, Santa Margarida and Croscat. Both are very nice but I love Croscat as you can see the inside part of the volcano and walk around the beautiful zone. Also, it is easier to reach.
“La Fageda d’en Jordà” is the special forest next to Santa Pau, as usually, the beech forest (fageda) does not grow that low. It is perfect to walk around or take a carriage to visit it. It is a very nice place to go with your kids.
Water also takes part in Santa Pau, it is very easy to walk from the village and reach waterfalls; like the one showed below. Taking a bath and enjoying this view is one of my favorite things to do in summer!
So, if you are around the region, do not forget to taste “fesols” and visit Santa Pau, this little village full of charm and nature.
Showing you the local gastronomic culture is fundamental in our tour; the knowledge we have as locals is the key element. Here you have all information about it: http://foodloverscompany.com.
Pictures from: Jacint Garrigolas Coll