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Barcelona diaries 2

by Oliver Benet

In many countries around the world, we can see how important breakfast is.

One of the most typical cases, if we are able to travel a little, is the full English Breakfast. It is compulsory for every tourist who visits the City of London to enjoy this kind of breakfast loaded with beans, eggs, bacon, sausages, mushrooms, etc.

But not only does the Anglo-Saxon world bear in mind that “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day”. We also observe it in Central Europe, Asian and North African countries.
When we talk about Barcelona, we find that, as a rule, the citizens do not eat anything special, just a coffee with milk and a couple of biscuits. It is clear that it is not a good idea to generalize, but it is a very tangible reality; yet it is customary in the middle of the morning to make a break and get a bite of something like pastries or sandwiches.
The boom that “brunch” has had in the trendy neighbourhoods of Barcelona is simply a folkloric conglomerate of snob people who, on the weekends, get mad for a pretzel, a muffin or a purpurin-scrambled egg.
However, in Catalonia, we have “The Fork Breakfast”, in fact it is still our local brunch, an extremely mix of food, which in many cases prevents you from lunch time.

Pork cheeks with roasted potatoes made and snapped by Oliver Benet

Our Fork Breakfast, so far, it was working people´s (peasants, farmers, even fishers) meal on the Catalan surroundings but not in the Catalan cities, maybe because of the stressful city lifestyle.
Nevertheless, it is slowly recovering again around the country. But it is true that it is still destined for moments where you have time, for thus on holidays. Fork breakfast needs friends, talking, enjoying, eating and drinking. Many people take advantage of the Sunday escapes from the cities to make these lunches in the countless restaurants, usually in the interior of the country, where contact with nature is fundamental, at least in my case. They tend to be historic restaurants and, in many cases, farm houses or peasants’ houses.
In Barcelona, and in other Catalan cities, it is relatively easy to find these restaurants, and, as I say, fortunately, they are recovering more and more.
What can you eat as a part of a Fork breakfast?

Well, frankly, everything, there is a great deal of huge and strong quantity of traditional food. With the exception of Fork Breakfast eaten in coastal populations, which is usually lighter containing just bread smeared with tomato, “a whole classic”, accompanied by anchovies, grilled sardines, squid and other sea animals.

Pork ears with tomato sauce made and snapped by Oliver Benet

But the most consumed Fork Breakfast, based on the aforementioned bread with tomato, we can find in the countryside, it is based in cold meats, stews, legumes, soups, cod, pork gut, kidneys, pig trotters, snails etc … always accompanied by local wine and ending it with some liquor of the area.

*Oliver Benet is a Catalan cook and writer of the book “Per què odiava en Ferran Adrià?”


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