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CATALAN CUISINE AT ITS FINEST Catalan cuisine the first cuisine in Europe Born in the 14th and 15th centuries




Hellena Cardus Publisher AICS President Winter 2016

Welcome to our Winter 2016 edition of CATALONIA, a quarterly publication by AICS (American Institute for Catalan Studies) which is based in the mega metropolis of Houston, Texas. This is the eighth edition of CATALONIA and over the past year AICS/ CATALONIA Staff has grown and expanded over 2 continents and consists of the following contributors. Hellena Cardus, AICS President, V.P. of North America FIEC (Federation of Catalan Entities), CATALONIA Publisher Roslyn Smith, AICS Cultural Arts Chairperson, Editor in Chief, CATALONIA Jordi Guillem, AICS Vice President, Senior Writer, CATALONIA Mayte Duarte Seguer, AICS Cultural Liaison, Interviewer and Senior Writer CATALONIA Gonรงal Mayos, Senior Writer, CATALONIA Esther Beltran, AICS Scientific Liaison, Senior Writer CATALONIA AICS has translated and published Catalan literary works including Uncertain Glory by Joan Sales, translated by David Rosenthal, The Catalan Nation and its People, by Josep Carner-Ribalta and Public Power in Catalunya, by Philip B. Taylor. We encourage you to become a member by visiting our website and receive a complimentary copy of CATALONIA. If you are interested in becoming a Sponsor for CATALONIA magazine, please contact: Jordi Guillem Share the Experience!


Roslyn Smith Editor-in-Chief AICS Cultural Arts Chairperson

Winter 2016


On front cover Overlook of the Sa Palomera Rock from the beaches of Blanes By Maxis

CATALONIA FACTS ° Population, 7·6 million people (like Switzerland) ° Surface area: 32,114 km2 (bigger than Belgium) ° GDP: €204,000 million (like Denmark) ° Over 10 million people speak Catalan in Spain, France and Italy (more than Swedish for example). ° Catalonia’s Government has had 129 Presidents to date. Its first Constitution dates back to the 13th century.

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CATALONIA MAGAZINE is published quarterly by AICS- American Institute for Catalan Studies . Contact: Publisher Hellena Cardus Editor-in-Chief Roslyn Smith Senior Writer Jordi Guillem © 2016 CATALONIA MAGAZINE. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is prohibited. Printed in the U.S.



Unlike Scotland, Catalonia has not been given the chance to have a definitive say on its independence. Does this further the cause for secessionists? By Daniel Coyne

Democracy, and by that I mean the modern, Western understanding of it, is a near-sacred concept. The right for people to freely and fairly elect their leaders – and for their leaders to therefore possess a legitimate mandate for governance – is seen as inalienable in the Western world. We take it for granted. We shouldn’t. It is an inconsistent idea that the powerful are at liberty to interpret in whichever way they see fit. The differing recent experiences of Scotland and Catalonia’s independence movements reveal how democracy can in one instance be broadly respected, and in the other used as a weapon to shut down voices that loudly and democratically challenge the status quo. On 27 September Catalans went to the polls in a regional election, which was dubbed by seemingly everyone outside of Madrid as an unofficial independence referendum. Why was it being labelled as such? Because last year the Catalan parliament announced a referendum for independence. It had a clear mandate to do so, owing to the undisputed electoral success of independence-minded parties and yet the Spanish government decided to challenge the proposed vote. The government’s appeal to the Constitutional Court of Spain saw the referendum suspended.

The referendum still went ahead – unofficially, of course – and saw 84.6% of voters voice their approval for independence. Yet the Spanish government’s view on the matter was clear. The referendum defied the Spanish constitution and was therefore illegitimate. Let us contrast this to the Scottish experience. To its credit, the UK government allowed a Scottish independence referendum to take place in 2014, having recognized the electoral success of the separatist Scottish National Party, which secured a clear victory in the 2011 Scottish parliament elections.


The three major British political parties all campaigned for the Union to remain intact and they succeeded. The British political establishment, unlike its Spanish counterpart, had the maturity to give the people of Scotland a definitive say on whether they wished to remain as part of the UK or to secede and go it alone. If we return our focus to Catalonia, where on Sunday the pro-independence parties won a majority of seats in parliament. The exact levels of support for Catalan independence vary according to who you ask, with both sides in the debate naturally exaggerating their own support base. It is beyond doubt, however, that at least a sizeable minority of Catalan voters want full independence from Spain. The Spanish government has of course secured its own democratic mandate to govern, having been chosen for office by the entire Spanish electorate. It also has its own perfectly sensible reasons for wanting Catalonia to remain part of Spain. Aside from patriotic notions of Spanish unity, it benefits Spain economically to have the relatively wealthy and productive Catalonia as part of the family. Yet the national government in Madrid isn’t the sole legislative power in Spain, a highly decentralized country divided into 17 autonomous communities, each with its own legislature. Catalan elections consistently garner a lot of support for the independence cause. In refusing to allow an independence referendum to be held, the Spanish government chooses to utilize its own mandate as a democratically-elected body to overrule a subordinate yet equally legitimate body. A body that is simply seeking to serve the interests of the people that voted for it. As Catalonia is at an apparently irreparable political impasse, what implication does this example have for our understanding of democracy? Simply that democracy – and the ability to define it – lies in the hands of those who wield the greatest power. I have no personal view as to whether Catalonia and Scotland should become independent countries, chiefly because I’m neither Catalan nor Scottish. But at least the people of Scotland were given the chance to speak definitively on the matter.

The way that the Spanish government resolutely shuts down the independence debate by ignoring a large portion of its citizenry is deeply problematic. Judging by recent developments in Catalonia, this intransigence may ironically be furthering the cause of the secessionists as voters realize they aren’t being listened to, and therefore shout all the louder.

About the author Daniel Coyne is a London-based writer with a focus on democratic theory and European politics. Follow him on twitter @DanielCoyne89.



ROMEVA: “THE VALUES OF THE ´CASTELLS´ HELP US TO EXPLAIN CATALONIA TO THE WORLD” Minister Raul Romeva collected the Ambassador of Castells Award from the Castells Magazine on behalf of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Institutional Relations and Transparency of the Catalan Government. The head of this department was grateful for the award and stressed that "the values of the castells have helped us to explain Catalonia to the world for a long time."

The award was presented during the 9th edition of "Night of Castells", the annual meeting of the world casteller held in Valls. The Ambassador of Castells Award recognizes a person or institution that without forming part of the castell world helps to spread the tradition beyond Catalonia. In this case, the Castells magazine has given it to the Department of Foreign Affairs so that they "take the castells as an example of the image and the values that Catalonia can offer the world on its way to achieving statehood". "Without values such as common sense, strength and balance a castell can collapse and without these same values you cannot build a country either¨, said the Minister. Romeva added that "the sum of all the values form the casteller world shows that it is possible to deconstruct a historical four by ten person castell, as we have seen this season."

During his speech, Romeva recognized that while exercising a political role "is circumstantial", "being a casteller always stays with you". The minister has been commissioned to deliver the Lifetime Achievement Award to Helena Llagostera, awarded for her strong and continuous path within the Colla Joves since she was a little girl and for being "the first woman leader of a leading casteller group ". The Night of Castells also benefited from the presence of the Secretary General of the Presidency of the Government, Joaquim Nin, the Catalan Government delegate in Tarragona, Oscar Peris, and the CEO of Popular Culture, Associations and Cultural Action, Lluís Puig.



Catalonia is living a historical turning point. The democratic grass– roots movement for Catalonia to become a new European state has been growing and has been very active in recent years.

2013– 1.6 million people participated in a 300 mile long human chain in support of Catalan Independence. 2014—1.8 million formed a giant V in Barcelona 11km, occupied over 200,000 square meters and forming a Guinness record Catalan flag. 2015—1.7 million people along the Meridian Avenue in Barcelona, 5 kilometers long, and a symbolic ballot funning along the avenue until it was put into a ballot box.

In 2012, the organization made a step forward and positioned in favor of the independence of Catalonia. Since then, it has campaigned to back Catalan society’s wish to hold a referendum in 2014, which took place on November the 9th but in an unoffi“Ara és L’hora is the campaign being procial way. moted by Òmnium Cultural and National Assembly of Catalonia in favor of indeSeptember the 11th has seen mass civic and pendence. It has mobilized thousands of peaceful demonstrations since 2012: volunteers and its aim is to expand the 2012– 1.5 million people demonstrated in social majority in favor of independence. Barcelona in support of a new Catalan state in Europe.



The demand for a referendum like that of Quebec or Scotland is supported by a clear majority in our society, and is in line with long democratic tradition of Europe. Two thirds of the Catalan Parliament (90 out of 135 members of six political parties) were in favor to have a self-determination referendum on November 9th 2014. But Catalans have not been allowed to hold a referendum on independence by the Spanish Government, even though for the last four years, September 11—National Day of Catalonia– has seen civic, peaceful massive demonstrations for the right of Catalans to decide about their future, with more than 1.5 million participants each year. Despite the prohibition, 2.3 million identified people voted symbolically last November, 9th 2015, in a public consultation on independence. It was considered the first step in a two-round process. The recent election for the Catalan Parliament was held on the September 27th 2015. The political parties for independence got 72 seats of 135 , and the 47.74% of the votes. The political parties against the independence obtained 39%, and the parties with a non decided opinion about independence, 11.5%.


Òmnium Cultural is a cultural organization

founded in 1961 as a resistance to the

dictatorship. It has worked for more than fifty years as a civil society organization to promote the Catalan language and culture and social cohesion. Òmnium Cultural has over 53,000 members and more than 30 local branches. It has a national board and local ones, all of them ruled by elected volunteers for a period of 4 years. Public funds do not exceed 4% of the total budget; each member pays a fee which covers most of it, around 3 million euros annually. To achieve its aim of promoting the Catalan language and culture and social cohesion, it organizes campaigns, activities and programs such as the Catalan Literature Prize of Honor (Premi d’Honor de les Lletres Catalanes), child and youth literature contests, Saint George day of books celebration, social cohesion programs and hundreds of different cultural activities all around the country. Òmnium is also a promoter of the platform which defends the model of linguistic immersion that enables students in Catalonia to finish their compulsory studies with knowledge of both Catalan and Spanish language literature, avoids social divisions for language reasons and facilitates new Catalan integration.





























































Photo by Rob Hogeslag

Photo by Neil Thompson


Castle of Sant Joan

Sant Francesc Beach Photo by Jorge Franganillo

Gothic Fountain







If you have ever eaten at Sentits at Platja de S’Abanell at Blanes, or on Travessera de la Creu near Girona’s train station then you will know full well how impossible it is to forget what they make possible with their exquisite dishes, served in a setting in which you can lose yourself in the majesty in which they present every plate of food, we can feel touched by experiences that will stay with us through the smiles of some of the best people I’ve had the pleasure to meet. And a nightmare for any journalist who wants to interview them. All reporting starts with research, and in the case of the chef there was not much of what you might call a biography. Yet he is far from unknown. He is online after all, but when we search for images we find his creations, his smiles, his hopes, his happy customers and most of all his friends. He can only be found within his personal and culinary sphere, around a table before or after working his magic, and the same can be said of his multi-facetted partner, who without even getting near the kitchen is still a vital element and alumnus of Sentits, both in Blanes and Girona. In today’s article we get up close and personal with Òscar Vilà, José Maria Rodríguez and Sentits. We begin with a bit of history.


MD. - Jaume Fàbrega, gastronome, food historian, professor of gastronomy at the UAB, journalist and Gourmand World cookbook winning critic, as well as other literary prizes linked with gastronomy dealing with topics such as “Catalan cuisine doesn’t consist of a select number of dishes”, as well as supporting ideas such as “There is a Catalan national cuisine, a cuisine of the Països Catalans, which has a history of its own. It was the first cuisine in Europe, born in the 14th and 15th centuries” and the golden age we are currently experiencing is no accident but is the fruit of our culinary history. What have we truly inherited from all this? OV. - At a culinar y level the tr adition has always been maintained. What has happened in Catalunya is that before we had a very “closed off” cuisine, just for ourselves, but then during the 1980s there came Ferran Adrià changing everything. Thereafter followed well-known names such as the Roca del Celler brothers of Can Roca, Nando Jubany of Can Jubany, and many others, who with a dedication to this land and to its roots have turned their hand to traditional cuisine by modernizing it. Thus, mirroring a process that was happening across the rest of Spain, these great chefs brought Catalan cuisine to an international audience to such an extent that today Catalunya is the number one gastronomic power on the world stage, ,with almost all Michelin starred restaurants the world over having traditional Catalan dishes of some sort on their menus. Everything began with the deconstruction of “pa amb tomàquet”, “pa amb oli i xocolata”, “gelat d’oli d’oliva”, ”pa amb vi i sucre”... MD. - Is there a generation dedicated to what we might call “experimental gastronomic archaeology”? OV. - J aume Fàbr ega was one of the pioneer s with a wealth of exper ience. I met him in 1982 at Can Gibert de Palafolls at one of the Jornades gastronòmiques de la patata where Jose Maria Arzak was also present, who is by the way one of the most prominent and best known figures in the gastronomic world, representing traditional back-to-basics cuisine in the Basque Country, a movement heavily linked to the transition to democracy and spreading of the roots of its identity. They were the real trailblazers and Catalonia became part of this movement later on, despite the fact Jaume Fàbrega had already carved out a career that was more famous overseas than in Catalonia itself. MD. - We have a cuisine with its own grammar, the ”mar i muntanya” (“surf & turf”) created by Catalan fisherman. In fact the use of fish is perhaps one of the most important parts of a Mediterranean diet. How did this contrasting cuisine arise? OV. - In this sense we Catalans ar e par t of the avant-garde, mixing inland and coastal produce, sweet and savoury, and behind all these trends as they modernized came the cold/hot balance, and then in the 1990s bitter was worked in, a difficult combination due to the difficulty of finding the right balance. MD. - Catalan cuisine has always been one of contrasts, where we find the four elements in nearly every dish. Can we describe this dual cuisine as "zen"?


OV.- Our cuisine has always been a dual one. One of the most symbolic tr aditional dishes to be found on any menu in Catalonia is the salad. In the 1980s a salad had perhaps three or four colours- lettuce, tomato, onion, olives, served with regional dishes such as xató and escarola. Then things got innovative thanks to Ferran Adrià’s legendary “amanida de contrastos”. Nowadays a salad isn’t just three colours, and here at home we’ve modernized it, working with cold and warm contrasts as well as adding KM0 tomato ice cream MD.- In June the IX Jornades Gastronòmiques del Suquet at Sa Palomera. What makes suquet de peix the signature dish of Catalan coastal cuisine? OV.- It’s the signatur e dish of coastal cuisne because you find on ever y menu in ever y restaurant in every coastal town or village in Catalunya. It has its origins in suquet de barca which in Blanes was traditonally prepared with a lot of oily fish. However seeing as fishermen only fish in order to sell their catch, nowadays you hardly find it as there is more demand for fish like hake or monkfish which are considered better quality fish. At Sentits our suquet is primarily based on suquet de barca, with a base ofpotatoes, picada and fish stock. Depedning on the catch of the day it could be made with bonito, mackerel or anchovies. This year we’ve even added marine plankton as a personal touch. A dish developed by Àngel León and which is still going strong. It has a wonderful taste of the sea and people love it. Thus With these new additions we’ve been able to keep this dish alive. Suquet is one of the shocase dishes of Catalan cisine, with a solid base and then flexibility to add what you haveto hand at that moment. MD.- So you mean to that suquet both belongs to cuina de rebost (“pantry cuisine”, inland cuisine), misunderstood as a seasonal cuisine depending on what is available at the time, as well as “cuina de barca” (coastal cuisine). OV. - Absolutely. Gastronomic traditions are like this. In my case I was brought up in the interior, with breakfasts of grilled cansalada (Catalan streaky bacon) and the smell of olive oil, with the aromas and textures of the mountains. When I arrived in Blanes my horizons were expanded. On our menus for example you can more comforting dishes such as stewed ox tail, cooked inland style slowly with red wine. We place it between two layers of biscuit and we add fried sonsos (Catalan whitebait). There you have the tenderness of the meat, the crunch of the biscuit and crispness of the fish. A modern yet different mar i muntanya dish, with a touch of aioli. The thing you are looking for with cooking is to enjoy yourself, surprise yourself and respecting traditional cuisine whilst giving it your personal touch and variety in order to not bore the palate . MD. - Until very recently a couple of fried eggs were considered an undervalued dish, is eating a couple of fried eggs now considered a sybaritic act? OV. - I think after the tr ansition, wher e ever ything industr ialized, volume and quantity has taken greater precedence over quality. For a few years now we’ve been bringing back what’s called slow food of KM0 food, which makes use of high quality local organic produce.


MD. - One of the elements that are found in almost all of your dishes is the use of herbs, and indeed Catalunya has a long tradition of using herbal remedies. Do you consciously make use of this marvellous pharmacopoeia in your dishes? OV. - Of course, our menu is created very consciously. Right now we are working with things called coastal halophytes. In Blanes we’ve been able to find colonies of rupiculous plants and sea fennel that we have been able to collect ourselves. In doing so we’ve been able to revive a tradition that has almost been lost in coastal villages in Catalonia but has been maintained in the Balearic Islands because of their tradition of pickling sea fennel. In the same way we also conduct Research and Development into raw materials and we distance ourselves from our own tradition and incorporate influences from other cultures, such as a sauce made from fermented salt marsh vegetables from Korea. In short, whether you follow one school of cooking or another is not as important as working from a perspective of respect and conscience. As well as slow food and KM0 we also like to be conscious of recycling, and that entails a life philosophy. MD. - How did Sentits as a project come about? OV. - El Sentits de Blanes came fr om a wor ry about doing something fulfilling. I star ted in this trade 30 years ago in a restaurant in Artès, an inn/guesthouse called Cal Corder. A family who were friends with one of my uncles had bought the place. Meanwhile I wanted to go to culinary school, and seeing as I come from a family of cooks who know full well that this a profession that involves a lot of sacrifice, they wanted to persuade me not to go into it. But that summer only helped to reaffirm my belief in my vocation, and there was no turning back. At the Sant Narcís Culinari School in Girona I had the pleasure of learning from great masters such as Manuel Romero, Joan Roca and Salvador Bruguès amongst others. Great professionals that we met at the same time that old building, which had been originally set up as the trade union school, and the inauguration of the new building, a great milestone of transition. I did my training and professional development in the north and after that I went to work in Scandinavia with some friends where we after a while decided to go at it alone and in 2000 we won our first Michelin star at Oro in Oslo. That really puts you on cloud nine but after a while things take a turn for the worse as stress and pressure builds, so after a year and a half I decided to go back to Catalunya. I worked in a couple of different places before we decided to open a restaurant ourselves, to start enjoying things. Obviously it is a business, but we’ve managed to reach the stage where the whole Sentits team can live and enjoy what we’re doing.

Fonell Mari (Sea Fennel)


MD. - And in Girona, aren’t you missing somewhere inland in order to complete the twoway circle? During it seems like a pretty risky bet during these troubled economic times. OV. - Gir ona has been a victim of cir cumstances slightly. A fr iend of our s, Iolands Bustos, gastronome and sculptor specializing in “botanical cuisine”, had a restaurant which had to close due to a new project in a farm house. We met a few times and she was drawing everything. MD.- At Sentits’ links, connections and synergies are created that go far beyond knowing the origins of the raw materials and good creation and presentation. OV. - Sometimes what is known as haute cuisine is not always entir ely conscious of the cost that goes into preparing a menu. It doesn’t just involve the premises, the kitchen and the dining room. There are also the people involved in getting the raw materials from the stand down at the fish market to the purveyors of the best quality eggs, organic and sustainable farm produce or a local winery. This is why we believe that nothing is too expensive if you take into account where it’s come from and how it came to be. We enjoy seeing our clients enjoy themselves as well as seeing them satisfied. It’s not just a matter of sitting down and eating, it’s about enjoying, sharing, discussing and even surprising, such as when we serve one of our signature salads which is shaken up in a cocktail shaker. One of my favourite moments is at the end of service to walk through the tables to gauge how things have gone, up to the point where there is someone waiting for you and you are able to share your experience with theirs. They ask you questions and even offer you constructive critiques which help you better understand as well as helping you to find that right balance that I mentioned earlier, and so you end service feeling enriched and satisfied. *** In this world of constant spectacle in which we are currently immersed the old Roman saying “Caesar’s wife must be above suspition” is now truer than ever, and this is what José Maria Rodríguez takes care of, and under his supervision he creates something eternal and immortal on scoial media. No airbrushing, no extra software, no filters, no deceptions. What he manages to convey is the same as what you find in the dishes coming out of the kitchen day after day, regadless of the changing produce of the day. Cream Cake


He performs a silent task, acting as interpreter and translator at times of that which on ones plate is fleeting but which with sense and impulse bcomes tradition. A restless, wise and multifacetted observer, he shares more than just a life philosophy with Òscar Vilà. We both have our creative nyspasies firing. We’re both effective communicators and at the same time are able to come together despite having differnet languages in order to do what we know best: sharing, in the most pure way, in this generation’s new 21st century Catalan renaiassance. Catalan cuisine is a fundamental part of our heritage and is as intrisitic to our culture as castells or sardana. They say that humans are led by their eyes and are won over through our stomachs. At Sentits we learn, we remember and we enjoy. From agriculture to culture. From land and sea to table. From table to tongue. Mayte Duarte, 2016. OSCAR VILÀ I GUARDIOLA – Born in Sant Vicenç de Castellet in the comarca of Bages on july 15th 1974. Trained at the Sant Narcís Cookery School in Girona (class of 1993). Practicals at Celler de Can Roca, Girona Stage in Es Poblet, currently at Quique Dacosta Dénia (* Michelin star, now *** Michelin tars), placement at Arzak (*** estrelles, Michelin), San Sebastian. Amongst many titles he is 1994 Finalist at the Chaine des Rotissieurs young cooks competition Provosts prize for comunity service, 1999. 2 week placement in Norway, with an emphass on International Cuisine. Winner of the 1997 National Cooking & Restaurants Services . Restaurant Mamma Rosa, Oslo. Vip Gourmand Guia Michelin Oro restaurant, Oslo (* Michelin), Participant in the preparation of the national delegation for partiicpation in the Bocusse d´Or. Restaurant director of the Gran Casino Costa Brava, Lloret de Mar. Now involved with the Sentits project. JOSÉ MARIA RODRÍGUEZ MAQUEDA – Born in May 8th 1972. Technical training in electrics/electornics, graphic design, web programming and holder of a Masters in Community Management from the Initec School in Barcelona. Experience as a technical assistant at Radio Marina Blanes. Technical Assistant at Canon in the office teams branch and systems technician at Abertis motorways. Now involved with the Sentits project.

Sentits in Girona



lr_sentits#gamba #girona #blanes

Bombรณn de Bloody Mary




Six Catalan Poets History shows how Catalan culture has overcome critical situations far more adverse than the present. The Catalan language has not been replaced and this anthology contains four Catalans, one Valencian and one Mallorcan, who, although they lived through the tail end of the dictatorship, grew up under a democratic regime. Together, their work could not be more modern, comprehensive or polyphonic: politics and history cohabit with love (both heterosexual and homoerotic), learned allusion and popular image, stanzaic rigour and freedom of form, the song to the land of one's birth and hymn to the voyage. Featuring the work of six of Catalonia's leading poets Josep Lluís Aguiló, Elies Barberà, Manuel Forcano, Gemma Gorga, Jordi Julià, Carles Torner - translated by a prizewinning translator, and with an introductory essay which sets the poets within a wider literary context.

“Six Catalan Poets presents, for obvious reasons, a much more diverse experience in which the linking factor is simply the continued belief in the Catalan language as a rich source of literature – the long and very useful introduction insists on the nearthousand-year continuity of Catalan literature “ Ian Revie, The Warwick Review, March 2014 32 | CATALONIA | AICSUSA.ORG

Record year for the Port of Barcelona and Barcelona-El Prat Airport

CATALAN ECONOMY The Port of Barcelona ended 2015 with positive results in its key traffic indicators. The record figures are related to foreign trade and certain strategic cargo segments such as vehicles and motorways of the sea. The Port of Barcelona results also indicate that export container traffic in 2015 was 52% higher than before the onset of the crisis in 2008. In 2015 containers registered 2 million TEUs, up 4% year on year. This growth was even higher if taken only in terms of foreign trade. Export containers at the Port of Barcelona increased by 6.5%, while on the import side there was year-on-year growth of 9%. There is also a significant change in the make-up of the foreign trade handled by the Port: while imports accounted for 54% of international trade and exports for 46% in 2008, today this ratio has been inverted, with 58% of containers for export and 42% for import. The Barcelona-El Prat Airport closed 2015 with a new record of nearly 40 million passengers in 2015. According to data released by AENA, the Spanish Airport Authority, 39.7 million passengers used Barcelona El Prat Airport's facilities in 2015. The increase over 2014 is a noteworthy 5.7%. In the International sphere, the market which grew the most in comparison to 2014 was the Latin American (21.7%), followed by Middle East (19.5%) and North America (10%). The African market grew by 4% and passengers from Asia registered a slight 0.3% increase. With 288.878 take-offs and landings in 2015, there were 1.8% more operations than in 2014. As regards cargo transport, Barcelona-El Prat Airport closed 2015 totaling 117.219 tones that is an increase of 19.9% over 2014. The international cargo routes from outside the EU where those which grew the most in 2015 (25.6%), followed by those from within the EU (3.5%). Both exports and imports grew during 2015.









Si heu dinat o sopat al Sentits a la Platja de S’Abanell de Blanes o a Girona a la Travessera de la Creu prop de l’estació, de ben segur que us serà impossible oblidar qui ha fet possible que amb els seus exquisits plats, servits en un entorn on un es pot perdre guiat pels seus cicerones en presentar-nos cada plat, ens puguem sentir acaronats per experiències que ens quedaran fixades a la memòria per un parell dels millors somriures que he tingut el plaer de conèixer. I el malson de qualsevol periodista que vulgui fer-los una entrevista. Tot reportatge comença per una recerca documental, en el cas del xef, no existeix el que anomenaríem bibliografia. I no és pas un desconegut. Si que el trobarem a la xarxa, evidentment! Però quan vulguem veure imatges només descobrirem les seves creacions, els seus somnis, les seves il·lusions, els clients satisfets i sobretot els seus amics. Només el trobarem en la seva obra personal i culinària, al voltant d’una taula abans o després d’exercir el seu mestratge. I el mateix podríem dir del seu polièdric soci, que sense acostar-se als fogons és un element vital i alma mater dels Sentits, tant a Blanes com a Girona. Avui fent sobretaula ens acostarem a Òscar Vilà, en José Maria Rodríguez i el Sentits. I començarem fent memòria de la nostra història, la de tots. MD.- Jaume Fàbrega, gastrònom, historiador especialitzat en història de la cuina, professor de gastronomia de l’UAB, periodista i crític guanyador en diverses ocasions del Gourmand World Cookbook, i d'altres premis literaris relacionats amb la gastronomia teoritza desfent tòpics que “la cuina catalana no són uns plats determinats”, i defensa que “hi ha un sistema culinari català, una cuina nacional catalana, dels Països catalans, que té història. Que és el primer sistema culinari europeu, que neix en els segles XIV i XV” i que l’edat d’or que viu en aquest moment no és fruit d’una casualitat sinó d’un sistema amb història. Què hem heretat realment de tot això, què mantenim?


OV.- A nivell culinar i la tr adició s’ha mantingut sempr e. El que ha succeït aquí a Catalunya els últims vint i cinc anys, teníem una cuina molt tancada, per nosaltres mateixos, I a la dècada dels 80’ va aparèixer en Ferran Adrià capgirant-ho tot. Seguit d’altres noms tant coneguts com els germans Roca del Celler de Can Roca, en Nando Jubany de Can Jubany, i molts d’altres, que compromesos amb la terra i les arrels li van donar un tomb en aquesta cuina tradicional modernitzant-la. Així, quelcom que era d’àmbit peninsular, aquests grans cuiners la donen a conèixer a nivell internacional fins el punt que avui en dia Catalunya és la primera potència gastronòmica a nivell mundial. Amb restaurants arreu del món amb estrelles Michelin, amb la particularitat de que gairebé tots tenen a les seves cartes plats d’arrels tradicionals catalanes. Tot va començar amb la desconstrucció del “pa amb tomàquet”, “pa amb oli i xocolata”, “gelat d’oli d’oliva”, ”pa amb vi i sucre”... MD.- Hi ha una generació que s’ha dedicat a fer el que podríem dir arqueologia experimental gastronòmica? OV.- En J aume Fàbr ega va ser un dels pioner s amb un ampli cur r ículum, el vaig conèixer l’any 82 a Can Gibert de Palafolls en unes Jornades gastronòmiques de la patata on també hi era en Jose Mari Arzak que aleshores era una de les figures més destacades i reputades en l’àmbit gastronòmic, representant la nova cuina d’arrels i tradició del País Basc. Un moviment molt lligat a la transició i dedicat a recuperació i difusió de les seves arrels identitàries. Ells van ser els primers en obrir el camí com a referent i Catalunya s’hi va afegir una mica més tard, malgrat que en Jaume Fàbrega ja portava una notable trajectòria més reconeguda fora que no pas a casa nostra. MD.- Tenim una cuina amb gramàtica pròpia, el “mar i muntanya” invent dels pescadors catalans. De fet la cuina del peix és la que la fa més important del mediterrani. Com sorgeix aquesta cuina de contrastos? OV.- Els catalans en això som avantguar distes, bar r ejar pr oductes de l’inter ior amb productes de la costa, dolços/salats i darrera de totes aquestes tendències sorgeix, modernitzantse, el fred/calent i cap els 90 es treballa l’amarg que és molt complicat de combinar per la seva dificultat per trobar la justa mida. MD.- La Cuina catalana és, de sempre, una cuina de contrastos, on trobem gairebé a tots els plats els quatre elements, podríem dir que aquesta cuina tan dual és molt zen? OV.- La nostr a cuina sempr e ha estat dual. Un dels plats típics tr adicionals i emblemàtic a totes les nostres cartes és l’Amanida. Als anys 80 una amanida tenia tres o quatre colors – enciam, tomàquet, ceba, olives – combinats amb lo propi de cada territori com el xató o l’escarola. S’innova amb la mítica amanida de contrastos d’en Ferran Adrià i que tothom ha fet una mica seva. Quan serveixes una amanida ja no ho fas amb els tres colors. Aquí a casa l'hem modernitzada i treballem també el fred amb el tebi o afegim gelat de tomàquet de km 0.


MD.- Al juny a Blanes s’han celebrat les IX Jornades Gastronòmiques del Suquet de peix de Sa Palomera. Què té el suquet de peix que fa que sigui un plat estrella de la cuina marinera? OV.- És el plat estr ella de la cuina mar iner a per què a totes les car tes de tots els restaurants de tots el pobles mariners de Catalunya podem trobar-ne. El se origen és el suquet de barca que, per exemple, a Blanes es feia molt amb peix blau. Però com els pescadors van a pescar peix per vendre’l, avui dia gairebé no el trobaràs, per que es demana més peix com el rap o el lluç que són equívocament considerats com a peixos de més qualitat. Als Sentits el nostre suquet segueix essent un suquet de barca, amb la base de la patata, la picada i el fumet de peix amb peix blau. Segons la pesca del dia pot ser amb bonítol, barat o anxova. I aquest any com a toc personal hem incorporat plàncton marí. Un producte que fa un parell d’alls va començar a desenvolupar l’Àngel León i que està funcionant molt be. Té un gust de mar impressionant i a la gent li agrada molt. És així, amb aquestes noves incorporacions que és manté amb força aquest plat. El suquet és un dels màxims exponents del sistema culinari català: una base i el que tens en aquell moment. MD.- Això vol dir que el suquet pertany a la tant nostrada cuina de rebost, malentesa com a cuina de temporada segons l’hort i que també es dóna en la cuina de barca. OV.- Efectivament. Les tr adicions a la cuina són això. En el meu cas jo vaig cr éixer a l’interior, amb esmorzars de cansalada a brasa i l’olor de l’oli d’oliva, amb els aromes i textures de muntanya. En arribar a Blanes els horitzons es van engrandir. Per exemple: a la nostra carta podeu trobar un dels plats que té més acollida, l’estofat de cua de bou, cuinat com es fa terra endins amb vi negre i foc lent. Nosaltres el posem entre dues capes de galeta i li afegim sonsos fregits. Tens la melositat de la carn, el cruixent de la galeta i el cruixent del peix. Un mar i muntanya modern. Diferent. Amb uns tocs d’all-i-oli. El que cerques a la cuina és passar-t’ho be, sorprendre, respectar molt tot el que és la cuina tradicional però donant-li el teu toc personal i variat per no cansar els paladars. MD.- Fins no fa gaire uns ous ferrats eren un plat menystingut. Podríem dir, que avui dia, menjar-se uns bons ous ferrats és considerat un acte de sibaritisme? OV.- Cr ec que despr és de la tr ansició, on tot es va industr ialitzar , ha pr imat més el volum i la quantitat que no as la qualitat. I d’uns anys ençà estem recuperant el que anomenem slow food i Km 0, que aposten per productes del territori de qualitat i ecològics. MD.- Quelcom que podem trobar a tots els plats de la vostra carta són les herbes. Catalunya té una llarga tradició remeiera. Feu un us conscient d’aquesta meravellosa farmacopea en els vostres plats? OV.- Si. La nostr a car ta està feta amb molta consciència. Ar a mateix estem tr eballant amb el que són les halòfiles de la costa. A Blanes podem trobar comunitats rupícoles i halòfiles de fonoll marí que collim nosaltres mateixos. I intentem recuperar una tradició gairebé perduda dels pobles


De la mateixa manera també fem R+D+I envers les matèries primeres i ens allunyem de la pròpia tradició per acabar coneixent la d’altres pobles com és incorporar a la carta una salsa coreana amb verdures fermentades del maresme. En definitiva, que es segueixi un sistema o un altre no és tant important com treballar des del respecte i la consciència amb transcendència, a més del slow food i el Km 0 entrem en el tema del reciclatge aquí i això comporta una filosofia de vida. MD.- Com neix el projecte del Sentits? OV.- El Sentits de Blanes neix d’una inquietud de fer quelcom que t’ompli. Vaig començar en aquest món amb tretze anys, en un restaurant d’Artès, una fonda-hostal que es deia Cal Corder. Ho portaven una família amics d’un oncle meu. Jo volia anar a l’Escola d’Hosteleria i com vinc de família de cuiners, que saben prou be que aquesta és una vida molt sacrificada, m’ho volien treure del cap. Però aquell estiu no va fer més que reafirmar-me en la meva vocació. I no va haver volta enrere. A l’Escola d’Hosteleria Sant Narcís de Girona vaig tenir el plaer d’aprendre de grans mestres com en Manuel Romero, en Joan Roca o Salvador Bruguès entre d’altres. Grans professionals que vàrem coincidir amb el tancament de l’edifici vell que havia començat com escola sindical i la inauguració del nou edifici. Una nova fita mítica de transició. Els anys de formació i de desenvolupament professional em van fer anar al nord i després a treballar a Escandinàvia amb uns coneguts on després d’un temps vàrem decidir alguns companys independitzar-nos i aconseguim l’any 2000 una *Michelin al restaurant Oro d’Oslo. Això et fa tocar el cel però al cap d’un temps baixes als inferns, fruit de l’estrès i la pressió, i a l’any i mig vaig decidir tornar cap a Catalunya. Vaig treballar a diferents llocs fins que ara fa dos anys decidim obrir un restaurant, per gaudir-lo. Òbviament és un negoci, però hem aconseguit que tot l’equip del Sentits puguem viure i gaudir del que fem. MD.- I Girona, us mancava ser terra endins per completar el cercle dual? Per que en un moment de crisi a tots nivells sembla una aposta agosarada. OV.- Gir ona ha estat fr uit una mica de les cir cumstàncies. Nosaltr es tenim una coneguda, na Iolanda Bustos –gastrònoma i escriptora- especialitzada en cuina botànica, que tenia un restaurant que havia de tancar per iniciar un nou projecte en una masia. Ens vàrem reunir alguns cops i va anar quadrant tot. MD.- Als Sentits s’estableixen vincles, lligams i sinergies que van més enllà de saber l’origen de les matèries primeres i una acurada elaboració i presentació. OV.- De vegades a la gastr onomia nomenada mitjana/alta no s’és pr ou conscient del cost que suposa tot el procés d’elaboració de la carta. No tan sols intervé el local, l’equip de cuina i el de sala. També hi estan involucrades les persones encarregades en obtenir les matèries primeres des del que ho fa a la llotja, fins el proveïdor que aposta pels millors ous de qualitat, l’hort i granja ecològica i sostenibles o el celler de proximitat. Per això creiem que no hi ha res




No es tracta només de seure a taula i menjar. Es tracta de gaudir, compartir, comentar i fins i tot sorprendre com quan els servim una de les nostres amanides estrelles que sacsegem amb una coctelera. Un dels moments que més m’agrada és en acabar el servei passar per les taules i testar com ha anat, fins el punt que ja hi ha qui t’espera i comparteixes la seva experiència amb la teva. Et fan preguntes i fins i tot crítiques que t’ajuden a donar-te a entendre i a trobar la famosa mida justa de la que enraonàvem abans. I surts doblement enriquit i satisfet. *** En aquest món de l’espectacle constant, en el qual vivim immersos, segueix més vigent que mai la màxima romana de que “la dona de Cèsar no tant sols ha de ser decent, també ho ha de semblar” i d’això s’encarrega en José Maria Rodríguez que, amb la seva mirada i complicitat, fixa en les xarxes socials quelcom etern i immortal. Sense retocs, sense software extra, sense filtres, sense enganys. El que copsa amb el seu objectiu és el mateix que trobaràs dia rere dia als plats sortits dels fogons, al marge de les variacions fruit del producte del dia. Ell fa una tasca silenciosa, intèrpret i de vegades traductor d’allò que a la taula és efímer però que amb seny i rauxa esdevé tradició. Observador inquiet, convençut i de mirada polièdrica comparteix amb l’Òscar Vilà quelcom més que una filosofia de vida. Tots dos tenen les sinapsis neuronals sensitives ben actives. Tots dos són comunicadors eficaços alhora de fer-nos arribar amb llenguatges diferents el que millor saben fer: compartir, al més pur estil de la nova generació renaixentista catalana d’aquest segle XXI. La gastronomia catalana és part fonamental del nostre patrimoni que construïm entre tots com quan fem castells. Es diu que als humans tot ens entra per la vista i se’ns conquereix per l’estomac. A els Sentits aprenem, recordem i gaudim. De l’agricultura a la cultura. De la terra i el mar a la taula. De la taula a la paraula. Mayte Duarte, 2016. OSCAR VILÀ I GUARDIOLA - Nascut a Sant Vicenç de Castellet, comarca del Bages el 15 de juliol del 1974. Formació a l’ Escola d' Hosteleria i Turisme Sant Narcís de Girona promoció del 1993. Practiques al Celler de Can Roca, Girona Stage a Es Poblet, actual Quique Dacosta Dénia * estrella Michelin, actualment *** estrelles Michelin, Stage a Arzak *** estrelles, Michelin, Sanse. Entre d altres... 1994 Finalista al concurs Joves cuiners Chaine des Rotissieurs Premi Provosts per servei comunitari, 1999. Practiques 2 semestres a Noruega, amb èmfasis en Cuina Internacional. El 1997 beca de mérit nacional de Cuina y Serveis de Restauració. Restaurant Mamma Rosa, Oslo. Vip Gourmand Guia Michelin Oro restaurant, Oslo * Michelin Participant en la preparació de la delegació nacional participant en el Bocusse d´Or. Director d’ Hosteleria Gran Casino Costa Brava, Lloret de Mar. Ara immers en el projecte Sentits. JOSÉ MARIA RODRÍGUEZ MAQUEDA - Nascut a Blanes el 8 de maig de 1972. Formació tècnica especialitzada en electricitat/electrònica, Disseny gràfic, programació web i Màster en Community Manager a l' escola Initec de Barcelona. Amb experiència professional com a tècnic a una emissora local Radio marina. Tècnic a Canon, en la branca d' equips d' oficina i Tècnic de sistemes a Abertis autopistes. Ara immers en el projecte Sentits.



EXPLORA HOUSTON TEXAS Centre de la ciutat | Photo by Katie Haugland 42 | CATALONIA | AICSUSA.ORG




Catalonia Winter 2016  


Catalonia Winter 2016