Almost all guests of Andorra are impressed by its cuisine. The small country located in the Pyrenees between Spain and France has historically experienced the cultural influence of its neighbors. Gastronomy, as a part of culture, also underwent it, and the principality has its own cuisine, rich in traditions and characteristics.
General characteristics of the national cuisine of Andorra
Contemporary Andorran cuisine is a mix of the culinary traditions of Catalonia and Provence.
Culinary experts note that traditional Spanish and French dishes are prepared in the Pyrenean principality, adjusted for the conditions of the highlands, in a simpler, home-style way.
Such food can be tasted in the national bordas restaurants, where the chefs prepare delicious meals and decorate the dishes with imagination. There are about 400 restaurants in small Andorea.
Gourmet establishments are located next to expensive hotels, where the range of dishes from organic local products is often updated.
The country’s mountainous terrain and extensive pastures contribute to the development of livestock raising, while the cultivation of fruits, vegetables and cereals is possible only on 2% of the land. Because of this, meat dishes are traditional in Andorran cuisine.
On the festive table of Andorrans, meat will always be the main dish. In the principality they love and know how to cook lamb, beef, pork, rabbit meat, which are seasoned with spices and served with wine. Vegetables and olives serve as a garnish.
On New Year’s Eve, locals open a bottle of sparkling wine and put grapes on the table. According to legend, if you eat 12 seedless grapes while the clock strikes, then in the coming year a person will be haunted by good luck.
The inhabitants of Andorra are Catholic believers, and in the spring, after Easter, they bake and eat Easter desserts with pleasure. These are the original bunyol de vent and mona de Pasqua muffins. They are used with hard-boiled eggs.
Andorran chefs prepare dishes from the most unexpected ingredients.
A popular dish is the spicy butifarra sausages, which, in addition to pork, include components unusual for a meat dish:
The recipe for butifarra dates back to the Roman sausages botulu and lucanica. Pork intestines are stuffed with minced meat, cooked over low heat, adding the mentioned ingredients. Then they smoke it and hang it up to dry for a month. They use fried sausages, because of the sweet taste they are often served instead of pudding.
Another curious invention of the Andorrans is la parillada, which is a cold cuts.
- spicy sausages butifarra.
Grilled la parillada is served with potatoes and salad as a side dish.
The principality is famous for the production of cheeses made from sheep and goat milk. The fermented tupi cheese (formatge de tupi) is authentic for the Pyrenees.
This cheese is made in village houses according to an ancient recipe. The fresh cheese is shaped into a ball and dipped in a tupi clay pot, into which the liquor is poured. The pot is closed and placed in a cool, dry place for fermentation for 2 months.
Among the root vegetables, trumfa potatoes are considered a popular product in the principality. There are 4 varieties of it: naga, noisette, anais, florica. Trumfa is on the menu of government officials and is served in expensive restaurants.
There are other hearty and delicious culinary masterpieces in the country:
- cunillo – rabbit stewed in tomato sauce, seasoned with a small amount of spices;
- escalivada – a mix of toasted peppers and eggplants;
- costelles a llossa – ribs fried on a hot stone, greased with lard and garlic.
Salads and snacks
Andorrans love and know how to make salads from different ingredients. For their preparation, gherkins, meat, vegetables, seafood, corn, ham, cheese are used.
In summer, fresh goat cheese salad is popular. Dandelions bloom at the foot of the mountains in early spring. Their leaves are collected, mixed with garlic, apples, tomatoes, eggs, zucchini, chicken breast, spruce syrup. It turns out the original xicoies salad.
Andorra also boasts snacks. They are here for all tastes: smoked and dried sausages, bacon, brownies with clams, boiled scallops with herbs. The aforementioned butifarra pork sausages are often served as an appetizer.
The escudella soup is considered a traditional dish of the Pyrenean principality. It is a thick stew of meat that is cooked during the cold season.
For its preparation, culinary masters use broth, pasta in the form of snails, beans, vegetables, various meats: chicken, beef, pork tails and ears, minced meat balls. Butifarra sausages are often added to the soup. The escudella recipe is old, the soup is mentioned in the chronicles of the 14th century.
Another popular soup in the mountainous principality is porrusalda. It is native to the Basque Country and has leeks as the main ingredient. The soup appeared as a lean dish, initially it did not contain meat components. Now porrusalda is a year-round appetizing dish, meat or fish is added to it.
It is customary to end a hearty dinner in a Pyrenean country with a local dessert. There are many authentic sweets in Andorra: nutmeg cake stuffed with dates, curd pie, pancakes with mousses. Confectioners can delight guests with dried peaches cooked in wine and sugar (orejonas), baked apples, and chocolate fondue.
Torrijas is considered the main Easter dessert. These are rolls or pieces of bread that are soaked in milk or soaked in wine mixed with honey and spices. The blanks are dipped in raw eggs and fried in a pan until golden brown. Serve the sweetness with ice cream or jam.
Another traditional sweet is crema andorrana, which is a custard topped with heavy whipped cream. It is poured with caramel sauce, and outwardly the dessert becomes a work of art, reminiscent of rocky mountains topped with snow caps.
There are no national soft drinks in Andorra. From the international community, the country’s residents prefer coffee, juices and tea.
Alcohol is represented by wines made from grapes grown in the highlands, or imported raw materials.
The most interesting varieties of Andorran wines:
- Cim de Cel – made from grapes growing at an altitude of over 1000 m above sea level, which gives its juice a specific flavor;
- Escol – made according to the recipe of the Borde Sabate wine cellar, whose products are considered one of the best in the country;
- Casa Auvinya is a black wine made from Pinot noir and Sirah grapes.
Fans of the amber drink will enjoy the local Alfa beer in Andorra, which is brewed in 4 versions: Pilsner, Crepuscle, Toasted, Monjo boig.
On the counters of shops and in restaurants of the principality, you can find a variety of pastries – from simple rolls to authentic products.
Coca massegada bread is popular with locals and tourists alike. It is a salty or sweet oval-shaped bread, garnished with almonds and candied fruits. They love to eat it at the Nit de Sant Joan festival, which takes place in the summer.
Pa Amb Tomaquet is a tomato and bread appetizer that is consumed with meat. Toasted pieces of bread are rubbed with tomatoes and garlic, sprinkled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt. The bread absorbs new ingredients without losing its own flavor.
Each season brings its own flavor to the menu of residents and guests of Andorra.
The autumn months are the beginning of the hunting season. There are more game dishes in restaurants. The cooks in the kitchens conjure over the dishes made from hare and wild boar ham.
They are grilled and stewed over an open fire. The garnish is porcini mushrooms in a creamy saffron sauce, mixed with morels and hot peppers, or wild rice and mashed potatoes.
For All Saints Day, confectioners bake Catalan panellets – balls of potatoes, pine nuts and almonds. They are served with chestnuts, nuts and dry fruits and washed down with nutmeg wine.
In the cold season, a lot of hot meat dishes with seasonal vegetables – beets or cabbage – appear on the menu. One of the more popular is escudella, which is served with shell macaroni at Christmas and is called sopa grossa (thick soup). Another winter dish is trinxat. Its ingredients are bacon, cabbage, potatoes and garlic.
The Andorrans consider the best winter dessert to be the hot coca massegada pie, for which the dough is kneaded with the addition of anise and cognac. The almond sweetness turron, similar to nougat, is used with the pie.
The fishing season kicks off with the awakening of nature in Andorra. The mountain lakes are inhabited by eel and herring, which are caught and salted by the locals.
Trout is caught in the rivers in late spring. A delicious dish made from it, trucha a la andorrana, is prepared as follows: the fish is cut into portions, salted and pepper, then the ham with cognac is lightly fried in a frying pan, after which pieces of trout are fried on it until golden brown. The fish is served with sliced jamon on top of it.
In March, the fried onion festival is held in the central square of the capital of the state, Andorra la Vella.
It is cooked on 600 grills with botifarra sauce and sausages. Bread and wine are also offered to the guests of the festival. The event has been held since 1967 and is considered part of the traditional Andorran cuisine.
In the hot months, a salad made from chicory leaves mixed with bacon is becoming a popular dish in the Pyrenees. Sometimes quince or snails are added to it.
Summer menu of restaurants, in addition to traditional dishes, is complemented by delicacies. The chefs prepare them for the many gourmets who visit Andorra during the warmer months.
Visitors can try andorran-style cannelloni (tubes of dough stuffed with minced lamb, pork and chicken), steamed duck and rabbit (farmed animals), and a national dessert – shortbread biscuits with pine nuts and cream.
Andorran gastronomic fairs
Gastronomic tours to Andorra, timed to coincide with festivals and holidays, are very popular with travelers. The focal point of such trips is the acquaintance with seasonal dishes.
In January, the Escudelles festival takes place in the towns of San Antonio and San Sebastian. In a large clay pot, local culinary experts cook escudella soup, which, according to gourmets who have tasted it, is thicker and richer than ever.
Until the 40s. XX century this dish was present in the everyday menu of the inhabitants of Andorra and Catalonia, but then it was declared vulgar and they stopped cooking. The return of soup to the tables happened recently. It is now considered a Christmas treat.
After the New Year, Lo Mondogo is celebrated in La Massana. Its theme is pork dishes. The holiday is dedicated to the skill of cooking tripe from fresh meat.
September in the resort of Pal-Arinsal is interesting for the Firra de Bolet festival. In early autumn, mushrooms appear in the vicinity of the city, and the Firra de Bolet is an original mushroom fair.
There is 1 more festival in La Massana in October. Local chefs organize emotional gastronomic duels to showcase originality and creativity in their cooking.
In May and November, the Andorra a Taula campaign is held in the restaurants of the country. The menu is offered at a fixed price, with preference for one of the seasonal products.