Last month we had lunch at the famous restaurant El Celler de Can Roca in the town of Girona, about 90 minutes from Barcelona. This was my second visit and I was eager to sample their winter menu.
We arrived at 1 PM, on time just like all the other diners that day. The waiting list for a reservation at El Celler de Can Roca is about 15 months. So everyone looked excited and pleased at having secured one of the most coveted restaurant tables in the world.
THE LONGEST LUNCH IN THE WORLD
Our lunch that day lasted seven and-a-half hours, including digestifs in the lounge, and yet we were only the second to the last to leave. When we headed out the door at 745 PM, one group that had been seated next to us at lunch was still at the bar.
In all, we had 23 dishes, including appetizers and petit fours. To complement this spectacular meal, the restaurant sommelier recommended we order their wine pairing, which resulted in a day of about 27 different wines and spirits.
A WORLD WITH NO PROBLEMS
Both visits to El Celler de Can Roca have been spectacular in every sense. This is a gourmet experience and a wine experience, as well as a complete multi-sensory one. When you open the door of the restaurant, you literally leave your troubles and your ordinary world behind.
Suddenly, time stands still and you feel yourself suspended in a happy animation, in a place where problems do not exist — at least at the table. You are both witness to a theater of gastronomy, and also participant.
THE FOOD AT EL CELLER DE CAN ROCA
What is served at a restaurant officially called “the best restaurant in the world” several times? Well, here’s the menu for January 22 at El Celler de Can Roca. The appetisers and main courses were prepared by Chef Joan Roca while the desserts were made by his brother Jordi Roca. Meanwhile, the wines were chosen by Josep Roca.
The meal began with THE WORLD
For this first course, a globe was set in front of us — one for each. Each globe had arms containing canapés inspired by some countries that the Roca brothers recently traveled to. Everything was delicious and each really reminded me of the country mentioned.
However, the big surprise here was figuring out how to open the globe. You see, inside the globe was another delectable appetiser and we could only eat this by solving the puzzle. Eventually we found the solution. Each arm holding an appetiser had to align with the country on the map. When everything is aligned, the globe opens.
Mexico : Jicama taco, mango, onion, lemon, achiote and coriander
Japan : Octopus with ginger
Egypt : Giza pyramid
Turkey : Lamb, yoghurt, cucumber, onions with mint
Peru : Chili crab
Memories of a bar in the suburbs of Girona
Squids, kidneys and sherry. Gentian and orange bonbon. Montse’s meat cannelloni. Delicious Cassava flower grilled with a beurre blanc sauce and roe of mullet, caviar and salmon. Green olive’s ice cream, and black olive tempura. Cabbage, truffle and anchovies. Tartufo meringue. Truffled brioche.
Vegetable surf and turf. Seaweeds and spring herbs and flowers orange salad
Sweet potato puree, carrot puree, saffron and vinegar, yuzu marmalade, carrot sauce, tangerine, apple, orange juice, ginger, sriracha sauce, grilled mango, yellow beetroot, salad of chicory, Jerusalem artichoke and mango, air of piparra, bottarga and sea urchin
Spring pickles with walnut romesco sauce.
Mackerel ajoblanco : Mousse of ajoblanco and mackerel skin, lemon puree, capers, succulent leaf, fino wine jelly and mackerel soup
Charcoal-grilled calcot with hazelnuts, black sesame, nori seaweed and calcot oil
Pumpkin with smoked eel. Light pumpkin seed milk and dark pumpkin seed milk, pumpkin oil, fried pumpkin seeds, pumpkin juice, confit lemon and orange peel, bell pepper
Prawn marinated with rice vinegar, head juice, crispy prawn legs and seaweed veloute
Langoustine with sobrassada sauce, langoustine velour and parsley jelly
Semi-cured hake, juice of its bones, asparagus and rocket pesto, grilled piparras and rocket oil
Steamed freshly-caught whole fish stuffed with seaweeds and sea anemones
Iberian suckling pig satin with kabu turnip in red wine and juniper berry chantilly
Squab pithivier with spinach and truffles, squab sauce and chlorophyll spinach sauce
DESSERTS AT EL CELLER DE CAN ROCA
Petrichor : Distilled earth, pine syrup ice cream, carob cookie, fir dust and cocoa biscuit
White flower : Elderberry, acacia, orange blossom, soursop, lychee and green apple
Cocoa bean : Cocoa bean cream with chocolate mousse and an infusion of cocoa bean husk. This is made in the El Celler de Can Roca chocolate workshop with cocoa beans from the indigenous community of the Arhuaco in the Sierra Nevada in Northern Colombia
THE WINES AT EL CELLER DE CAN ROCA
The following wines, spirits and coffee choices accompanied our lunch. Each course was thoughtfully paired with a drink. After the meal, we also tasted home-made liquor in the lounge.
Jacques Lassaigne “Les Vignes de Montgueux” A.O.C. Champagne
Albet i Noya El Celler Brut Rva D.O. Classic Penedes
La Garrofera Cervesa Rupestre Ars Natura Liquida
Mestres Mas Via 00 D.O. Cava
Adina 16 D.O. Rias Baixas
Cueva by Mariano Orange 18 Valencia
Vamos, Vamos! 18 Conca de Barbera
Manto de la Riva 17 Vino de Jerez
Blanc Sorra 15 D.O. Emporda
Georg Breuer Nonnenberg 13 Rheingau
Parfas 09 D.O. Penedes
Heymann-Lowenstein Uhlen “L” Terroir Roth Lay 15 VDP Mosel
Finca l’arcata 17 D.O. Montsant
Ossian 17 Vino de la Tierra Castilla y Leon
Vina Tondonia Rosat 08 D.O. Ca. Rioja
Escombro 18 D.O. Yecla
Pintia 04 D.o. Toro
Joh. Jos. Prum Zeltinger Graacher Himmelreich 10 Spaltete V.D.P. Mosel
Sake Katsuyama from Miyagi
Cafe Colombia ; Finca la Colombia, Ciudad Bolivar, Antioquia
Catalina Vasquez Variedad Caturra
Perez Barquero la Canada VORS Montilla Moriles
Read more about the best restaurants in the world in Travelife Magazine.