Catalan Cuisine: Europe's Last Great Culinary Secret

Grub Street Cookery
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Catalonia, located in Spain's far north-east corner and centred around the port of Barcelona, has its own cuisine and culture which has spread to encompass Valencia, the Balearic Islands (Majorca, Minorca and Ibiza), Andorra, the ancient region of France formerly known as Roussilon, and a single city on the Italian island of Sardinia. Colman Andrews explores this whole territory of Catalan cooking, from its French, Roman and Moorish roots to today's modern interpretation. Along the way he creates a portrait of the food, wine, history and culture of the region.
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About the author

Colman Andrews' first cookbook, "Catalan Cuisine", originally published in 1988, was recently named one of the "50 Best Cookbooks of All Time" by the Observer Food Monthly; his most recent one, "The Country Cooking of Ireland", was honored as Best International Cookbook by the James Beard Foundation in 2010 and beat out all other entries in all categories as foundation's Cookbook of the Year. Andrews was a co-founder of Saveur, and its editor-in-chief from 2002 to 2006. After leaving the magazine, he became the restaurant columnist for Gourmet. A native of Los Angeles with degrees in history and philosophy from UCLA, he was a restaurant reviewer and restaurant news columnist for the Los Angeles Times, and for three years edited "Traveling in Style", the Times travel magazine. Throughout the 1980s, he was wine and spirits columnist for Los Angeles Magazine, and published widely as a freelance writer, covering food, wine, travel, music, art, architecture, design, and the entertainment industry. The recipient of eight James Beard awards, Andrews is the co-author and co-editor of three Saveur cookbooks and seven of his own books on food: "Everything on the Table", "Flavors of the Riviera", "Catalan Cuisine" (which introduced the now-trendy cooking of Spain's Catalonia region to America), "The Country Cooking of Ireland", "Reinventing Food, Ferran Adria: The Man Who Changed the Way We Eat" (a biography of Catalan superchef Ferran Adriö, also published in French, Spanish, and Italian translations), "The Country Cooking of Italy", and two forthcoming volumes, "The Taste of America", and "My Usual Table: A Life in Restaurants". Andrews is now editorial director of The Daily Meal, a food and wine mega-site (www.thedailymeal.com). Adds Andrews, "Judicis argutum labor hic formidat acumen."
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Additional Information

Publisher
Grub Street Cookery
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Published on
Nov 30, 1997
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Pages
352
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ISBN
9781909808362
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Language
English
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Genres
Cooking / Regional & Ethnic / Spanish
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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The first-ever biography of Ferran Adrià, the chef behind Spain's renowned El Bulli restaurant, by one of the world's foremost food authorities.

More than just the most influential chef of the late-twentieth and early-twenty- first century, Ferran Adrià is arguably the greatest culinary revolutionary of our time. Hailed as a genius and a prophet by fellow chefs, worshipped (if often misunderstood) by critics and lay diners alike, Adrià is imitated and paid homage to in professional kitchens, and more than a few private ones, all over the world. A reservation at his one and only restaurant, El Bulli, is so coveted that scoring a table is harder than nabbing fifty-yardline tickets to the Super Bowl.

In his lively close-up portrait of Adrià, award-winning food writer Colman Andrews traces this groundbreaking chef's rise from resort-hotel dishwasher to culinary deity, and the evolution of El Bulli from a German-owned beach bar into the establishment voted annually by an international jury to be "the world's best restaurant." Taking the reader from Adrià's Franco-era childhood near Barcelona through El Bulli's wildly creative "disco-beach" days and into the modern-day creative wonderland of Adrià's restaurant kitchen and the workshop- laboratory where his innovations are born and refined, Andrews blends sweeping storytelling with culinary history to explore Adrià's extraordinary contributions to the way we eat.

Through original techniques like deconstruction, spherification, and the creation of culinary foams and airs, Adrià has profoundly reimagined the basic characteristics of food's forms, while celebrating and intensifying the natural flavors of his raw materials. Yet, argues Andrews, these innovations may not be his most impressive achievements. Instead, Adrià's sheer creativity and courageous imagination are his true genius-a genius that transcends the chef's métier and can inspire and enlighten all of us.

Entertaining and intimate, Ferran brings to life the most exciting food movement of our time and illuminates the ways in which Adrià has changed our world- forever altering our understanding and appreciation of food and cooking.

Watch a Video

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
NPR • Entertainment Weekly • Kirkus Reviews • The Christian Science Monitor

In the picturesque village of Guzmán, Spain, in a cave dug into a hillside on the edge of town, an ancient door leads to a cramped limestone chamber known as “the telling room.” Containing nothing but a wooden table and two benches, this is where villagers have gathered for centuries to share their stories and secrets—usually accompanied by copious amounts of wine.
 
It was here, in the summer of 2000, that Michael Paterniti found himself listening to a larger-than-life Spanish cheesemaker named Ambrosio Molinos de las Heras as he spun an odd and compelling tale about a piece of cheese. An unusual piece of cheese. Made from an old family recipe, Ambrosio’s cheese was reputed to be among the finest in the world, and was said to hold mystical qualities. Eating it, some claimed, conjured long-lost memories. But then, Ambrosio said, things had gone horribly wrong. . . .

By the time the two men exited the telling room that evening, Paterniti was hooked. Soon he was fully embroiled in village life, relocating his young family to Guzmán in order to chase the truth about this cheese and explore the fairy tale–like place where the villagers conversed with farm animals, lived by an ancient Castilian code of honor, and made their wine and food by hand, from the grapes growing on a nearby hill and the flocks of sheep floating over the Meseta.

What Paterniti ultimately discovers there in the highlands of Castile is nothing like the idyllic slow-food fable he first imagined. Instead, he’s sucked into the heart of an unfolding mystery, a blood feud that includes accusations of betrayal and theft, death threats, and a murder plot. As the village begins to spill its long-held secrets, Paterniti finds himself implicated in the very story he is writing.

Equal parts mystery and memoir, travelogue and history, The Telling Room is an astonishing work of literary nonfiction by one of our most accomplished storytellers. A moving exploration of happiness, friendship, and betrayal, The Telling Room introduces us to Ambrosio Molinos de las Heras, an unforgettable real-life literary hero, while also holding a mirror up to the world, fully alive to the power of stories that define and sustain us.

Praise for The Telling Room

“Captivating . . . Paterniti’s writing sings, whether he’s talking about how food activates memory, or the joys of watching his children grow.”—NPR
The first-ever biography of Ferran Adrià, the chef behind Spain's renowned El Bulli restaurant, by one of the world's foremost food authorities.

More than just the most influential chef of the late-twentieth and early-twenty- first century, Ferran Adrià is arguably the greatest culinary revolutionary of our time. Hailed as a genius and a prophet by fellow chefs, worshipped (if often misunderstood) by critics and lay diners alike, Adrià is imitated and paid homage to in professional kitchens, and more than a few private ones, all over the world. A reservation at his one and only restaurant, El Bulli, is so coveted that scoring a table is harder than nabbing fifty-yardline tickets to the Super Bowl.

In his lively close-up portrait of Adrià, award-winning food writer Colman Andrews traces this groundbreaking chef's rise from resort-hotel dishwasher to culinary deity, and the evolution of El Bulli from a German-owned beach bar into the establishment voted annually by an international jury to be "the world's best restaurant." Taking the reader from Adrià's Franco-era childhood near Barcelona through El Bulli's wildly creative "disco-beach" days and into the modern-day creative wonderland of Adrià's restaurant kitchen and the workshop- laboratory where his innovations are born and refined, Andrews blends sweeping storytelling with culinary history to explore Adrià's extraordinary contributions to the way we eat.

Through original techniques like deconstruction, spherification, and the creation of culinary foams and airs, Adrià has profoundly reimagined the basic characteristics of food's forms, while celebrating and intensifying the natural flavors of his raw materials. Yet, argues Andrews, these innovations may not be his most impressive achievements. Instead, Adrià's sheer creativity and courageous imagination are his true genius-a genius that transcends the chef's métier and can inspire and enlighten all of us.

Entertaining and intimate, Ferran brings to life the most exciting food movement of our time and illuminates the ways in which Adrià has changed our world- forever altering our understanding and appreciation of food and cooking.

Watch a Video

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