Eating in the Pyrenees
When I was researching my recent trip to Spain, it seemed there were very few discussions/recommendations about the Spanish Pyrenees. We have returned from our vacation so here are a few of our finds.
As we traveled north to the Aragonese Pyreneese we stopped in Sabananigo, a small town north of Huesca, to visit a small farming museum on the outskirts. We had lunch in the center of town at Hotel Villa Virginia. The food was good, but the main attraction is the elaborate handmade desserts!
We stayed about 20 - 30 km away in the tiny village of Navasa, at El Caserio de Fatas. Navasa is just a short drive from Jaca, the regional capital. El Caserio is a "casa rural" deep in the countryside. Rut & Raul will provide a very tasty dinner in a lovely dining room. We ate there both nights of our stay. We did eat lunch in Jaca, but it was sub-par.
En-route to the Val de Boi, in the Catalunyan Pyrenees, we ate at the wine museum restaurant in Barbastro. Barbastro is the center of the Somotano wine district. A pleasant lunch in an attractive room with really good wine.
We had one of the most enjoyable experiences in regional dining in the Catalunyan Pyrenees. At the suggestion of Charlie, the American ex-pat owner of Cafe Sedona in Taull, we drove out to L'Abadia de Castellars for lunch. Part of the fun is in the journey -- this is a farmhouse far down a small valley. You take the road to Malpas off of the N-260 in Pont de Suert. When you get to Malpas you follow the "restaurant" signs until you turn off into a gravel driveway that leads the the restaurant. What you'll get is authentic regional cuisine including local specialties like mel & mato, soft cheese curds flavored with honey, and local sausages as part of a tableful of appetizers. Included in the "menu del dia" are about 6 choices each of first course, second course, dessert, the aforementioned appetizers, bread & wine. The menu is printed in Spanish as well as Catalan, but we heard only Catalan being spoken by all the other diners. The location is gorgeous, overlooking the valley and looking up to abandoned villages on nearby crags. The combination of site, food and drive make this a "must do" for visitors in the area. (See below fo a picture of the restaurant.)
Alex, our innkeeper, suggested supper at a local favorite in Taull, Restaurant El Caliu, Carretera Pistes, at the top of the village on the highway to the ski resort. Again, a wonderful regional meal in a very congenial atmosphere. Although it was a Saturday night, we found, as we had throughout our visit in the countryside, the restaurant was mostly empty. It was clearly off off season, so we were able to engage with the local servers in a very convivial way, in spite of my poor Spanish and non-existent Catalan.