What to eat and drink on the Costa Brava - Al Fresco Holidays
I’ve been drinking wine most nights I’ve been in Spain, with time off for San Miguel or Estrella Damm. But on Friday, I visited a local winery. The Costa Brava’s not the first place that comes to mind when you think about Spanish wine, but there are several wineries scattered around the region – look for the name ‘Emporda’ on the label. Most are further north than where we are here – one of the biggest is Castillo Perelada near Figueres – but there are a few close to Platja d’Aro. Which is why Friday saw me driving up a winding lane towards Celler Can Sais in Vall Llobrega. Marta Arenas i Solés, whose family’s been growing grapes here for several generations, makes wines that capture the heat of the region but add in an earthy freshness – try the Temptació (made from Tempranillo, or Ull de Llebre as it’s called here), the barrel-aged red blend called Sum, and the rare sweet wines, that come in both red and white versions.
Saturday was another water park day, at least for the male members of the family. Alex & I left the ladies preparing for a trip to the beach and armed with the freebie passes we’d got from Aquadiver on Tuesday, we set off to its sister park Waterworld in Lloret de Mar, roughly half an hour down the coast. Make that the Big Sister Park – there are more and bigger rides, and since we got there early, we didn’t have to queue too long even for the major rides, X-Treme Mountain, Storm and Water Mountain. And while the previous trip had seen much opening of the wallet, this time, armed with the passes, some sandwiches and a few snacks, all we spent this time was €5 for locker hire.
Then in the evening, it was time for the fifth and final barbecue of the holiday. Barbies in England can be just too convoluted, but when there’s no problem with the weather, the food is fresh and full of flavour, and you don’t have any time constraints, it’s a great way to cook. Last night, we grilled marinated beef, pork and peppers, and finished the evening off with several rather rowdy games of Spoons and another smashed glass.
We’ve been to the market in Palafrugell. The highlight of previous Spanish markets for the kids have been churros – extruded star-shaped doughnuts sprinkled with sugar that squeak calorifically when you eat them. Churros seemed to be thin on the ground at Palafrugell, but there were plentiful supplies of food, clothing and leather goods – a proper market, rather than a tourist magnet, in other words. Which meant an excellent fish hall, skinned rabbits (‘they still had their eyes!’ groaned Isabella), several different types of tomatoes, plentiful supplies of other vegetables and a stall that seemed to be selling just parsley and snails. This being our last day, and the fridge still having plenty of stuff that needed eating up, we limited our purchases to a pair of baggy trousers (‘put that they have a saggy gusset,’ says Bella) and – yes, we tracked them down eventually – some churros, or xurros as they are in Catalan. Then it was a scenic drive home via the rather lovely ancient towns of Pals and Begur – strange how often you find these places on the last few days of your hols.
Time now for some last minute packing before heading out to the on-site restaurant, Blau Verd.