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Our El Celler de Can Roca experience

On a dull and overcast Monday morning in January one of the OROKO team received confirmation that they had secured a table for two in the infamous El Celler De Can Roca in Girona. For those who may not have heard of the three Michelin star Can Roca eatery, the restaurant has twice been voted the best in the world and just missed the No.1 spot by only one place in 2018. Ordinarily, reservations require a nine-month waiting period.

To say that El Celler de Can Roca is an experience is a dramatic understatement. The meal consisted of 15 courses, although this excluded three spectacular ‘introductory dishes’, and the sweet trolley! To extract the most out of the food, of course, we also opted for the paired wines which consisted of 18 different wines from around the world, from sake and Sancerre to sherry.

In truth, it isn’t possible to describe the meal in detail and do it any real justice. Instead, its best to reflect on it as a detailed piece of gastronomic theatre, in our case lasting over four hours. The story commenced with a food version of 'where in the world’ with five tastes from around the globe. It then moved on to Girona, with the three Roca brothers interpretation of their youth displayed through five tapas which resonated with their parent’s restaurant.

And so, the theatre continued, combining tastes, textures, colours and aromas from the finest ingredients, ritually upending normal expectations of what food should look and taste like. The one common theme flowing throughout the meal was the exceptional level of detail and clear history of innovation.

The best example is possibly one of the dessert courses called Petrichor (noun: a pleasant smell that frequently accompanies the first rain after a long period of warm, dry, weather), which consisted of 'Distilled earth, pine syrup ice cream, carob cookie, fir dust, and cocoa biscuit’. This included miniature leaves of incredible detail made from cocoa. And as for the best course? Probably the pigeon dish, “squab, civet and its parfait” which was tender and flavoursome, but also filled with the artistry on the plate.

Before the meal, we were treated to a tour of the kitchen. We were told that the kitchen staff numbered 45, with a 25 further front of house staff. The staff cater to just 45 per sitting, making it extra special. Having finished our meal, it was clear where all the resources were used. It was most certainly an incredible meal and experience that will not be forgotten, one to recommend as at least 'a once in a lifetime’ pilgrimage to this shrine of gastronomy.

For those interested, the appropriately labelled Feast Menu is priced at €215, with paired wines costing a further €100. Girona is 80 minutes north of Barcelona where Aer Lingus fly daily. Ryanair will fly twice weekly to Girona from the third of April. OROKO has extensive experience in the region and would be delighted to recommend some of our partner hotels in the area.

We recommend making a holiday out of this experience. The historic city of Girona has exceptional Roman and Gothic buildings that have relentlessly survived against attacks and have become perfect examples of the architecture of their time. The romantic coast of Costa Brava is nearby, with some of the best blue flag beaches in Europe and many idyllic coves and bays to discover. Girona has become somewhat of a cyclists paradise, as after exploring the cobbled streets of the old town the unspoilt countryside and coast are only a short cycle away.

The province of Girona has a range of charming hotels, many built in former country houses. Hotel Sants Metges, Hotel Castell d’Emporda and Mas de Torrent Hotel and Spa are three exceptional hotels in the unspoilt countryside that ooze old-age luxury. OROKO are pleased to assist with making the most of your trip!

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