26 Jun Local shops: where do our nibbles come from?
A few years ago, we started offering the wine tasting with local nibbles called “PICA-PICA”, thanks to our guests’ suggestions. The experience includes: a visit to the vineyard (to get to know the “terroir” and view Priorat‘s breath-taking scenery from Gratallops’ angle), a visit to the winery (where we make our wines) and a wine tasting with local nibbles. The price is €30 per person.
So where do we get the local food? We do as much as we can to favour small local shops and to prioritise our area’s commercial network. We stick to this philosophy when we offer recommendations to our guests: local restaurants and bars, local hotels and other Priorat wineries. We apply the same mindset when we prepare the wine tasting paired with local nibbles.
“PICA-PICA” (snacks or nibbles in Catalan) includes perfect nibbles to pair with our DOQ Priorat wines. It isn’t a complete meal, because we don’t look to replace the excellent wine-and-dine service offered by Priorat’s restaurants. (Learn more on the list of restaurants associated to Priorat Enoturisme).
Like everywhere in Catalonia, here in Priorat pa amb tomàquet (or “pa amb tomaca”, tomato-rubbed toast) is a must-eat. We purchase artisan bread from Gratallops‘ bakery called “Forn del Pi” (The Pine Bakery). This name has an explanation. The bakery is at the main entrance to Gratallops, where you can see the famous large pine tree with two shapes of wolves “scratching” it (a hint at the name of Gratallops: “scratching wolves” in Catalan).
By the way the pine tree serves as a meting point for guests visiting Celler Devinssi. Near here, there are a few spaces where to park your car and wait for the host in the shade of the pine tree.
Back to Forn del Pi. This bakery and pastry shop is also known as “Ca la Sílvia” (Sílvia’s place). Wonder why? Because it is quite long since it was started by Sílvia and her family, lifelong bakers and farmers from Gratallops. Their “pa de pagès” (farmer’s bread) is a genuine foodie delicacy. We use this bread to make toast so that our guests can enjoy this lovely feel of rubbing it with a juicy tomato.
(images: Restaurant Guru)
“Tomacons” (small tomatoes to make the most authentic pa amb tomaca), also comes from Forn del Pi. Those are juicy tomatoes, full of flavour and wonderful colour that shows its prime when you rub it against the slice of toast. If you look for traditional artisan bread, farmer pastry and local honey, call in at Forn del Pi in Gratallops.
We use some typical toppings for pa amb tomaca, like cheese, fuet (cured sausage) and pernil (Catalan word for jamón). They have to be high-quality in order to convey our closeness to the land we live on. So, just round the corner from the bakery, just in the same neighbourhood you can find the “Cal Llens” butchery, also known as “Ca la Mia” (“Mia’s place”), after the butcher’s name: “Mia”, or Rosa Maria. Here you can find white and red meat for your meals, as well as charcuterie and cheese. And it’s here that we get quality goat or sheep milk cheese, fuet and pernil to pair with our wines. We also get arbequina olives here and, occasionally, local nuts; all of these are very much to our guests’ liking!
(images: Serveis Actius)
Cal Llens also has a terrace for those who’d like to have a drink with a sandwich freshly made by Mia. The terrace is located in quiet street, with virtually no cars. The shop also features a small wine selection from Gratallops. According to Mia, the name of Cal Llens comes from the building where the shop is located. “Llens” is likely to be short for “Llorenç” (Lawrence), the name that is also carried by the parish church of Gratallops.
Let’s mention as well the Agrobotiga de la Vinícola del Priorat, also situated in Gratallops. Here we get zero-mile arbequina olive oil and local nuts from our nibble-and-wine tastings. In 2017, Vinícola del Priorat celebrated its first 100 years of foundation, to commemorate 1917, when it was started in response to the economic and social crisis triggered by phylloxera.
So, let’s recap the nibbles. The “PICA-PICA” visit includes:
- Tomato to rub on toast
- Arbequina olive oil and salt
- Pernil (cured ham)
- Fuet (cured sausage)
- Arbequina olives
Also, over this last year, we’ve been working on the vegetarian and vegan options of the pica-pica visit. So in the former case, we have to replace the ham and sausage with no-meat food. Plus, the vegan version can’t have any animal cheese. We’ve found the solution for this challenge through the vegan restaurant located in Falset (Priorat’s administrative capital), called “El Secret”. Don’t get confused, they won’t sell you any “secreto ibérico” there. Núria, who runs “El Secret”, offers quite a range of vegan savouries that can surprise: cocas, crepes, pizzas, burgers, falafel, etc. Its located in Carrer de Baix, Falset.
To wrap it up, we intend to create a pleasurable and maximally genuine foodie experience for our guests. We also want to favour local providers as much as possible.
We’re looking forward to welcoming you at Celler Devinssi! Salut i vi!