Photo Tour of a 17 Course Lunch at El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Spain

El Celler de Can Roca

Last week I wrote about my afternoon with the best chef in the world, Ferran Adria. What I didn’t mention was that on the same blog trip to Costa Brava I was also fortunate enough to eat at what is technically the 2nd best restaurant in the world; although having eaten there I can’t imagine why it isn’t number one. El Celler de Can Roca was founded in 1986 by the three Roca brothers next to their family’s more modest establishment. The three brothers share the duties of head chef, pastry chef and sommelier and together have created one of the most remarkable dining experiences found anywhere in the world. I was lucky enough to have lunch there: a four –hour, 17 course lunch that showed us the width and breadth of the Roca brothers’ culinary expertise. Each course was accompanied by a separate wine pairing and by the end not only was I immensely content, but I was convinced that I would never eat again.

Even more amazing than the food though was that I ate it. Let me explain, I am not a foodie. In fact, I am a notoriously picky eater but I decided that since I was at the best restaurant in the world, as long as they didn’t serve me seafood, I would eat whatever they presented. The result was surprising, to me at least. I ate foods I would never have eaten otherwise and ended up loving every morsel. It was a true food lesson for me personally.

Before our amazing meal though we were treated to a once in a lifetime tour of the kitchens and had the opportunity to meet with each of the Roca brothers separately. I walked away incredulous that such a massive kitchen could operate so cleanly and soundlessly and marveled at the level of professionalism represented in a simple kitchen. In order to share with you this remarkable experience, what follows is a pictorial representation of my dining experience, along with descriptions and wine pairings. Whatever you do, if you ever find yourself in Girona, Spain you must eat at this remarkable restaurant.

Bonsai Olive Tree amuse bouche with caramelized anchovy stuffed olives

 

Ring calamari adapted

 

The World: Peru, Lebanon, Morocco and Korea
The World: Peru, Lebanon, Morocco and Korea
St. George’s mushroom brioche
Timbale of apple and duck liver with olive oil
Amazing bread selection
Elderflower infusion, cherries with Amaretto, gingered cherries
Olive paste: Black olive gazpacho
Wine pairing with each course
White asparagus comtesse and truffles
White asparagus comtesse and truffles
Morel parmentier
Rice with mushrooms
Goose a la royale
Iberian suckling pig blanquette with Riesling
Smokey dish
Charcoal grilled lamb breast fillet and sweetbreads with spring mushrooms
Caramelized apricot
Strawberries and cream
Moka mille-feuille
After dessert truffles

 

Wines paired with the mega-meal:

Albert i Noya Cava El Celler Brut D.O. Cava

Domaine de L’Ecu Granite 10 A.O.C. Muscadet Sevre et Maine

Tarlant 98 Premium A.O.C. Champagne

La Bota de Fino 24 D.O. Montilla-Moriles

Joh.Jos.Prum Sonnenuhr 04 V.D.P. Mosel

Nun Vinya dels Taus 09 D.O.Penedes

Ossian 09 Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y Leon

Nelin 09 D.O. Qa.Priorat

Von Bassermann-Jordan Kirchenstuck 06 V.D.P. Pfalz

Las Umbrias 10 D.O. Vinos de Madrid

890 Gran Reserva 95 D.O.Ca. Rioja

Vall Llach 05 D.O. Qa.Priorat

CanSais 03 Encanteri D.O. Emporda

Advent Sumoll Dolc 08 D.O. Penedes

Ino Masia Serra D.O. Emporda

 

This is one of the best meals I’ve ever enjoyed – what are some of your favorite travel food experiences?

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By: Mike

Matt has a true passion for travel. As someone who has a bad case of the travel bug, Matt travels the world in order to share tips on where to go, what to see and how to experience the best the world has to offer. Also follow Matt on , and

14 Responses

  1. Andi of My Beautiful Adventures

    Take me there now, wow!!!! What awesome pics!

    Reply
  2. Josie

    Hey Matt,
    What a wonderful experience — and you say you’re not a foodie! I think that one meal qualifies you to call yourself an experienced foodie veteran!
    Thanks for sharing.
    ~Josie

    Reply
  3. Emily in Chile

    This is basically what my idea of heaven looks like. What an amazing meal!

    Reply
  4. Jennifer

    That’s incredible! I love the look of the bonsai tree. Gingered cherries so good. What was your favorite course?

    I’ve had some really incredible meals while traveling so it is hard to pick just one favorite. But I loved our experience dining at Gordon Ramsay at Claridge’s.

    Reply
  5. Stephanie - The Trip Chica

    Amazing food AND amazing food photography. I did quite a few excellent tasting menus with wine pairings in Buenos Aires for the travel guide research

    Reply
    • Mike

      Very kind, thank you!

      Reply
  6. Squire

    Wow Matt great post and great looking. I don’t know if I could have eating 17 coarse means but looks like fun trying to. Thanks Squire

    Reply
  7. Erin

    OMG! Great photos and thank you for including the matching wines (although I would’ve expected tasting notes included hee hee). This looks absolutely divine and exactly up my alley. Glad to see you kept an open mind and tried everything! 🙂 Must go when I’m in Girona!

    Reply
    • Mike

      My tasting notes would’ve been: Everything was yummy. 🙂 Glad you liked it and thanks for the kind words! If you go, I’ll join ya

      Reply
  8. Annette | Bucket List Journey

    Wow! This would have been my dream lunch!

    Reply
  9. Degan

    Amazing photos! You must have been there for lunch. We had a lovely dinner but lacked the light. 😉

    Reply
  10. Rik thomson

    Looks amazing. Live to hear about your tine with Ferran Adria too. Sounds pretty high level foodie to me. I hit Barcelona in June will havet I get done restaurant research in

    Reply
  11. PriVin

    Wow – what an amazing experience! Love the pics!!

    Reply

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