Sunday, October 15, 2006

Gentle Girona

Seeing as I will be in London on my real birthday come Wednesday, we kicked the celebrations off early here.

It was a long holiday weekend so we hopped up to Girona on Friday morning to eat at El Celler de Can Roca, the celebrated 2 rosette restaurant run by the 3 Roca brothers we had heard so much about.

Never can such a wonderful restaurant be so modestly situated - in a non-descript part of town, next to the cafe which the Roca parents still run. Inside it is lovely, friendly and small, rather than pompous and overpowering like so many upscale places.

It was empty as we wondered in at 1.45 and packed by 2pm as the 2nd glass of cava arrived. and for the next two hours we had the most fabulous treats from the a la carte menu. I had the most sublime mushroom souffle, a custard type of consistency filled with a boiled egg followed by piglet with a reduction of quince and garclic.

The dessert was an amazing 'Trip to Havana' consisting of a Mojito ice and a chocolate ice cream cigar, complete with grey sugar 'ash' that let off the most wonderful cigar aroma as you ate it. Happy days...

We stayed overnight in Girona and it was complete revelation. It's just an hour from Barcelona and it is criminal that we havent seen it before. The old town, including the narrow streets of the ancient Jewish quarter and the pastel coloured buildings backed on to the river were the higlights, along with the huge and rather oddly proportioned cathedral. It's a quite backwater compared with Barcelona and all the better for it.

We stayed at the very sleek AC Palau de Bellavista which had beautiful large modern rooms with every parent's added bonus of free breakfast for children and a free minibar (although not alas free movies, hence Ben's 12-Euro charge for watchign Wallace and Gromit...). Fantastic views over the city, as the name implies, and at £68 a room, hugely recommended.

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