With recent temperatures down to -7ªC at night and about the same in positive during the day, thoughts turn to keeping warm, and eating big meals is one very pleasant way to do it.
The tradition of big breakfasts here in Catalunya really started with hunters who, after a cold night stalking (or being stalked) by wild boar, needed something substantial to get them feeling warm and sociable again. So various restaurants in the countryside specialize in foods which one would not normally associate with the western concept of breakfast.
How about starting around 9am with a glass of red wine and some olives and pickled cauliflower, and then moving into the room where an open fire with hot coals on a grill for preparing your own toasted bread is the next step. Once you have the toast made, then of course it’s time to apply garlic, squeezed tomato and olive oil to it as this is the base for the meal. After this you go to the buffet counter to choose the meat you want. The choice varies from sausages, chicken, lamb chops and pig trotters to salted fish and, of course, steak. Everyone prepares their own meat so that they can choose exactly how rare or well done they like it. Once cooked to perfection, the meat is piled on the plate with the toast and a dab of “all-i-oli” (garlic mayonnaise). With a full glass of wine, it is time to begin the feast which is breakfast!
This meal is not everyones idea of a good start to the day, especially since afterwards the last thing you feel like doing is working, but it is a delicious way to spend a few hours out of the cold winter chill and certainly eliminates the need to think about another meal for a good few hours.