Fortunately, you don't have to go that far to discover the variety of species and botanical treasures to be found on the Costa Brava and in the Girona Pyrenees.
The world’s most famous spice route was the result of trade between merchants from different countries, making its way across the seas and oceans surrounding Europe, Asia and North Africa to spread the countless varieties of herbs and spices used today. Fortunately, you don’t have to go that far to discover the variety of species and botanical treasures to be found on the Costa Brava and in the Girona Pyrenees. Herbs and spices are an excellent way to introduce new flavours in our cooking, limit the use of salt and take the palate on a journey to unique places.
Gastrobotany and its underlying philosophy are beginning to have a major impact on the world of food. Many well-known restaurants have turned to consultants for advice on which plant products to use in their menus, as is the case of El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, where biologist Evarist March has advising the Roca brothers for five years. Many of the spices and herbs used in restaurants today have also been used as healing remedies for many years by our grandmothers and great-grandmothers. Do you know which ones we’re talking about?
> Bay leaf is native to the Mediterranean, a staple seasoning used to flavour soups, pasta, stews and casseroles, and has travelled to kitchens all over the world!
> Rosemary is very popular and useful in the kitchen. It’s a medicinal plant used to improve blood circulation and its leaves are used to make natural remedies for the digestive system. Who doesn’t have it in their pantry?
> Another essential herb is thyme, a medicinal plant offering a wide array of beneficial properties for our bodies. The sprigs are often used to make the popular thyme soup.
If you scroll through the social media of nutrition specialist Marta Romaní, you’ll find suggestions on how to add these spices to your recipes, make good use of them and improve your diet to achieve greater wellness.
If you’d like to explore the natural beauty of Girona while strolling along the Costa Brava, we propose a visit to its gardens, where exotic and edible plants are grown. Take the route through Blanes, Lloret de Mar, Platja d’Aro and L’Escala. Don’t miss out!
One of the most beautiful and well-known gardens is the Marimurtra Botanical Garden. Located in Blanes on cliffs overlooking the sea, it offers some of the most spectacular views of the coast and the chance to discover more than four thousand plant species from five different continents. This allows visitors to travel the world while admiring the botany and stunning landscapes of the Costa Brava.
Another highlight in Blanes is the Pinya de Rosa Tropical Botanical Garden, which covers some fifty hectares and combines science and art in every corner. In addition to native flora, it contains more than 7,000 plant specimens, some of which have been transported from their natural habitat, nurseries or private collections.
Perched atop a cliff between Boadella Cove and Fenals Beach are the Santa Clotilde Gardens, one of Lloret de Mar’s most prized treasures and a vantage point offering stunning sea views. It’s the perfect place to walk around and relax. Its views and maze-like architecture, featuring fountains and statues, make it truly magical.
Last but not least, we have the Cap Roig Gardens, located between the towns of Palafrugell and Mont-ras. They are like no other place on the Mediterranean, covering twenty hectares and providing a home to over eight hundred botanical species. These gardens may ring a bell, as they serve as the venue for the important Cap Roig Festival.
If you’d like to discover more cultural and wellness routes along the Costa Brava, we invite you to download the new e-book Un viaje sensorial by Kristina Ubach. A must-read!