Location: Western Europe
Capital: Andorra la Vella
Geography: A small, mountainous, landlocked nation
Signature flavours: Garlic, tomato, pork, chicken, cabbage, olive oil, egg
I had no idea what to expect from Andorran cuisine, and went into this assignment ready to be surprised. In the end, I learned that Andorrans enjoy a sort of French-Spanish fusion (which makes sense, given the tiny country’s location).
Pa amb Tomaquet: A crusty baguette rubbed with first a raw garlic clove then a juicy tomato, sprinkled with coarse sea salt, and drizzled with olive oil. I made the bread from scratch, but the dish itself is very easy to make.
Prep and cooking time: 3 hours (including bread)
Escudella: The national dish of Andorra, Escudella is a thick soup loaded with meats (soy meats in this case — sausage and ham), cabbage, carrots, pasta, rice, and beans.
Prep and cooking time: 60 min
Trinxat: Garlicky mashed potatoes and cabbage pan fried and topped with crispy bacon.
Prep and cooking time: 25 min
Cargols: Snails baked with olive oil and herbs, often served with a vinaigrette or aioli for dipping.
Prep and cooking time: 30 min
Crema Catalana: Velvety custard topped with fresh fruit.
Prep and cooking time: 6 hours (including chilling time)
The Shopping List
The only ingredient that really gave me trouble was the snails. I called several local-ish markets, but finally had to drive over two hours to find frozen snails at an international food market. They were pre-seasoned and pre-buttered, so I served them as they were. A more traditional recipe would have called for olive oil over butter and a slightly different medley of herbs.
Eric and I both liked every dish on the table. The pa am tomaquet may have changed our bread game forever. It was outstanding. I don’t know that I’ll ever need to butter a piece of bread again. That said, our garlic breath was pretty intense for the next 12 hours.
We have had so many hodgepodge soups from all over the world for this blog, but the escudella was one of my favourites. It was chock full of delicious flavours and textures
Trinxat is the bubble and squeak of Andorra — pure country comfort food with a garlicky twist.
Eric and I both love escargot, so it was no surprise that we wolfed down the cargols with gusto. I forewent the traditional dipping sauces since the pre-seasoned snails had a lot going on already.
We finished with fresh raspberries and light, fluffy, decadent crema, which Eric knew by sight, having enjoyed it in Venezuela where the dish is often served in Spanish restaurants. Mine didn’t quite set, and I read later that the addition of an extra egg yolk can help with that, but as it was, we both scooped our bowls clean.
Disclaimer: I’m not a professional chef. I’m just a passionate cook with a curiosity for flavours I’ve never tried. For great recipes from gifted local cooks, follow the links above.