By Persefone (Facebook)
Andorra is a tiny country nested in the Pyrenees mountains, bordered by France and Spain. With 468 square kilometers [181 square miles], and a population of approximately 77,000 inhabitants, it’s the last place where you would expect to find a death metal band. But here we are, and hopefully for many many years! When Decibel asked us to write a short piece for the website, we were super-excited. They asked us to write about the metal scene here in Andorra. They were asking for a “five metal bands article”; the problem is that, well, there’s no metal scene here, and obviously there aren’t five metal bands. That’s why we agreed to talk about five traditional dishes of our mountains! Since we’re not touring and the second best part of touring is eating new, delicious food and dishes, we decided to make this list. Also, since no band comes here ever to play or tour, well, shout out to everyone, if you guys want to try these, you’ll have to visit us! We contacted our friend and chef Alex Kinchella, who owns the restaurant La Cort del Popaire to help us with the dishes! We know how to play but not how to cook! Enjoy!
5. Mountain rice with wild mushrooms and black sausage
Chef Kinchella: Our forests are packed with wild mushrooms which grow in late summer, and cooking them into a mountain-style paella, combined with our local “botifarra negra” (black pudding), makes a delicious and consistent full-on meal.
Persefone: Oh yeah! I cook this one at home too; it’s really common to see people hunting mushrooms in late summer, almost a tradition to be honest! Some days there’s even more people in the mountain hikes than in the streets.
4. Grilled Andorran Veal entrecot
Chef Kinchella: Our farmers have herds of the “Bruna Andorrana” race of cow. They spend most of the year in the mountains, enjoying a no-stress life, making tender and flavorsome [meat to eat]. Grilled veal entrecote is an all-time favorite.
Persefone: It’s a must — really nothing to add! I like it rare and with some “patates al caliu” (potatoes in the oven) as sides!
3. Civet d’Isard.
Chef Kinchella: It’s a wild chamois stew. Delicious. Hunting is a deep tradition in the Andorran culture. So cooking what you hunt is a must.
Persefone: I think all kind of stews are great and since we live a mountain environment, it gets really cold in winter. I really appreciate a hot meal, soups, stews, etc.
2. Baby dandelion salad
Chef Kinchella: Also known as “xicoies,” these baby dandelions are picked as soon as the snow melts, and are delicious in salads.
Persefone: Obviously, I don’t cook this at home; I just buy regular salad, but it’s really nice that some restaurants like yours use a lot of local ingredients and picked directly from the mountain, like the mushrooms or these baby dandelions!
1. Wild berry tart
Chef Kinchella: Let’s finish with a dessert. Our forests are also packed with wild red fruits, such as raspberries, blueberries, strawberries and red currants. Sticking’em all into a tart or a pie makes and excellent pudding.
Persefone: You can end the meal with a shot of Ratassia, a liquor made in Andorra with herbs harvested at an altitude of 1,000 meters. Don’t forget to visit La Cort del Popaire, one of the best restaurants in Andorra!