Bacchus Top 5 - Empordà
OUR TOP 5 FROM THE EMPORDA
After the Bacchus team’s recent trip to the Emporda for some Spring cycling and to meet up with the local wine makers, olive oil producers, restaurateurs and other characters we work with that make our trips so special, we have put pen to paper and come up with our favourite 5 takeaways from the region. We still have availability for group trips this year, so why not join us for the ride.
Catalonia and the Emporda have been the ‘secret’ playground for dedicated amateur and pro cyclists in recent years for a reason - peaceful roads, remote mountain trails, coastal vistas and some gnarly climbs if you want them. With more stunning routes to choose from than you could shake a stick at, it is best to base your decision on where you would like to have a mid-morning pitstop, a lingering lunch, or spend the next night of your trip.
Surf and Turf
Alt (High) Emporda and Baix (Low) Emporda form the northeastern knuckle of Catalonia, a knuckle that boasts beautiful national parks, quaint seaside towns and the most eastern point of the Iberian Peninsula. With quality land and sea produce so readily available, Catalan cuisine has an inimitable identity that has transformed it into a recognised leader on the international gastronomy scene. Michelin starred restaurants or rustic picnics in vineyards, you decide….
Red, red wine
Flanked by the glittering Mediterranean and the imposing Pyrenees, Nuria and Diego of Mas Estela winery would tell you there are few better spots to produce (or drink) a bottle of full-bodied red than the Emporda. The tramuntana winds from the north means the vines never get too warm while the Mediterranean climate works the grapes to ensure Empordan wines are full of character and bursting with flavour. Recently, family vineyards have started bottling innovative wines of surprising quality. Produced on a small scale and purchased locally, you can enjoy them for a slice of the price you would expect to pay in the UK.
Take it Olive it…
Rugged coastline, soaring mountains and the rich surrounding rural plains present a variety of soil types in the Emporda that lend themselves to the production of wine, olive oil and first rate fruit and veg. Olive oil is in a similar position to wine 20 years ago – there is a growing interest and appreciation of its production, varying olive types and different tastes. Marti Clos from Clos de la Torre has olive oil groves dotted around Alt Emporda and is producing delicious virgin olive oils – a top spot for a tapas picnic and tasting session.
A rustic, unassuming 17th century converted guesthouse nestled quietly away in the foothills of the Gavarres National Park, and an undeniably extravagant, yet utterly impressive modern piece of underground architecture, right next to each other? Finca Bell Lloc and Cellar Brugarol are without doubt highlights of Baix Emporda. Catalan architecture regularly impresses and is most apparent in Empordit, the zone of rural plains between Alt & Baix Emporda, where a string of charming medieval villages lie next to one another – perfect stomping ground for a lunchtime feed after a morning on the bike….
Best time of the year to visit: March-July, September & early October