A Barcelona food blog
Some days in life are just pure magic and this weekend’s visit to La Vinya Nova was one of them.
As the bus drops you at the side of the motorway at Collbató it’s difficult to imagine the stunning setting that awaits you. A short wander through the sleepy town brings you to a path which weaves and meanders round the foothills of Montserrat and brings you to the restaurant, a masia or ‘countryhouse’ which lies at its end. I pitied those driving up to La Vinya Nova as in their vehicle they missed out on fully appreciating the powder pink and virginal white blossom, the rows of olive trees, the majestic mountain at almost touching distance and the uninterrupted royal blue sky.
Don’t be tempted along the way to sample one of those olives dangling from the branches of the low lying trees, I’ve already done it for you and can say categorically that they are best left until ripened. Imagine biting into a super sour, acidic blackberry and you’re somewhere near. The sharp aftertaste lingered with me for the remainder of the walk. Your reward for the 45 minute walk is the masia, sat in this wonderful setting. I tried to ignore the car park on our left as we approached closer as it tarnished the beauty of the place but regardless it is a beautiful location. Tables were laid outside, under trees that still bear the leafless signs of winter although the bright, warming sunshine and luminous light made it feel like anything but a mid-February day. Over-ripe tomatoes, garlic and olive oil were laid amongst the place settings ready to make the pa amb tomaquet that accompanies every Catalan meal.
Although we were to eat outside I stumbled across this charming dining room as I ambled around. What a beautiful place to eat on a cold day, log fire blazing and the light streaming in through the window.This being the middle of the calçot season we were here for the calçotada menu to celebrate three birthdays. It was one of lifes simple pleasures to sit in the open air with almost 40 other people, the wine, conversation and laughter flowed, as did a seemingly non-stop succession of plates of food.
Toasted bread came first and was quickly brushed with the cut garlic, a squeeze of tomato, a good glug of olive oil and some salt as we helped ourselves to the plates of crisp, fresh salad, and embutits of ham, fuet and bull blanc.
Then came the main star, the calçots, blackened and ready to be ripped from their charred casings, dipped in the romesco sauce and lowered into our mouths without getting those black bits all down our fronts, none of the usual calçotada bibs here.Jeans were already starting to tighten by this point but there was no stopping at that. Huge cassola of veal chops, botifarra and morcilla sausages sat on top of white beans and chickpeas cooked with parlsey appeared on the table.
The beans, drenched in all that meat fat and with the herb were incredibly moreish and what a great combination sausages and beans are. The cutlets, although a little dry in parts also disappeared rapidly.
And still the end wasn’t in sight. For a long, protracted finish we were brought baskets of fresh fruit, for me a clementine which was perfect after the richness of all the meats and then finally something new to me, a plate of carquinyolis, small, hard biscuits with almonds and spiced with cinnamon and lemon which were just amazing when dipped in the moscatell desert wine. A tallat coffee rounded everything off to perfection. It also came with a perfect price, 25€ per head.
As a final note, I strongly advise making the trip to Collbató to visit La Vinya Nova. I even more strongly suggest formulating a good plan of how to get back and where to pick up the bus to return to Barcelona. We didn’t. And after getting separated and being slightly fuzzy from the wine we eventually muddled through and made a slight detour through Martorell to get us home. In reality, this did little to dampen the magic of a marvellous day.
La Vinya Nova, at the end of Av de la Vinya Nova, Collbató
How to get there:
Take the Barcelona metro to Maria Cristina. Make sure you are then stood on Diagonal in the direction of traffic going out of the city. Take the bus going to Igualada from here. You need to get off the bus at Collbató. From there follow the map given on the restaurant website.