Among the products on the list, there are four that have been there since the first edition of the award: the royal gala apple, from the Girona Apple Protected Geographical Indication; Gra Petit and Setsetmanera varieties of beans, from the Protected Designation of Origin for Santa Pau beans; Organic Teules biscuits from Trias Galetes-Biscuits SA in Santa Coloma de Farners and Ametllats (almond biscuit) from Galetes Camprodon SA in Campodron.
The other 70 products from 46 different companies were chosen in July during blind tastings, one for each category of selected products: mineral water, anchovies, rice, local beverages, coffee, preserves, cold meats, foie gras, biscuits, dairy products, olive oil and wine. Each tasting was carried out by a five-member jury, which met in five places: the Gastronomic Classroom of the Empordà; the Girona School of Hospitality and Tourism; the IRTA Monells; the FoodLab in Riudellots de la Selva, and the Domus Sent Soví gastronomic centre in Hostalric.
The enormous prestige of Girona’s cuisine is due to many factors, but in particular its history, defined by cross-cultural exchanges, and agricultural wealth, livestock, fisheries and forestry. These elements nurture each other and evolve together. The Girona Excel·lent food quality seal is aimed at putting superb food on the table by combining nature’s bounty from agriculture, horticulture, viticulture, olive growing, livestock rearing and fishing with the region’s top quality artisan and industrial food production.
In 2014, under the umbrella of Girona Provincial Council and the Chamber of Commerce, Girona Excel·lent was launched to raise the profile of our gastronomic assets. Created thanks to the land and the hard work of the people of Girona, Girona Excel·lent products are recognised achievements, as remarkable as the churches, museums and landscapes that make our region so attractive.
All Girona Excel·lent products are made entirely in the province of Girona, and have been selected by experts in each field through blind tasting sessions involving chefs, sommeliers, gourmets and other respected experts from all over Catalonia.
Our land is the source of a varied, diverse and almost self-sufficient cuisine with numerous local ingredients. Three of our natural parks are beside the sea: Cap de Creus, Aiguamolls de l’Empordà, and Montgrí, Illes Medes i Baix Ter, with olive groves, vineyards and rice fields that bear witness to human intervention. There are two more located in the mountains: Capçaleres del Ter i del Freser and the Volcanic Area of La Garrotxa, with pasture land and bean cultivation. And lastly a natural park in the mountains but very near the sea: Albera Natural Park, with its beech woods, Albera cows and cork oaks.
Human presence is evident in the landscape, with dolmens, menhirs, farmhouses, Romanesque churches and hermitages, monasteries, lush pastures, miles of dry stone walls, olive groves and vineyards. There was a time when the stone walls supported earth terraces bearing thousands of acres of vines, producing wine to accompany celebrations and festivals.
Olives, vines and apples have been cultivated here for centuries and the spectacular landscape has been shaped by ancient olive groves that blend harmoniously with apple trees, vineyards, fields of rice and other cereals, and vegetable gardens. This is the essence of Girona’s countryside and the starting point for its cuisine, with onions being patiently fried for hours until they are golden and caramelized: the sofregit. Orchards are the sofregit, the basic ingredient, of the landscape.