Tàrraco a Taula: genuine flavours of Roman cuisine

Presentació de Tàrraco a Taula / ©Ivan Rodon

Tarragona will be holding, on May 16-26, a new edition of Tàrraco Viva, an international cultural festival focused and specialized on the historical circulation of the Roman era. The key to the festival’s success, which has actually become one of the greatest cultural examples in the world in its setting, is its philosophy: that is, both spreading and making aware by means of the historical past, while a great quality cultural product is created, providing a community involvement space, and which has the support of the groups of historical reconstruction. I will talk about Tàrraco Viva very soon though, in another post. Today, I would like to introduce you Tàrraco a Taula, which can be seen as the festival’s gastronomic extension.

After all, Roman cuisine’s flavours and aromas do also tell us about the culture and history of Ancient Rome. For the duration of the festival, Tàrraco a Taula allows visitors to find out –by way of their taste– more about our past, which is still found in some of our dishes.

Tàrraco a Taula / ©Manel R. Granell

First of all, you should know that both Tàrraco a Taula and Tàrraco Viva are cut from the same cloth: historical accuracy. Ramon Martí, chef at El Llagut restaurant and the manager of the ‘Associació Tàrraco a Taula’, points it out: “Recipes being used are rigorous. We have also updated Roman dishes excerpted from ancient texts.”

Thus, for the 10 days the festival is taking place, one will be able to enjoy flavours from a cuisine which will bring you back in time. For example, you can try moretum virgiliano (a cream made of spiced sheep’s cheese), dulcia domestica (dates stuffed with peppered toasted pine nuts together with a cup of mulsum), ova spongia ex late (egg and milk peppered omelette spread with honey), oysters marinated in mulsum and fresh coriander, mashed beans with bacon, bonito with spiced pumpkin and capers, or a quiza (toast with anchovies and fennel chutney, spiced cheese, baked apples, and raisins), among more than one hundred and ten dishes.

Tàrraco a Taula / ©Manel R. Granell

Overall, it’s more than twenty restaurants (nineteen in Tarragona, and one in Altafulla) offering several dishes from the Roman cuisine. If you want to know about both these restaurants, and their gastronomic offer, just check out the Tàrraco Viva website, or simply go to Tàrraco a Taula’s Facebook profile. When choosing, just be aware that restaurants are divided in three groups: those offering “tapas” and dishes between 3 and 5€; those with a tasting menu at 23€, and those with a Roman Cuisine Menu at 32€.

Further than the gastronomic variety, one can find that, in this year’s programme, Tàrraco a Taula is introducing an important novelty: for the first time, traditional breads, wines and beers also take part of the festival. Les Clandestines local beer makers will join too with two of their standards, Farigola and Atheus. Regarding wines, you’ll be able to choose between Sicus (Xarel·lo and Monastrell wine varieties), Còsmic (Còsmic negre and Còsmic blanc), Laureano (Brutus negre), and the Celler Escoda-Sanahuja(Nas de gegant).

On May 16-26, we’ll be looking forward to shocking you all with the activities of Tàrraco Viva, and delighting you with the amazing Roman gastronomy of Tàrraco a Taula.

Text by @irodon
Translated by Artur Santos
Photographers: Manel R. Granell and @irodon

Tàrraco a Taula / ©Manel R. Granell

Restaurant Cucafera / ©Manel R. Granell

Restaurant Pulvinar / ©Manel R. Granell