Imagine the intensely local philosophy of Copenhagen’s Noma expressed in the rich volcanic soils of inland Catalonia and you’ll have a sense of what Fina Puigdeval has been doing at Les Cols, the restaurant she founded in 1990. Housed in a remodeled 15th-century farmhouse where the chef was born, Les Cols offers dramatically simple food that almost never incorporates ingredients from outside its region.
Anima Les Cols showcases 85 different dishes, with recipes for perhaps half of them, that rely heavily on pork, lamb, and game, as well as a wide variety of vegetables and local cheeses. Throughout the book are essays from a range of writers who reflect on seasonality, Catalan culinary history and identity, and the role of the distinctive local landscape in shaping the character of the people and what they eat.
Among the dishes here: pork ribs with bacon, dumplings, spring onions, and mushrooms; salt cod with scrambled eggs, smoke-infused olive oil, grapes, and raisins; gelled potato puree with eucalyptus oil, fried garlic, and paprika.
Distinctive in many fascinating ways, Anima Les Cols is published in a 6″ x 9″ format (the size of many traditional reading books) and has full-color photography throughout its nearly 400 pages. This is a jacketed paperback. In English and Spanish.
Adding to its uniqueness, it bears the following declaration: “This book went to print on October 2nd 2017, feast of the Holy Guardian Angels, who are called first and foremost to contemplate in the glory the face of the Lord. The Holy Guardian Angels have received an important role for the sake of men, with their invisible and supportive presence they will assist and advise them.”