I woke to the smell of a crackling fire as its fumes swirled up the stairs, around the thick stone walls and into my room. Disoriented, I peeked out my window only to be blinded by a wall of green mountainside, reaching for the sky across the valley. “Welcome to Montseny,” I thought that first morning, followed by: “I’m hungry!!!”
That’s not terribly unlike how most of my trips start, either, because I believe food goes with travel like peanut butter and jelly (a combination that my European friends don’t seem to understand, by the way).
Sticking to my foodie philosophy, I popped out of bed and eagerly followed the scent of breakfast like a hunting dog on the tracks of a fine, fine catch. I stumbled down the stairs and into the kitchen of our rural hotel La Morera, where I found an almost-ceiling-tall fireplace glowing with bread-topped embers, and a giant wooden table covered in tantalizing treats. From one end to the other, each delicacy nearly piled on top of the next: a plate of sizzling skewered chorizo, a bulging bowl of plump tomatoes for rubbing on freshly sliced coca bread, bricks of white cheese trimmed with a moldy blue rind, and jars of chilled homemade jam. If this was any indication of the tastiness of my trip, then it was clear: I wouldn’t go hungry…or fit into any of my clothes when I returned home. Ugh.
Day two. Sigh. I had resolved to go a little lighter, but somehow between sunset and sunrise, I forgot about that. So the next morning, when the familiar fragrance of horse replaced the scent of fire logs, I got excited all over again for my big day of food and farm at the hotel-meets-equestrian-center Can Vila. Yeehaw.
On this morning, the sun glistened off the dew of freshly cut grass, the surrounding hills glowed in the morning light, and laid out in front of me for my feasting pleasure was a spread of jamón, sliced cheese and jars of marmalade. The hotel’s owner even whipped up a homemade lemon cake, because really, is it every too early for dessert? I think at some point I then re-resolved to go light for lunch and dinner, but I think you can probably guess how that turned out.
By my third day, I was actually starting to wake with a tinge of trepidation – after all, I was perpetually full. But I’m a committed traveler and taster, so I decided to go for a run around the tree-lined streets of Gualba in hopes of combating my rising fear of food.
And you know what? It worked, because when I returned to our latest pit stop – Rural Montseny – I felt the slightest touch of hunger – just a touch. Not one’s to pass up this opportunity to stuff me like a Thanksgiving turkey, our hosts had prepared us yet another breakfast spread overflowing with plates of jamón, varied sausages of Catalan botifarra, blocks of soft goat cheese, trays of pastries, and more slabs of bread accompanied with even more tomatoes. And yet another homemade cake. So yeah, I ate.
At this point I was starting to think they should just roll me from stop to stop or, even better, put me in a cage and send me back to Can Vila where I could join the horses and other farm creatures. But first, one more breakfast.
You can imagine my surprise, though, when arriving for breakfast at a 9th century monastery — now home to Hotel San Marçal — that they only handed me a menu. I opened and shut the menu, set it down, stared at it for awhile, reopened it, frowned, scrunched my eyebrows, looked around me for signs of plates of jamón or a homemade cake. Hmmmph. What the??? I realized that I finally had the opportunity to pick something healthy and light for change.
Perplexed, I settled on this little number. Oh yeah, and did I mention that these were just our breakfasts? Not surprisingly, I’ve been eating nothing but vegetables ever since.
*Stay tuned for future posts on the ridiculous amounts of food consumption in Montseny. They’re calorie-free! Also, soon I will be posting reviews on every place we stayed, ate at, saw and so on.
**Disclosure: I’m traveled through Montseny as a guest of Turístics Montseny. Rest assured that I’m keeping it real – all opinions are entirely my own.