Wine tasting is all well and good (mostly good). But nothing beats sitting down at one of Catalonia’s most famous delicatessens and sampling cured meats, sausages and local cheese – with a dash of Muscat for good measure. Which is why visitors to Fourques or Llupia should make prize-winning Maison Pare, a mandatory stop whenever they are shopping for provisions.
In the centre of Fourques, about five minutes walk from the villa, you’ll find the smaller of the two shops. But Manu, who works most days behind the counter, more than makes up for it with enthusiasm and will help you choose something tasty for lunch or dinner. As well as a good selection of steaks, lamb and pork, you should try some of the prepared dishes, most of which can be heated up in a microwave, without losing their home made flavours. Don’t miss the flavoured dry sausages on the top of the counter, especially if you fancy a touch of Roquefort or apricot with your lunch.
Manu will also prepare cuts of meat and other dishes on request (all the meat in Maison Pare is sourced from France and Spain and comes from strictly controlled herds). The slightly more glamorous younger sister store in Llupia, about 5 minutes drive away, is set up for the gourmet traveller and will prepare a small tasting dish that you can sample at your leisure. It’s a good idea to book ahead though. Once one of Roussillon’s best kept secrets, its now getting popular with locals and visitors alike.
Fourques: 00 33 (0) 468 38 80 53
Llupia: 00 33 (0) 468 67 06 02