We can't open

Dear friends and clients, 

Many of you meet me on the street and ask me, "can you open already?"

And I respond with a resounding no. People are surprised and I quickly keep explaining why I can't open, which I want to share here as well.

First of all, the regulations establish a 30% capacity inside and that means I only can attend eight people. Secondly, due to the ventilation and the service outside: we are in autumn and in Falset we cannot have terraces until summer.

In addition, we have the perimeter closure on weekends, which means moving only around the region when we are, for the most part, recipients of customers from abroad, Catalan tourism and many foreigners.

And this without forgetting that at any time they can close us again 15 more days with full refrigerators and debts with suppliers. I have staff in charge and I need a minimum of work insured for them.

Despite the circumstances, El Cairat continues and will continue to be by your side. That’s why if any of you want me to make you take food to take away, I’ll be delighted! It will help me get rid of my anxiety and motivate me to feel useful again.

I love you, see you!!!

P. d. Lots of care and responsibility. Everyone can open and work with dignity without asking for any help. Please let us open and we will do our part.

Mercè Pellejà


THE PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE THAT WE HAVE TO LIVE

After starting to work in July with respect but without fear for the times we are living in, I have to admit that I am surprised.

The prediction have been fulfilled. Although, for the moment, we have lost the foreign client, we have recovered the local client. And what joy! I was very excited to meet people who had been to El Cairat many years ago, who had come as children with their parents and now return with their children, who remembered that they had once been in Falset in a small restaurant, in an alley, and now they were looking for it. All these anecdotes have made me remember the years that I have been working and, above all, living in my little restaurant.

It is true that we are in a time of change and of reinventing ourselves, but I have realized that many people live from our beautiful and tender memories, where what prevails is the positive experience.

What will the future offer us? We don't know, but we have to keep working on the present to build the future without forgetting the past. Remembering the food of our grandmothers, when we were little and we played in the street, when they did not ask you what you wanted to eat, when the products were local... Only with this past can we build a future with a more solid base through effort and the responsibility we have. We must be able to live with what we have and enjoy it to the fullest.

How good it is to eat a tomato just harvested or an apple from the same tree. How exciting it is to contemplate a sunset in Priorat, especially in autumn... How beautiful it is to smell a palo santo, see the grapes, make quince paste, and think and let your imagination into how we will cook it.

I only  can say: above all, let's enjoy!

Thank you very much to all the clients who have come to El Cairat and to those who will come!

Mercè Pellejà


The mildew plague in Priorat

An unusual rainfall of the area combined with high temperatures has favored the presence of the mildew plague to the vineyards of the Priorat region.

The most affected vineyards have been the most vigorous, those that had accumulated many nutrients or had recently been fertilized. And the fact is that the fertilizers in the vineyards must be done with great care. It should be remembered that the most suitable soils for vineyards are not those that concentrate a large amount of nutrients, but poor soils, those old vineyards, those that are close to poor soils, where various herbs abound and provide many active ingredients.

We are in favor of not fertilizing: we prefer to provide only the organic matter generated by the herbs, trying to promote the maximum possible varieties of herbs. Following this philosophy, we also believe it is necessary to flee from the systemic, as they create dependence and diminish defenses; they are the antibiotics of the plants.

What deeply concerns us  is the fact that spores can infect vineyards for a long time if the weather is favorable for them. Therefore, it will be important to take great care of the vineyards next year, using natural products and always keeping an eye on crops and vegetation.

Despite the impact of the mildew plague, there are some varieties that seem to have withstood the attacks of this fungus a little longer: Syrah, Viognier, small-grain Muscat, Cabernet... Although it also influences the lands where are planted and the vigor.

The circumstances of this year will allow, among other things, to confirm the great diversity and infinity of micro farms that exist in Priorat and the different characteristics: orientation, height, structure of the earth, form of cultivation, flora and fauna... Now, more than ever, it is essential to maximize observation; regain the ability to observe and expand it, go further, to come out stronger.

 

Capafons-Ossó winery

 


We discover the Cartuja de Escaladei and the Montsant

Discovering the Priorat is to find out small treasures in our path. The Cartuja de Escaladei and the Natural Park of the mountains of Montsant are two clear examples of the splendor that this region of Tarragona gives us.

Located next to the small town of Escaladei, in the north of Falset and just 20 km from the El Cairat restaurant, the Cartuja de Santa María de Escaladei is an architectural jewel dating from the 12th century.

This monastery was built by the monks of the Carthusian Order in the heart of a valley protected by the Montsant mountain range, a unique place that fills you with silence, peace and serenity upon arrival.

Nowadays, thanks to the restoration work of various specialists, we can visit the ruins of three cloisters, the church, the refectory, and a reconstructed cell of what was the first Carthusian on the Iberian peninsula. Without a shadow of a doubt, a spiritual journey to the past that brings you to be close to the origins of Priorat.

And if we continue our route to the north, the Montsant mountain is revealed to us, majestic, around the Priorat vineyards. This protected natural space, declared a Natural Park since 2002, is already a symbol of the region.  Surrounded by cliffs, caves and ravines, the Montsant has a compact shape so peculiar that it is identifiable from far away.

Taking a walk through the Montsant is breathing fresh air and filling yourself with life. In addition to visiting the famous hermitages and exploring the fauna and flora of the park, you can also take advantage of your visit to Montsant for hiking, climbing, via ferrata or whatever the outdoor activity that you are most passionate about. This natural setting is the idyllic prelude before a good meal at the El Cairat restaurant.

So, in Priorat you will not only find excellent gastronomy and some unique D.O. wines in the world - in fact, you may have already kn own this - but also a captivating, historical and landscape heritage.

 


la mercè i el temps

We are going to open in July

Despite the fact that these weeks of lockdown have been difficult for everyone, I have to admit that I have been able to extract one positive thing: I have had TIME. Time to look, smell, listen and taste. Also for reading, doing handicrafts, cooking, walking, participating in video conferences, relaxing... And now I have a new challenge: to start again, restart, and, of course, reinvent ourselves.

It has been three months and, in my opinion, the world and I have changed a little bit. You made me reflect on the effort that this mandatory stop has taken. Mothers and fathers, grandparents, doctors, teachers, caregivers and everyone that have been  working: THANK YOU VERY MUCH!

Now it is your turn to enjoy life a little, and it is up to me to give what I have always said: "Happiness at the table." We need to help each other and I will try my best: cooking and serving the customers.

The whole team of the El Cairat restaurant is waiting for you with news.

See you soon,

 

Mercè Pellejà  

 


moment

The moment we have to live

We are in quite delicate moment, what am I going to tell you... But taking a little distance and seeing everything that is happening, I want to expose you a positive point, showing the glass half full.

There are many people who have known me for many years and know what I have lived, especially with Juli and, finally, with her illness.

At that time I was young and we had to close El Cairat from one day to the next, because of the routine visit to the hospital they no longer let him go. Then came the operation, chemo, side effects, deterioration of the person, etc.

Well, I don't want to make it dramatic, because in the end I always got a positive thing. My character was insecure, now it is not so much; I wanted to have everything under control, now I know how to improvise.

I have always said that time is the same: if you have a bad time, let it pass; and if you are in a good moment, enjoy it, live in the present! Now you have a plant or a flower nearby and you see it growing: ENJOY. You are reading a book, you have time: ENJOY. You are playing with your relatives: ENJOY. You are cooking for your loved ones: ENJOY.

Of course it is hard, but I must also admit that, with all those with whom I have spoken these days, I have seen you calm, relaxed, with a smile on your face, without stress.

I mean, ENJOY the little moments, we will get out of this!

Mercè Pellejà

P. D. THANK YOU VERY MUCH TO ALL THE PEOPLE THAT ARE WORKING: restrooms, business people, agencies, banks, firefighters, police, people who work with older people, volunteers ... Everyone, thank you!


Gastronomic days of the truffle and the saffron

From February 17 to March 8, in the Priorat, we celebrate the gastronomic days of the truffle and the saffron, two products with a very unique taste.
While I think of the contrasts of flavors and how different they are from each other, I also value everything they have in common, such as the aroma, which never leaves you indifferent because of their power, freshness, strength, terroir and the simplicity that nature gives us. How appreciated and valued are these two products!
And in the kitchen, they have such personality... Just put a little of truffle ans saffron on a soup or pasta dish or a meat or fish preparation, and they will highlight all the food. The same for dessert!
Undoubtedly, they are two products with a long history. In catalan cuisine, and especially in the rural world, everyone had flowers of saffron in a corner of the vegetable garden, a spice that is still used in many recipes: if in a bread soup, in a fish "suquet", in meatballs of meat or in a catalan cream you add saffron stigmas, the dish becomes delicious.
However, it must be recognized that removing the stigmas and cleaning the flowers is not easy. It is a task that requires a lot of patience, but it is worth it.
As fas as the truffle are concerned, although today it can already be grown, in the past, it was wild. This fungus is difficult to find and you need a specialist such as the dog, who, with a much more developed sensitivity to smell than humans, can find the truffle more easily.
It is true that in the kitchen you don't have to look for great or very expensive products to succeed: if in fried eggs or potatoes grate a little truffle, you have a very delicious dish!
In addition, as it can be preserved with oil or Brandy, this raw material can then be used in a salad or a bechamel. It can even be combined! Truffle and chocolate go well together, for example.
 menu ?

What do you think? Will you come and try the menu I will make?

Mercè Pellejà

Images of saffron by Baronia