While travellers have been flocking to Barcelona for eons, the surrounding countryside still holds many undiscovered pleasures for adventurous gourmands. Just a short drive to the south of the Catalan capital, Barcelona, brings you to an area where the gently rolling hills, covered with ancient olive trees and vineyards, are reminiscent of the famed Italian region of Tuscany. For those interested in discovering more about the gastronomy of this area, the boutique hotel La Boella (www.laboella.com) provides the catalyst to get out into the countryside and see how the first-rate produce is grown.Image

Set around a 12th-century manor house with an impressive tower, the hotel’s 13 oversized rooms and suites are decorated with modern minimalism with rustic features such as the exposed wooden beams and weathered country-style furniture.

Visitors to La Boella are encouraged to take part in the guided excursions into the countryside to see how the various varieties of olives and grapes are cultivated. Once back at the hotel there is time to watch as the olives are put through the historic press to obtain the ‘liquid gold’ which is the basis of Spanish cooking.  Afternoons can be spent in the lounge cozy enjoying a local, wine and cheese appreciation course. Image

Surrounded by orange trees and purple wisteria, the open-air dining room is the place to enjoy leisurely home cooked meals this month. Produce is sourced from around the area and includes homegrown organic asparagus, summer mushrooms, baby octopus, soft goat’s cheese, butifara sausages, olive oil and excellent locally produced wine.