It’s a cold, snowy winter in northern Europe and the prospect of spring golf at Camiral Resort seems a distant dream, but the crisp taste of Catalonia is now being enjoyed regularly in our home thanks to the discovery of an outstanding cava from the Costa Brava.

I happened to be wandering around my local supermarket in the UK before Christmas looking for Champagne when I came across Castillo Perelada Brut Reserva. I promptly bought a few bottles (from Waitrose, if you’d like to know) and have been happily putting some fresh Catalan fizz into my evenings ever since.

Why on earth do we pay such extraordinary prices for Champagne when cava of this quality is on our supermarket shelves? Less than 45 minutes’ drive north of Camiral Resort, at the foot of the Pyrenees, this is one of Spain’s favourite cavas, from historic vineyards that date back to the 14th century. Famed for its creamy, nutty style, it is produced from local Macabeo, Xarel-lo and Parellada grapes and aged in cool cellars. And wow, it is good!

Our friends think we’ve gone a bit nutty ourselves, but it is a treat to put some genuine sparkle into conversation about a region that we enthusiastically tell people is the best for gastronomy anywhere in Europe.

If you’re visiting Camiral Resort soon, look out for the regular wine tasting sessions that will take place throughout the year. There’s also Girona Gastronomy Week in March (15th March – 1st April), which is not to be missed.

In the meantime, join me for a glass Catalan cava at home. Cheers!

Gary Firkins