Pica-Pica at Es Mos in Bégur

All the cool kidz in Barcelona summer in Costa Brava and by far the most in vogue town on the Catalan coast is beautiful, fabulous Bégur. Removed from the seafront just enough to filter out ease-seeking, beach-going families with kids, Bégur is nevertheless just a 10-minute drive from some of the most spectacular cove beaches of the Iberian peninsula, the “calas” carved out in stone, each with its own unique personality.

Rather early on in our week-long stay in Bégur this summer we got into a rhythm that we’d maintain throughout our trip: Bread rubbed with tomatoes, drizzled with olive oil and topped with slices of jamon serrano and manchego cheese for breakfast in the breezy pool-side dining space of the Alta House hotel, followed by a drive out to one of the calas – Sa Tuna, Aiguablava, Illa Roja, Platja Fonda -, snorkeling and reading our books, sandwiches swiped from our hotel breakfast for lunch, a drive back to the hotel to shower and moisturize our golden brown limbs, and then out to dinner and drinks somewhere in town. We visited beloved local establishments like Pizzeta, the bar La Lluna and El Tapas de Bégur, slowly sipping Estrella Dams and gin tonics as we people-watched the sun-kissed, bohemian élite of Catalunya.

A friend from Barcelona had recommended Es Mos to check out while in town, so we headed over on the third or fourth night of our trip. “Wine, ham & cheese” is the motto of this simple wine bar “gastronomique,” which specializes in carefully curated wines from across Spain paired with a menu of airy light pica-pica to share, perfect after a day in the sun. We were seated on their terrace at one of the tables lining a breezy, shaded alley and ordered a couple of things to snack on with our drinks. 

Pa amb tomàquet is always a must when we’re in Catalunya. The combination of super-crunchy, toasted pan cristal with the guts of a super-pulpy Branca tomato rubbed on, the clean vegetal zing of very fragrant, world-class olive oil drizzled on and some sea salt to bring all the flavors to the forefront. There’s really just no better way to start a meal after a day spent roasting in the Costa Brava sun.

We also ordered some smoked sardines, which came drizzled with the same fabulous olive oil and sprinkled with a few red peppercorns in which they were probably marinated. Tender and meaty with the perfect lick of smoke, great to layer over the tomato bread or enjoy on its own.

We also ordered a couple of bikinis, the Catalan name for grilled cheese type finger-sandwiches. The first set came with cured ham, cheese and truffle – a classic with a great ratio of ingredients, just a touch of truffle accenting the salty ham and nutty cheese. The other came with cured duck ham and a creamy, unctuous Catalan bloomy rind cheese called Tou de Tillers, whose mushroomy, earthy flavor went perfectly with the gamey duck ham. Salty, crunchy, creamy, earthy and light as a feather. 

We also ordered their foie gras mi-cuit and caramelized onion bikini, which came with pan de cristal. Some silky-smooth lumps of creamy and delicious duck foie gras were mixed up with a kind of sweet and sour sauce containing caramelized onions, along with some kind of jam, which complemented the buttery fattened liver perfectly. 

For super simple, light & bright fare made with quality ingredients and served with good wine, look no further than Es Mos. I certainly hope they’re still around when we return to Bégur this summer (and probably the summer after that).

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