Gamba de Palamós
Historically the Costa Brava has been a land of fishermen. Long before the tourist boom, the vast majority of coastal towns owed their living to the sea and to fishing. Its geographical configuration and the quality of the ecosystem have made the waters of this coast a fertile and qualitative region with a great many species.
Of all the fish products on the Costa Brava, there is one which has especially crossed all the established borders and whose quality has been recognised by the most demanding palates in the world – the Palamós Prawn.
Palamós is a fishing town right in the centre of the Costa Brava, which has been able to maintain its seafaring legacy to perfection, combined with its tourist and commercial attraction. Fishing activity in this town goes back beyond the 13th century.
Palamós prawns are the most popular of all those caught in Catalonia. They have always been valued highly, but there came a turning point in the 1950s, when fishermen coming from the south of Catalonia and the Valencia region introduced a new fishing art to Palamós: trawling. This new technique led to the discovery of considerable new prawn fisheries and since then this crustacean has established itself as an important product for the Palamós Fishermen’s Guild, which over the years has gained renown and recognition.
In addition, since 2009 prawn has had the “Gamba de Palamós” seal of guarantee, which enables requirements and quality norms to be defined in the entire production chain, thus increasing consumer confidence and protecting one of the most cherished natural resources of the Costa Brava.
The seal of guarantee ensures that the prawns always reach the customer with the maximum level of quality: an exquisite taste, an unmistakable aroma, an attractive appearance and an unbeatable level of freshness.
Every day, the produce caught is subjected to quality control before going to auction, where the fishery is identified, as are the prawns’ sensory properties, such as their appearance, texture, the number of pieces per kilo and the temperature at which the produce comes into the harbour.
The virtues which set these prawns apart from the rest are many. Their intense reddish colour, their firm and fine texture, their freshness and exquisite taste make sampling Palamós prawns a unique and intimate pleasure.
Watching the trawlers come into the harbour, or going to the local fishermen’s auction at the Fish Market, is a spectacle and an acknowledgement of the daily efforts of these fishermen and their skill in maintaining the maximum quality of the prawns.
The best places to sample them are the local restaurants themselves, which are certified in order to preserve the jewel in the crown of the bay.
1. Gambes de Palamós. Sherry Ott, Arxiu Imatges PTCB
2. Llotja de Palamós. Maria Geli i Pilar Planagumà, Arxiu Imatges PTCB
3. Dish with Gamba by Paco Pérez. Miramar
4. Llotja de Palamós. Maria Geli i Pilar Planagumà, Arxiu Imatges PTCB.