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Trinxat de la Cerdanya

Gastronomic celebration in Puigcerdà

It is striking how the Trinxat recipe, humble in every sense – from its ingredients to its preparation and origin – has made a place for itself on most of the menus of restaurants in the Pyrenees and even in other places in Catalonia. Even more. Today, this dish made from, mainly, winter cabbage, potatoes and bacon, is also in the catalogs of some precooked companies, which make a statement as if it were one of the most special and exquisite delicacies in the Catalan recipe book.  Good. I also sign up for the exquisiteness of a good Trinxat, yes.

And the exceptional nature of Trinxat does not end here; For twenty-six years Puigcerdà has organized a party, with more than a thousand participants gathered at the sports center in the capital of the region, where one can almost guess nudges from authorities, politicians and other elected officials, among others, for being present at the event. Sufficient to say that tickets go on sale and in a few days the organizers are forced to put up the sold-out ticket label. Let's say, then, that the idolatry and cult of the Trinxat is evident!

Trinxat de la Cerdanya, what is it?

I probably would never have been as close to burning my eyebrows as I am now, since it is not possible to make categorical statements about this delicious dish. Why? Because in every house in Cerdanya and the Pyrenees, Trinxat is prepared "in its own way". Hey! And in every house, in every home or family, theirs is the authentic recipe. The one they have inherited from their mother, father, grandfather or great-grandmother. To avoid the risk of being scalded, let's say that Trinxat is a dish that is made from winter cabbage and potatoes. There is no discussion here, as long as you do not justify that any cabbage is suitable for making Trinxat, since the Pyrenean delicacy must be prepared with cabbage touched by cold weather. And it has its logic, which will be understood when we explain the origin of the dish. Having cabbage and potatoes as the main elements, in Cerdanya Trinxat is accompanied by bacon (la rosta), although in other places in the Pyrenees it is served with dewlap, for example. There is also no unanimity on whether or not to add garlic to the original recipe, which already shows how strict we have to be when writing these four lines.

"Trinxat, if it is from Cerdanya, has winter cabbage, potatoes and bacon." A neighbor from Llívia, Roser, explains it to us, she has prepared it all her life and, not long ago, had a restaurant in the municipality. Roser says that the ingredients of Trinxat de la Cerdanya are those that we have mentioned before, plus the addition of sliced garlic. But what about those who put black sausage? "Black sausage has never been part of Trinxat. They do use it now and I'm sure it's good. But it's not Trinxat de la Cerdanya," she says.

Which is its origin?

I have consulted and read the various theories. I think we will agree that speaking of a winter dish, with the scarcity of garden products that the season offers us, that cabbage is one of the products used to make Trinxat seems logical. The potatoes, the second ingredient, should have been harvested a few weeks before and the pork, considering that we are in the slaughter season, fits perfectly in time and the pieces fit together, like in a puzzle. I have read that, before, in the houses of our Pyrenees, – and perhaps, still today, of course – cabbage and potatoes were the vegetables for dinner and that the leftover food was crushed and passed through the frying pan making the perfect breakfast next day. It is a simple and practical dish that fits with many of the recipes in our kitchen.

How is it prepared?

I cook it and I won't sin from false modesty; The dishes look as if they came out of the sink clean. But writing down the recipe is a public exposure that would ruin my peace. Jokes aside, there is a recipe that I recommend from Cerdanya Tourism:

Trinxat Recipe

You can read about the preparation of Trinxat:

“Boil the potatoes and cabbage in water with a little salt until they soften. In a frying pan with oil, brown the bacon pieces and set aside. In the same oil, fry the well-drained potatoes and cabbage, stirring and crushing them. When serving the dish, put the bacon on top." Easy, right?

The other Trinxats

Now that we know what Trinxat is and what Trinxat de la Cerdanya is, and how it is prepared, we can make whatever combinations we want. The potato and cabbage, sautéed in the pan, with some garlic – the base of Trinxat – gives us a thousand possibilities. Pau Cascón, from the Trumfes restaurant in Llívia, is very clear about this and for years he has been preparing Trinxat, the traditional one, with local products, while leaving room for creativity and originality. If we read the restaurant's menu we find: "Trinxat de la Cerdanya with grilled octopus and pork rind." "It is not the first Trinxat we have prepared with fish. We have made it with scallops and suquet," he explains. A Trinxat, traditionally made, that allows other ingredients without breaking its harmony.

But oh my. Browsing the Internet, we discover Trinxat recipes of all kinds. The search for content linked to the word Trinxat on the internet has led me to find a web space where up to 27 Trinxat de la Cerdanya eating establishments appear and none of them, not one, are from the region, but are found in other places of Catalonia.

I have also seen someone who advertises Trinxat de la Cerdanya with black sausage. That is, where black sausage is added in addition to the bacon. Good. This could perhaps be considered Trinxat, in the sense that there is cabbage and potato, but the black sausage is an ingredient that is not part of the authentic Trinxat de la Cerdanya. It should be said that in the Berguedà region they do make a dish with potatoes and black sausage - there is no cabbage - which is called "masked potatoes", and it is one of the dishes considered traditional in Catalan cuisine, and especially in the neighbor region.

The Trinxat Festivity

The twenty-seventh edition of the Trinxat Festivity is scheduled for the last Saturday of February: February 24.

The Trinxat Festivity is one of the most renowned gastronomic festivals in the region, a must-see for lovers of Ceretan cuisine, while it has become a massive gathering in the heart of winter. A gala dinner is organized that serves as a showcase of local gastronomy and Km0 products, such as cabbage or potatoes", as can be read on Puigcerdà’s tourism website. Trinxat is prepared by cooks and assistants of 25 restaurants in the region.

The evening is complemented with different raffles and live music. Tickets can be purchased at the Puigcerdà Tourist Office, which normally go on sale at the beginning of February.

The Trinxat Festivity is organized by the Puigcerdà City Council and the Municipal Tourism Board, with the collaboration of the Girona Provincial Council, the Cuina Pirinenca de Cerdanya association, several restaurants, pastry chefs, suppliers and establishments in Puigcerdà and the region, the Adis foundation , the INS Pere Borrell and the Puigcerdà comercial association.

The municipal website highlights the Trinxat festival in numbers: 150 kilos of winter cabbage, 150 kilos of potatoes, 1000 diner guests, 25 collaborating restaurants, 20 cooks and kitchen assistants, 6 pastry shops and 50 waiters.

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