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Food, Dining, & Drinks in Andorra

Culinary Influences

Andorran cuisine is primarily the result of locally available foods, Catalan food, and to a lesser extent French and Spanish (as a whole) food. The most populous native animal in the region that acts as a food source is sheep so sheep and lamb are quite popular. Pork products are also popular due to boars in the region.

Since the people are primarily ethnic Catalans, the Catalonian cuisine has strongly altered the food of Andorra. This influence has brought some ingredients to the country that are now common, but were not native to the region, like fish and many fruits and vegetables from the coast. Today these ingredients make an essential part of the diet, but Catalan cuisine is quite varied and this has been taken to Andorra as their traditional diet remains diverse.

Finally, both French, Spanish, and to a lesser extend Italian food has impacted and influenced the cuisine. Many French dishes have become commonplace, including the now very popular Fois Gras. Italian pasta is a popular dish, and various Spanish cooking styles and methods have been introduced as well.

Staple Foods

Bread: this is almost always served with meals, but there are various flavors and types

Regional Variations & Specialties

Escudella: chicken, sausage, and meatball stew
Fois Gras: a French dish of duck or goose liver common in Andorra
Xai: roasted lamb

Dining Etiquette

Dining in Andorra is fairly relaxed and making etiquette mistakes will generally only get you laughed at, not condemned. However, it is important to understand their dining rules and this begins with dress and arrival. How you look will make a lasting impression and although once seated no one will be able to see your shoes, they will when you arrive and leave so get some nice shoes. It is not always necessary to arrive on time either; generally the people will arrive about 15 minutes late for dinner, even if dinner starts at 9:00 pm or later.

Shake everyone's hand upon arrival and wait to be seated until your host indicates you can. Dinner may begin with a toast by the host and later during the meal the guest of honor may be asked to return the favor. Most other dining rules though are similar to the rest of Europe. For example, you should keep your hands within sight by resting your wrists on the table, you should eat in the continental style (knife in the right hand, fork in the left), and when you're finished eating, indicate that by placing your fork and knife together on your plate.

In some settings, there might be entertainment and dancing after the meal; this will be a great opportunity to show off your shoes and burn off some of those calories. This is also a great opportunity to fit in as you are expected to participate.

Even though a service tip is generally included on a restaurant bill, it is expected that you tip an additional 10% on top of this for a sit down meal at a nice restaurant in Andorra.

Drinks

In Andorra you will find many Catalonian specialties, including granizado. This beverage can be made from various liquids, including orange juice, lemon juice, coffee, or even liqueurs, then this liquid is mixed with crushed ice and blended until the drink resembles a thick puree. Other non-alcoholic drinks, such as juices, coffee, tea, and soft drinks are readily available in Andorra.

On the alcoholic side, wine is perhaps the most commonly drank alcohol, although beer and hard liquors are also available and popular. The wines in Andorra include locally grown wines as well as Spanish and French wines. Pinot Noir is the only varietal grown in substantial numbers in Andorra.

Generally speaking, the tap water is safe to drink in Andorra, but check with locals for any particular regional differences. Also, many people may have troubles adjusting to the local tap water, as it will most certainly be different from what your system is used to.

This page was last updated: March, 2012