Taking place on or around 23rd April each year, a date linked to literature and popular tradition, the festival of Sant Jordi celebrates the Patron saint of Catalonia, French equivalent of St George, a Christian Roman soldier, who was martyred around 303AD for refusing to renounce Christianity

Salvador Dali (1904 – 1989) once claimed that Perpignan Railway Station was the “Centre of the Universe, because its waiting room is where he got all his best ideas.”

St Joan de les Abadesses is probably not a town one would choose for a holiday break. Quite unprepossessing, and other than the monastery at its centre, there isn’t much to detain the traveller here. But the monastery was what we’d come to see, so we parked up and walked over the gorgeous 15th century Pont Vall, the old bridge over the Ter into the town. It was a promising start — the sun was shining and the river was lined with allotments and willow trees.

Coming from the French word terre for “soil,” the word terroir originally described the special characteristics of a region, or piece of land, which gave different varieties of wine, coffee and tea their individuality. (Soil, climate, position, regional traditions….)

It’s 1946. War is over. On the sandy tracks of the Racou beach village, amidst fishermen’s huts and makeshift shelters thrown together in darker days by Spanish refugees, people, laugh, drink, share a pastis, absinthe or ‘cop de vi blanc’ before sitting down to a communal cargolade or fresh fish BBQ.

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