Andorra, the small and exotic area hidden between France and Spain, is a small charming European country that has a taste of its own and a flavour that is worth trying. As in most cases regarding small countries, it's hard to say whether its traditions as strictly national. The influence of bigger neighbours is conspicuous; nevertheless, it's always amazing how these small and proud nations safeguarded their independence of territory, intellectual thought and local custom.
Andorra’s cuisine is a combination of various influences with a specific local flavour. It is most often defined as ‘typically Catalan’. This is quite true, considering the history of the country and its geographic location. Exquisite French cuisine is present in the local dishes, and the spices which characterise Catalan recipes are used in the traditional dishes served in Andorra. Despite the fact that regional differences are hard to find in such a small territory as Andorra, slightly different variants of the same recipes can be found in the north and the south of the country. The North is famous for its fine array of cheese, as well as sausage, while more Spanish-tasting flavours are typical of the South.
Traditional cuisine is based on fresh vegetables, meat, cheese and sausage. It also incorporates potatoes, olive oil and many spices. One of the most typical recipes in Andorra is the Trinxat. This is a unique dish prepared from potatoes and cabbage, with some features of the famous Provencal cuisine. Another popular dish is truite de carreroles. It's a type of omelette with mushrooms. Traditional recipes of Andorra include many dishes based on pork and ham. These are either prepared with eggs or with various vegetables. Vegetables are the main ingredient in local cuisine. They are served in many salads, which most often include cheese. After a meal, or with a cup of coffee in the afternoon, a coque is recommended. Coques are traditional flat cakes, flavoured in various ways.
When dining out in Andorra you can experience the atmosphere of a small resort town. ? especially those in France and Spain. You will find many small local restaurants and bistros, most of which, although tiny, serve excellent food and provide a charming atmosphere. Andorra is a duty free zone and the prices of alcohol are generally low in the shops. But one must be warned that bars and restaurants charge high prices for alcoholic drinks. The nightlife is pretty vibrant in the country, and most bars and clubs are open until early in the morning. Many restaurants close late as well.
Throughout the entire country of Andorra waiter service is customary. In some bars counter service is preferred. Usually the service charge is included in the bill. Regardless, waiters generally expect a tip amounting to about 10 percent of the price.